June 13, 1998 – Saturday – 11:07 a.m.

Things aren’t good.  I don’t feel happy.  I came to visit this place and it’s people.  They tell me they love me, but in reality my time here is over.  I am a “has been.”  This place is different now, for it seems Allen and Vince drink way too often, and even once Sarah returned to this land I felt a distance from her that I felt during the semester.

We talked a little last night, and I don’t think I’ll see her much this weekend.  This land is still new to her, she wants to visit with her friends who have stayed up here for Summer Theater, and I don’t want to compete for her time or attention.

I’m pretty miserable, for I no longer have my own room or place to go.  Lindy wants to stay up here longer and doesn’t want to take me back home now.  I’m not sure if Sarah or Jessi do either.  I feel like a burden, like extra baggage.

I’m staying over at Charlie’s.  The guys know I’m here, but they already made plans for the weekend and aren’t changing them.

I simply shouldn’t have come.

May 10, 1998 was a wonderful ending.  Now I fear this weekend will be all I see when I remember this place.  If this is how it will be from here on out, I don’t want to visit this place again.

I’d rather it live in on my memory…in my dreams.

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May 1, 1998 – Friday – 11:00 p.m.

This month has finally arrived.  Sarah and I have been doing really well these past couple of days.  I only have one final exam on Tuesday and then my Gus, the Theater Cat scene goes up on Sunday.  My beautiful Sarah is in it as well as Timothy.

This afternoon I finally heard back from Teen Mania.  They are sending me to South Africa to serve as a Team Leader for a full month!  South Africa!!  You are amazing God!

I’ve been rummaging through my boxes of stuff from Lees-McRae.  I found all the letters that Emily ever wrote to me.  What a story!  What a collection of words!

Sarah was in here the other night when I came across them, and, forgetting a lot of what Emily had written, I let Sarah read some.  She was amazed and speechless.  She did not leave my room until five in the morning.

I just got back from the spaghetti dinner tonight.  She and I went together, and just like last time, we all talked about the old ’80s TV shows we grew up on.  It was kinda weird.

Many memories have been triggered thanks to my rummaging through ancient papers of the past.  What a life I have lived here!

And in nine days, all of it will be a memory.

This room and these walls will be mine no longer.

My ending here has been a nice one so far.  At Bible Study they had me sit in the middle of the group and everyone said something nice to me.  Many just looked at me and cried. My friends said the nicest things.  Last weekend we all went up to Table Rock and experienced a perfect night together.  The city lights surrounded us in endless beauty.  I will miss this land.

I spoke at chapel on Tuesday and Allen and Abigail were in tears.  I speak at Heaton on Sunday and there I will say my goodbyes.

Sarah and I are going to have dinner at Sharon’s house on Wednesday.

I went with Jeni today to see the little cottage that her and David are moving into.  It was small and cute.

Carla will not be able to make the drive up from Atlanta to attend graduation.

In case you haven’t noticed, I really don’t know what to say except that I know I am changing.

South Africa will change me.

Regent University will change me.

But if there is one thing that is constant, it is change.  I can always count on God and I can always count on him bringing change.

God, I give you all the glory for these four years of beautiful moments.  I will follow you.  You are bigger than Lees-McRae.  You are bigger than the people I love here.  Holy Spirit, help me keep my eyes on you.

. . .

Sarah just stopped in.  She left to go to bed.  She said that I had spoiled her.  I asked in what way.  She said that I was perfect to her.

. . .

I guess I’ve been doing a pretty good job then.  She has defined my senior year.  We have had five special months together here at this beautiful campus in the mountains.  And we have decided to continue our relationship over the summer.

I’m not sure if she is perfect for me, but I sure do want her to be.

 

March 16, 1998 – Monday – 8:00 p.m.

The guys and I came back to sleep in the jail last night.  I have a room to myself, complete with bars and a metal toilet.  This place is so isolating it’s scary, but we all sang praises to our God as if we were the imprisoned Paul and Silas.  The acoustics were amazing!

Today we went out toward Saint Helens, KY and worked on a young family’s house.  We painted and tarred the roof.  A guy named Rob, but we called him Joe Bill, was our man-in-charge.  He was hilarious.  Come to think of it, everyone here is hilarious.

The day was cold, but soon became warm.  I think Bobbie Sue’s hot potato soup had something to do with it.

A hawk or some other kind of bird flew over our heads all morning, and a lovely little dog named Jake flew around our ankles in the afternoon.  This is a beautiful land and it seems like the people only know two things: loving God and loving people.

When we were driving into a nearby town here, we saw several strip mined areas and ruined mountain sides.  Allen asked, “What do they mine here?” and Alex respond with, “They’re own business.”

Too true, too true.

January 29, 1998 – Thursday – 10:30 a.m.

That beautiful thick pure white snow that began Monday night didn’t stop until Wednesday afternoon.  The campus is drowning in three feet of snow.  Classes were cancelled for yesterday and today.  The National Guard is even up here trying to help out.  We’ve had no electricity for a day and a half.

Sarah twisted her ankle, but all seems to be okay.

The phones were down and I had my phone interview with Regent University scheduled for yesterday.  I knew they wouldn’t be able to reach me, so I walked around town until I found a phone that worked and asked them to call me next week.  I spoke to Elinor and she called me “sweetheart.”  She felt like a mother to me and she treated me with such care.  That place already feels like home.  There is no doubt that is where I’m supposed to be next.

Three months and 13 days.

I slept in Allen’s room last night, because there was no heat in McAlister.  We had a nice time; Lindy and Derek came to visit with us.

Sarah and I spent some time together yesterday evening.  We are so good for each other.  Yet it’s like we are a bird and a fish trying to find a place where we both can exist.  We’ll just have to wait and see how this story turns out.

So, here I am.  I’m surrounded in snow, surrounded in love, surrounded in memories.  I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to truly escape this place.  Part of me will linger here and part of it will linger in me for the rest of my days.  What a sweet time I’ve had here.  I wonder what it has done for me?  What if I accidentally went to the wrong school?  Is everyone’s college experience this good?  I don’t want to leave, but I also do.  I want to fulfill all that I am to fulfill.

And I want to leave this place for the simple fact that I know I will miss it.  And missing it will mean it truly mattered to me, that I was truly here; that I truly loved.

January 1, 1998 – Thursday – 8:45 p.m.

This is my third entry for the first day of 1998.  Marcus and I went to see Amistad this afternoon; a very good movie filled with wonderful moments.  I cried when they talked about my savior and described his life in the wonderful way they did.

So, about 1997.

I remember sleeping through the last night of 1996.  I spent the first evening of 1997 with Christy’s family playing cards.  I haven’t seen that family since Christi and Patti were burned back in May.  I remember the smell of Dawn during Children of A Lesser God.  I miss that show.  Of all I have performed at Lees-McRae, that is my favorite.  I remember touching Abigail’s face for the first time and kissing Jeni again and not really knowing why.  I remember my hundreds of hours spent with Dan, Allen, Vince, and Curtis.  They are the greatest guys ever created.  I remember my trip to Ft. Walton Beach, and when Emily lost a bit of her beauty in my eyes.  I remember the box office and Lindy’s funny stories.  I remember rooming with Dan and talking with Marisa.  I remember the orientations and meeting Sarah for the first time.  I remember my weekend trips in September, regaining Abigail’s friendship, and perfect days spent in Hilton Head.  I remember spending hours in The Misanthrope script.  I remember the beautiful girl who took the time to touch me.  I remember my Christmas tree and my love for Sarah growing.

A peaceful year.

So, I’ll begin this one now.

Nineteen Hundred Ninety-Eight.

I give it to you God!

September 29, 1997 – Monday – 1:30 p.m.

A lovely day.

Yesterday was rainy, but still wonderful.  I think I prefer rain over sunshine, especially in the mountains.

Jeni came over and we talked.  Dan and Allen were here and we began talking about relationships.  Then Jeni said to Dan, as though I wasn’t there, “I could never see myself dating Jacob again, mainly because his spiritual relationship with God is so much further along than mine.”

That statement surprised me greatly.  After Dan and Allen left, Jeni and I talked about it.  She said that Abigail and Tracey feel the same way; I somehow make them feel inferior.  “But I don’t do anything!” I told Jeni.  “I’m just me, I don’t think or even try to act like I’m better.  In fact, I’m the lowest of the low.”

She said that maybe it was just their own spiritual insecurity.  She said it was the hardest thing in the world for each of them since they all love me so much.

I didn’t understand.  They love me, but don’t want to pursue anything further with me because I make them feel less close to God?

Then Jeni confessed that over the summer when she stayed with me, she went into my room and read my journal.  She immediately started crying, fearing I would hate her.  She said she opened it up to May 7th, 1997, I believe.  And well, you should flip back and read it for this to make sense, but she said that reading that nearly killed her and she wished she had never read it.

I explained what that entry meant to me and I forgave her.

Then she told me that she told Abigail once, “No matter who Jacob marries, she will never be worthy enough.  He is wonderful.”

There it is.  Because I love God, girls are turned away.  I guess following Jesus does cost something.

But all that was yesterday and I woke up today with a smile on my face.

Speaking of girls, Sherlive is completely confused and foggy about life.  She is asking questions that shouldn’t be asked.  I used to think she had it all together, but she is in the ozone.  I spent three hours talking with her last night.  I asked her to lay her head in my lap so I could just pet her hair and pray for her.  She never seemed to relax.

Dan told me later on, “Jacob it’s going to be terrible next year.”

“Why?”

“Who’s going to be here to take care of us?”

September 1, 1997 – Monday – 1:05 p.m.

The month of change is over.  September is here.  One tree on campus has already begun to change into its harvesting colors.  I was on duty until 6 p.m. yesterday.  I wasn’t able to go to church, but I did attend a church picnic yesterday.  It was fun and enjoyable.  Afterwards, myself, Dan, Curtis, Ellen, Alex, and Alicia went to the Linville Gorge area and built a campfire.  Alicia is supposedly Allen’s new girl, but she just seems like a flirt to me.  After the campfire thing, we went to the parkway and just talked.  It was a nice evening.

These remaining months of the year always seem to go so fast.  But I’ll find time to watch the leaves change and the first snow come.  It looks like I may go to Dan’s house for Thanksgiving.  For Fall Break I may go with everyone on a little college retreat that Charlie is planning.

This is going to be a nice final year.  But, my RD write-ups are kind of uncomfortable and Abigail still acts weird to me.  This past weekend was a weird one.  Allen’s friend died, as did Princess Diana.  Someone stole my brother’s license plate and I had to deal with a bunch of drunks.  But none of that really affects me directly.  Weird how the oddest part of my life is other people’s problems.

Hmm.

Auditions are tomorrow.  I’m auditioning for The Misanthrope.  It opens in November.  This weekend, I believe I’m believe I’m going to Sherlive’s house.  At the end of the month I’m going to Louisville, KY for a Christian conference.

October brings Fall Break.  Thanksgiving in November.  Classes are over by December 17th.  Christmas.  1998.

Whew, life is fast.