August 20, 2000 – Sunday – 5:00 p.m.

Yesterday we just went to the beach instead of going up to the Eastern Shore.  And once we got there, I left the group and began walking north.  I eventually arrived to Fort Story and saw the lighthouses, and then, far in the distance, I saw a beautiful girl in a bright yellow bikini run into the waves.  She was instantly more beautiful to me when I realized she was alone.  Far up near the remains of an old fort, I saw her towel and bag where she  had made her sunbathing spot.  There was not a soul around, except for me walking by.

She kept swimming, and I kept walking.

I turned around after a while, and when I walked back by she was lying in her spot up near the fort.

Everything in me wanted to stop and talk, but I walked past and then paused to ponder the notion more intently before I was too far away.  The waves tickled my feet.  A dolphin swam in the distance.  I wanted so badly to talk with the girl who was content to be alone.

I wondered about all the elements of who she might be deep in her soul.  But, I never found out if any of them were true.  Instead, I picked up a seashell to keep as a memento.  It will forever remind me of the blonde sunbather in whom I saw a bit of myself.

Thank you, whoever you are.

July 29, 2000 – Saturday – 10:36 p.m.

This evening I went with my Saturday night small group to the beach, where we sang worship songs and studied the Bible.  It was a nice time.  So many people were out.  I’ve been here two full years, but I’ve never gotten into the beach culture that’s here.  I would always visit the ocean by going to Sandbridge, the non-touristy beach.  I’ve rarely hung out on the strip.

But tonight, I did take notice of the perfect way that light attached to a girl.

And it blessed me.

I’m not fully dead yet.

July 5, 1999 – Monday – 10:40 a.m.

This has been the greatest of all mornings.

I sit now in the Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport in Texas.  I was here nearly a year ago.  I sure didn’t know then that I’d be back.  The rest of the team is in the air right now, on their way to L.A.  I, because I’m an adult, was forced to take a later flight since the other one was over booked.

So, I’m alone now, and that is a good thing.  I need this time to write.

We had an outreach in Chesapeake on Saturday and afterwards the team went to see Tarzan at the movies.  I sat next to Mary.  Our elbows rested on the same arm rest and touched.  And around the middle of the movie, we discovered that we could touch each other’s fingers through the cup holder without any of the team seeing.

It was awesome.

After the show everyone went to my apartment and some of the girls and Corey cooked for everyone.  Mary and I got a chance to talk again.  We wanted to make sure that we weren’t just using each other for a little summer fling.  We hold each other in the highest respect.  The night ended in a crazy conversation about our most embarrassing moments.  Everyone was laughing so hard. A dozen or more teens were in my apartment having the time of their life and not even realizing it.  It was priceless.

July 4th was the next morning and we ministered at a small church in Toano, which is the same town my grandparents live in.  I went to visit both sets.  I even saw my dad, who didn’t look well at all.  He’s gotten insanely fat.  He also told me that Kevin got in another accident last night.

I hurriedly returned to my Master’s Commission gang, fully aware that I’d rather spend time with them than my own father.  We decided to take the super long and scenic route back to Chesapeake, which involved a ferry ride.  That evening, Meagan and Mary and I went to Meagan’s beautiful country home out in Pungo.  The three of us drove to Sandbridge and spend the final hours of the last 4th of July of the 1900s playing in the deep dark waves of the Altantic Ocean.  An airplane made amazing glow-in-the-dark smoke trails in the star-filled sky above.  The night was perfect, but soon midnight came and the day that I am now breathing in began.

We left Sandbridge around one in the morning.  Meagan drove, Mary sat in front of me, and she would reach back and we would hold and touch each other’s hands.  We got to the house and showered all the salt and sand off of us.  Meagan went to bed and then, for about two hours, I held and touched the most amazing girl alive.

Mary and I spent the early hours of this morning realizing this would be the only chance we had to touch each other.  So, we cautiously spoke into each other’s hearts while guarding them at the same time.  We did not sleep.  It was the most precious few hours of my history.  How beautiful was its purity!  Her soft skin.  Her eyebrows.  Her neck.  Her back.  Her ears.  Her hair.  Oh, and she wanted to shave my face, so I let her.  And then I shaved her legs.  How weird and crazy we are!

I want her so bad, but I’ll only be around her for another week, and in the busy town of L.A. at that.  Our conversation this morning was so precious.  We were no longer two team leaders, but we were man and woman, stopping the world for a few brief hours, so we could acknowledge the value in each other.  Thank you for this morning God.  Use it for your glory!

Now she flies over New Mexico, while I sit in Texas.  Why do goodbyes take place?  Why do I have to part from this girl?  If coming to Virginia Beach did anything for me, it introduced me to Mary, and that makes everything worth it!

Above that though, God has used her to do a healing in me.  My faith in Christian women has grown strong again.  She and I are no accident.  We are no mishap.  This is divine.  I’m not saying she is the one, I’m just saying she has been divinely appointed to me for this brief time, as I have been to her.

Sweet Jesus, you never let me go.  You are my desire.  You bring such good things into my life.  Thank you!

 

August 18, 1998 – Tuesday – 8:37 a.m.

I had the best birthday in the world!

Church on Sunday went very well.  I went to Parkway Temple and I think I’m going to stick with it.  I’m going to call the youth pastor this week to talk about the skit group.

Yesterday, for my 22nd birthday, I woke up at 4:00 a.m. to drive to Sandbridge and watch the sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean.  I took some pictures and had an excellent time alone with God.  A policeman came and told me I parked in the wrong spot.  He wondered why I was out there so early, so I told him it was my birthday and that I just moved here and didn’t really know anyone so I had to celebrate somehow.

I registered for my classes yesterday, and I met with my advisor to plan out my schedule for the next two years.  I should be finished with all my courses by the summer of 2000.  Only two years; that’s crazy!

I went to a cookout yesterday at a family’s house with a pool.  They have four kids from 14 to 5: Jessica, Jonathan, Jeremy, and Jenna.  Jenna, the 5-year-old and I had the best time!  She had some cool toys and loved to show them off.  To my surprise, all the folks at the cookout had a cake for me for my birthday; they prayed for me and everything.  I met most of them last Monday when I went to a prayer meeting at Christian’s house.  Christian and his family are from Germany.  Anyway, everyone didn’t want me to spend my birthday alone, so they planned this cookout for me.  I almost didn’t go because I thought I should stay home and wait for my mom to call.  Funny thing is, my mom never called.  I think she’s totally forgotten my birthday.

Oh well, God is already giving me a new family, no matter where I find myself.

Thank you God!

June 30, 1998 – Tuesday – 10:39 p.m.

I wrote a bit this morning, and then I left for the beach to go ahead and get the tourist in me out of my system.  It worked.  I feel like a resident now.

I bought a beach towel and everything and tried to play the part, but it just wasn’t my thing to do.  I took a walk.  The waves were beautiful, but I couldn’t really see them due to all the people being in the way.  I couldn’t really see the sand either since that too was covered in people.  Folks were just putting themselves in a baking oven; I couldn’t believe.  I saw white folks today who were darker than Marcus.  I walked to the end of the boardwalk and had a perfect glass of lemonade, but then I got out of there as fast as I could.

I cooked hamburgers and fries this evening.  Matt and I watched Citizen Kane, and then I went for a walk.  I took a new sidewalk that ended up leading to the far side of campus.  I walked through the campus by the CBN Headquarters.  There was so many giant satellite dishes, I just stood in amazement.  Then I found another trail that wound through some trees and ended up behind the library, which I had never been to before.  There was a sculpture of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, it was so beautiful.

I enjoy walking.

Now that I actually have a car, I do drive it, but there is just something about walking.  It feels like the land is yours when you take the time to walk over every inch of it.

Banner Elk and Lees-McRae felt like mine, but they belong to others now.

This place will be mine very soon.

June 29, 1998 – Monday – 9:29 p.m.

Today is Allen’s birthday, but I haven’t called him yet, since I don’t have my phone hooked up.  Happy 22 Allen!

Matt and I watched Braveheart last night.  I woke up kinda early this morning and tried to run some errands, but there wasn’t much I could do.  I did meet some faculty members, but very few.

I drove to the beach today.  It was very touristy, so I drove onto the Fort Henry Military Base at Cape Henry.  I went to the Cape Henry Memorial.  I was alone, it was nice, like my own little corner of the world.  There were dolphins playing in the waves.  It reminded me of Hilton Head.

Wow, that was a long time ago.

I miss Emily and Sarah.  I miss a beautiful woman in my arms.

Matt and I went to see The Truman Show tonight.  It’s such a perfect movie.  There was a beautiful storm brewing outside as we left.  I can see so much farther here.  Well, not as far as if I were on top of Grandfather Mountain, but far simply because it’s all so perfectly flat.

In nine days I depart for Texas, and five days after that I leave for South Africa.  Today I went to places I’ve never been before.  And that is pretty much going to be my life for the next month.

Tomorrow is the final day of June, then 1998 will be half over.  And I did the math, after I turn 22 in August, it’s 500 days until the year 2000.  Crazy!

Our phone should be hooked sometime tomorrow.  I’m looking forward to that.

Virginia Beach is the largest city in Virginia population wise, but it’s been pretty peaceful since I hardly know a soul.

May, 12, 1995 – Friday – 11:55 p.m.

Jonathan and I rented The Shawshank Redemption.  A lot of cursing, but a wonderful movie.

I got my hair cut yesterday morning.  Ginger did it.

It’s good to be here with Jonathan; it’s good to have a friend.

You know, now that I think about it…the first night I talked to Emily on March 26th, and the night I held Syndi on May 7th, were probably the greatest moments of my Freshman year at LMC.  Thank you for them Lord.

We are going to the beach tomorrow.  This’ll be the first time I’ve seen the ocean during the day for probably five years.

I saw it at night last summer with Jonathan.

Last summer seems like yesterday.  This summer seems like tomorrow.

July 27, 1994 – Wednesday – 1:00 a.m.

It has been Wednesday for an hour.

On Monday Jonathan and I went to Pembroke State University, and by the grace of God he was admitted and will be able to start school there this fall.  This was his last chance and he made it.

We went to his mom’s in Wilmington.  That night we played miniature golf.  And I tell you what…there are millions of beautiful girls in this world.  I know the Lord God has set apart one of them just for me.

We also went to the beach at about 11:00 p.m.  I hadn’t been to the beach in four years.  It was so amazing.  There is so much to see in this world.  So many people to meet.  

The moonlight shining over the ocean.

Sand between my toes.

The Moon was happy.

Open up Jacob.  Enter in.  Find your joy here while you can, so you can take it with you to Lees-McRae.  Your dreams will be tomorrow.

June 10, 1994 – Friday – 11:58 p.m.

As I am writing this it is becoming the 11th day of June, 1994.  Today dad and I saw City Slickers II and tonight I received my high school diploma.

It happened.  I graduated from high school.  Jenna and Tenielle were there.  They seemed to enjoy it.  I gave them a big hug!

I can’t believe it’s over.  All those people.

There was one thing that happened tonight.  It happened twice.  I can’t get it out of my mind.  A girl was near me while I was in the midst of the crowd after graduation.  I was talking to someone happily and then turned and I saw her and she smiled at me.  Then later, while talking to Jenna and Tenielle, I saw her looking at me.  I looked at her and she smiled like she had known me forever.

But this sophomore girl has only said four words to me since she came to high school.  Once, in the sight and sound section of Wal-Mart in Sanford, she said “hey.”  The other three words she spoke to me during switch day of my senior year.  She said, “Turn around Jacob” because she wanted to see how I had stuffed my butt to look more like a girl.

This girl is Renee and it is very unlikely that my eyes will ever see her smile again.  I thought of her the rest of the night.

I am leaving tomorrow to go to Virginia.  Everyone else from my graduating class is going to the beach, but that’s just not me.

My collection has grown.  My collection of farewells.

I will miss it.  I will miss them greatly.  It’s hard to know what to say, but all good things must come to an end.

I have a list.

A list of my own.

Schindler had his and I have mine.

His was a list of lives he’d saved.  Mine is simply a list of people I’ve shared existence with.  And I say goodbye to you.

We are the class of 1994.  You have shaped me.  And even those at Chatham Central who are not in the class of 1994, you have shaped me as well.  

Thank you Renee.  

Thank you for smiling at me.  

You made this graduation so wonderful.