June 5, 1997 – Thursday – 11:50 p.m.

Let’s see, what has happened these past couple of days?  The box office has opened; business is slow.  Lindy, my assistant, and I have wonderful conversations while we work.  She is simply great.  Last night Jeni and Tracey and I spent the night at a house down in Foscoe (they were house sitting).  I fell down the stairs; it really scared me.  I went swimming with Allen, Vince, and Laura on Wednesday.  Been chatting with MovieMark on the Rebecca St. James chatline, and he isn’t doing too well.  I got Jerry Maquire in the mail and I’ve watched it a couple of times already.  And, well, we leave for Promise Keepers in the morning.

Life has never felt so fast.

Will this ever slow down?

June 2, 1997 – Monday – 4:35 p.m.

A was awakened this morning by an amazing thunderstorm.  It was so loud.  Lightning was all around.

Then, I checked my mail and discovered a postcard from Jessica:

“Jacob, this is a funny story.  I went to church on Wednesday, to the Bible Missionary Church.  I didn’t know what it was, but they had a nice log cabin.  It turned out to be the Gideons, I think.  I walked in 10 minutes late with wet hair, shirt untucked, hiking boots, and all the women and girls had their hair in buns and braids, dressed really conservatively.  They were staring at me.  They were really nice though; I think I’ll go back. You never know, I may turn out to be a decent wife someday.  And I’ve been cleaning all week!

Love,

Little Jessica Homemaker.”

Her postcard was so beautiful.  Man, I miss that little girl.

June 2, 1997 – Monday – 1:25 a.m.

It’s early in the morning.  What an evening!  June 1, 1997.

After the evening service, Crystal, Clifton’s sister, invited me to go to a drive-in movie with her down the mountain near the Tennessee state line.  We saw Volcano, one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen.

I had never been to a drive-in before.  We laid out on sleeping bags, on our stomachs, which caused my neck to hurt really bad.  Crystal gave me a massage as the credits rolled.  Then she ran her fingers through my hair.

We went to Wal-Mart and played with toys until it closed at midnight.

I had a good time and we talked pretty deeply.  She says she is away from God.  She doesn’t even consider herself a Christian anymore.  She told me about a lot of things that happened when she went away to college in Asheville.  She said she lost her innocence.  I wonder if that means she isn’t a virgin anymore.  I didn’t condemn her.  I was just there and I listened.

We came back to my room and listened to some Rebecca St. James and Cindy Morgan.  She said she couldn’t do it.  She couldn’t give herself back to God.

I prayed with her.  And I hugged her goodbye at her car door.

Then she said, “I never should have grown up and gone off to college.”

Oh God.

Help her.

Help me.

All I know is that you love us.  There is evil in the world, but you still love everyone.  I want nothing but your love.

May 31, 1997 – Saturday – 10:45 p.m.

Tracey, Allen, and I plus a few others went out to eat last night and saw Donnie Brasco.  Good story.  Great movie.

This morning I went for a walk.  I explored the area around Elk River.  It was so beautiful and green.  I had such a good time exploring and praying.

Mrs. Kacy took Stacey and I out to eat at Stone Walls today.  It’s a really nice restaurant close to campus, but I’ve never been able to afford to eat there before.  I had trout with almonds.

This summer may be the most perfect and peaceful summer I’ve ever known.

May 30, 1997 – Friday – 5:31 p.m.

Last night Vince, Allen, Laura, Sharon, and Bob and I went to Hannah’s graduation from Crossnore Elementary School.  Crossnore is a public school, yet they handed out Bibles to the 5th grade class and said prayers throughout the service all night long.  They even pray every morning there.  It’s so nice to know there are still small corners of America that remain untouched by the world around them.

The program was great and it’s so awesome to see Hannah growing up right before my eyes.  I feel like I’ve been a part of her life.  She just lights up when she sees me.  She’s the greatest!

Nearly a year ago I was at another graduation:  Lee Senior for Ryan and Christi.  Christi is now covered in 2nd degree burns and Ryan is supposedly 17 miles down the mountain at App. State, but I have yet to see her.

I have not seen the sun for the past week.  We’ve been covered with rain clouds.

One more day remains in May.  1997 is nearly half over.

Sherry won’t be here this summer.  She left after the first semester last year.  Jeni, however, is doing the first summer theater show.  She says she wants to move here permanently.

Hmm.  Some leave and never say goodbye, and others you can’t seem to say goodbye to.

I really miss the Internet.  The computer lab isn’t open for summer classes yet.  I miss chatting with MovieMark.

I’m going to try to return to Siler City in the middle of July to see Rebecca St. James in concert.

And then I turn 21 nearly a month later.

May 28, 1997 – Wednesday – 10:45 p.m.

I watched Ben-Hur today.  I cried so hard.  Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!  I love you more now Jesus.

I also worked a little in the summer theater box office, getting it ready, etc.  Church was nice tonight.  Hannah has become a wonderful little friend.  She is 11-years-old now, the age Veronica used to be.  Oh, how young I must have been when I was 16.

We went out to eat after the service and I tried to pay for my meal, but Sharon wouldn’t have it.  That family has taken such good care of me these page three years.

It’s hard to know what to write these days.  Vince and Allen and I are the only ones on campus.  We have this whole place to ourselves it feels.  Dan will arrive in a little over a month.  Curtis may never return.

Charlie and Kate are still together and seem to be doing well.

I have been at Heaton long enough to watch people grow up and grow older.  And people there say that I am still getting taller.

Josh is in pain from his surgery and frequent doctor visits.  How I wish I could comfort him.

The view outside my window is not the same.  I now have six windows instead of one.  Three closets instead of one.  Two sofas and a chair instead of zero.  My own bathroom where my toothbrush is now kept, instead of in my closet.  I have keys that will let me into every room on campus.  I have been given power and responsibility.  It doesn’t feel like I’ve changed, but I know I’m not the same person I was when I first began keeping this journal.

There are no girls here to think about.  If I do think of one, it is Jessica, out in Colorado.  What a wonderful friend!

I need to shave.  My wisdom teeth don’t hurt as much.  Of course, they aren’t there anymore, but you know what I mean.  My teddy bear is still with me.  I didn’t get to see Jenna over the break, but I did see Emily oddly enough.

It’s funny how moments grow in value, the older and rarer they become.

I wonder who is thinking of me tonight.  Jessica has a new window to stare out of, new mountains all around her, but I simply moved to the other side of campus.

Eleven months and one week now.

Time.

We’re just measuring the first part of eternity.  Like one yard stick compared to the entire globe and beyond.  Similar to my holiness when compared to God’s holiness.  I hate to leave this place, but I know I must.  I need to go out and create new things.  To challenge.  To change.  To set free.  To teach others how to fly.

If I try to stay here in this perfect place, I know God will put sharp objects in the nest, painfully forcing me out.

What can be beyond here?

I’ll soon have new names to write in these pages.  New faces.  New stories who will join in with mine.  New paths.  Perhaps other red lights.  Perhaps…Her.

Prepare me God.

Prepare the place where I will land.  I give my life to the work of your hands.  Mold me.  Shape me.  Make me.

Thirty minutes until the 29th of May.

Nine years until I’m 29.

Seven minutes have passed since I lifted my pen from the number nine.

I can’t seem to think of an exit line.

Good night.

May 28, 1997 – Wednesday – 9:00 a.m.

Yesterday I borrowed Vince’s car while he was working at the Sugar Mountain Tennis Pro Shop; I went to feed a dog in Newland and took him for a walk.  It was a favor for Vince.  We cooked dinner for Sharon, Laura, Hannah and Bob last night.  Then us guys went to see Scream at the dollar theater; I didn’t like it.

Sharon and I had a great talk today.  We talked about love and marriage.  She is so wise.  God’s grace and forgiveness is so huge.  I still don’t understand all the mysteries of this life and I’m never going to; at least not until heaven.

But I’m sure that’s not too far away; it feels like its right over these perfect mountains.