January 12, 1998 – Monday – 1:00 p.m.

It has begun.  My final semester.  All of my close friends are back now, except for Curtis, Abigail, and Ann-Marie.

Charlie and Kate and I went to see Good Will Hunting.  It was amazing, but man I think it had more bad language than any movie I’d ever seen.  Yuck!

Church was nice on Sunday.  Crystal has decided to not go back to school in Asheville.  She is going to stay home and work.

Saturday night I called Sarah from Dan’s room and we had a nice conversation.  We just caught each other up on our week and all that has happened.

During a meeting on Sunday night, I met all the new freshmen for the semester.  Sarah came in around that time and it was so good to see her.  She gave me a letter, a beautiful, beautiful letter.

I think perhaps you, the reader, should read it:

Dear Jacob,

Hi. I want to share some things with you. Let’s start with the fact that I am really really happy right now. You know how different times in life have different feelings? Well, for now, I am happy and I feel like I am waiting. God has brought me here, but am I making a difference while I wait? I’m just trying to live from the Him that I feel burning inside me.

I’ve never been good at getting my feelings across in words or on paper; if I could I suppose I’d be striving to be a lawyer or an author, but God wants me to do something. I know this because he saved me so many times; in this we are alike. You feel your wings itch inside and I feel something as well.  I want to rejoice in my life and how it leads me to live. I can see your wings Jacob, I know it’s true! I think I have chosen the wolf as my animal because they see and hear everything. This is the gift that God has given me that both delights and scares me. I see and know things that others can’t and what many overlook. These are pretty deep thoughts, thoughts that I share with no one because I’m afraid they won’t get it.

I am a sinner. We all sin, that is the part of our legacy as humans. I wish it weren’t so, but even the best of us do.  Most of the time we do it without even thinking about it.  I know that some of the things I do are not what you would call good, but they are part of who I am, a part of my past, a part of my life. I dedicated my life to God long ago and I gave him all of me, even my weakness, along with my joy, fears, love, pain, and stress. My life is his. I learn everyday. I’m trying.

Part of what I’m trying to explain is that… well, I love you and I don’t want to scare you away from me. For the next few months I need to soak as much of you up as I can, so that no matter what happens you will make me a better person just by being you. You understand don’t you? I love you. As I said, I wasn’t planning on falling in love with you, but this unexpected love for you excites and scares me. Except for my family and the few friends I have at home, all of my other relationships with people seem to turn sour. Please don’t let me scare you away. I don’t know what will happen, but I do know that we must learn from each other. I have found true love in your heart. Unfurl your wings and fly away.  

I love you.



It’s hard to know what to write after reading that.  But God is doing something.  After reading her letter, everything around me became more beautiful.  As I walked across campus today and had great moments with Vince, Justin, Josh, Sherlive, everyone; I realized that all of us were on the Titanic, Sarah too.  There is an iceberg ahead and it’s sole purpose is to separate us from each other.

But although the thought made me want to cry, I became full of so much joy because I know God has given me Sarah for this short while to help bring me beyond the iceberg.

I can survive this storm if she is with me.  I told her as much when we had a few moments alone last night.

After saying goodnight, I went to see Vince.  He read to me a long poetic story he wrote after he saw Titanic.  It dealt with Laura.  Man, one movie is ripping all of us open.  He saw it over Christmas with his family and he said he couldn’t believe how his mom and stepfather reacted; they only talked about the special effects! But Vince said he was dying inside and wished I was there so he wouldn’t feel so alone.  He didn’t want to be alone last night, so he came over and slept on the floor here in my apartment.  He got up in the middle of the night and threw up in my bathroom.  He said it was over Laura.

It’s good to have Vince here to talk to.

This morning we went down to the Jehovah Petra, the cross we built on a huge bolder in the middle of the river, but the storm and flooding that happened over the break must have washed it away.  Our place to pray and worship was no where to be found.

Oh, these days; my mind seems to be overflowing.  Of all those things, number one is my Lord, number two is Sarah, number three are these wonderful friends.

It’s so hard to see Sarah when other people are around. I want so badly just to hold her and talk with her about things I barely tell myself.  It’s difficult to see her everyday because I love her so much.  I don’t know how to be a couple with her, I just know how to love her and give her my all.

Every day is an amazing new day.  Every new day is the best day ever.  Are these the best days of my life?  Am I living them now?  God is so true and alive and real.

I love others.

And that is the greatest of all gifts.


December 15, 1995 – Friday – 12:08 p.m.

Ten days until Christmas.

I am at Crystal and Clifton’s house now.  I got here around 4:00 p.m. yesterday.  We decorated the Christmas tree, then went to the rehearsal at church.  Clifton and I played cards before we went to sleep.  It was like spending the night at a friend’s house.

I slept really well.  I had a weird dream that I was walking alone along the abandoned country roads of Bear Creek, North Carolina.  A car pulled up beside me and in the car were Scott and Shirley and a grown up Veronica.  They told me they were riding around looking for colleges that Veronica might attend.

Then my dream ended.

I talked to Sharon last night as she came to pick Hannah up from rehearsal.  She said that Melissa had a really good time with Vince and was a little sad because she wasn’t going to see him again for 23 days.

She said 23 days.

She counted them.

She counted the days until Vince would return.

That seemed so beautiful and innocent to me.  I wished I had someone I could count the days down to.

This morning, after I took a shower and ate a bowel of cereal while everyone was gone, I watched Apollo 13; I enjoyed it much better the second time.

It felt weird this morning as I walked around in the kitchen, my bare feet touching the cold tile floor.  It reminded me of my home in Siler City.  The tile floor on the second floor of McAlister Hall is always warm.

Which reminds me…my third semester at Lees-McRae College is officially over.  I remember that after my second semester I said that my two best nights were the nights in which I first talked to Emily over the phone and the night in which I held Syndi under the waterfall.

By the way, Syndi has gone back to Tampa.  She is not returning next semester.  I will probably never see her again.

For my first semester I would have to say that one of my best nights was when I was in Cincinnati with Jeni on top of a hill overlooking the city and seeing a bright red moon hovering over the city lights.

Now, for my third semester, I would have to say that my two greatest nights were when Dan, Allen, and I went hiking one evening on the other side of Grandfather Mountain.  It was really warm, my hair was long and blowing in the wind.  I could see so far.  There were huge rocks all around us.  I kept on saying, “I’m flying!  I’m free!”

The other best night would have to be this past Wednesday evening as Vince and I, plus Sharon’s three beautiful daughters, Melissa, Laura, and Hannah, took a walk down a wintry trail to their little cottage hidden in the woods.  While walking down there with Laura next to me, I dreamt of a summer of ’96 in this beloved land and how I would always go up to visit Laura, and she would come down to visit me.  We would sit out and watch the beautiful sunsets together.

I dreamt of warm weather.

I dreamt of her.

I still dream of her.

A young girl of sixteen whose mother will only let drive to Ingles and Eckerd Drug.

I remember being 16.  So long ago.  I remember three years ago as I tried to put a Christmas show together at my old church.  It fell through.  It didn’t happen.

But now, three years later, I attempted to do it again, in another land with different people and different children.  And it is happening.  It came together.

It opens tomorrow night.

Back in Siler City, I dreamed Winter Dreams.

But here in Banner Elk, they come true.

In a few days I will say goodbye for a short while and return to a place and say hello to many I said goodbye to long ago.  Only to say goodbye again and return here to say hello.

That is what life consists of.

Hellos and goodbyes.

But in between each one, there is laughter, there are tears, there are smiles, there are special unique moments that make my life so beautiful.

Laura?  Do you dream of me?

August 1, 1995 – Tuesday – 2:20 a.m.


What a beautiful month this will be.

I feel I have grown so much in the past year.

In 72 hours I will be waking up to go to Florida.

Thirteen days of my summer remain.

A whole new world of responsibility is ahead of me.

But before that I will spend a few precious days with an angel.

And everyday with my best friend Jesus, the Lamb of God.

Everything is beautiful.

Everything is gorgeous.

I am me.

I am free.

Yesterday was yesterday.

Tomorrow is a day away.

My life is now.

This is my great adventure.

May 8, 1995 – Monday – 9:45 a.m.

Oh boy!!

It’s Monday morning.  I am in the post office…yesterday was amazing.

Heaton Christian Church has begun two different morning services now.  One before Sunday School and the traditional one after Sunday School.  Charlie and I went to the early service; amazing!

Psalm 15!  Read it!

I talked to Clifton and Crystal and Molly and they wanted me to come see the play they were in at the high school today.  So, I went home with Clifton and Crystal.  I watched some of Benny & Joon.  Then we went to the show.  Molly and Clifton were actors and Crystal ran the sound.

The show was okay, but you could tell it was high school.

We went to church that night and afterwards we all got pizza from The Villa, then ate it at the park.  We played all kinds of little games.  It was me, Dan, Crystal, Clifton, Caroline, Jason, Sean, Meredith, and Trey.  There was this neat jungle gym thing that we played frisbee tag on.  That was the last night I will spend with those kids for a long time.  I will miss them; they are wonderful.

I got back to my room around 9:30 p.m.  I went to the computer lab to print something out.  James was in there.  He said hey.

I went back to my room and called Syndi.  She wasn’t in.  I left her a message saying something like, “I just wanted to see what you were up to and find out what time you were leaving tomorrow.”

I met Syndi on April 22, 1995.  That was just a little over two weeks ago.  So, I turned on the TV and smiled when I saw that Jurassic Park was on.  I watched about about fifteen minutes of it before I got a call back from Syndi.  We talked for a while and I told her about my day and that I went to see a high school play that afternoon.

She responded with, “Well, why didn’t you invite me?”

I then told her that I went to the park and she again asked why I didn’t invite her.

So I said, “Well, do you want to go now?”


So…we went.

Her car was already packed and I had no leg room whatsoever.  We drove to the park and played hide and go seek.  We swung on the swings.

And then this stranger said, “You know, you never taken me to meet your mom.”

I looked at her.  I wasn’t sure what was going on.  She then said, “Well, we could leave now, stop and say hi, then drive back and be here in time for my exams.”

“We could.”  I said.

I was getting a little worried.  She sounded serious.  So, I said, “Lets go somewhere a little closer where neither of us have never been before.”

“I know a place that I’ve been before, but you haven’t.”

It turns out she was talking about a beautiful waterfall around Elk Park.  So, we went.  It took forever to get there.  It was 11:00 p.m., only a quarter moon was out, so it was very dark and we couldn’t see.

We found a fence and followed that.  She took hold of my hand and we walked to the waterfall.  We stood there at the top above it.  It was very huge.  The stars were out.  We were in the middle of nowhere.  I felt free.

We found our way to the bottom and sat there.  Everything around me was beautiful…including her.  We sat there and talked about everything.

Then, I said “Could you imagine seeing the sunrise from up here?”

“We could stay if you want.”

“That would be cool.”

So, we went back up to her car and, since she was already packed up to go home, we got two pillows and two blankets out of her trunk.  We found our way back down through the dark and made ourselves a bed.

We laid there and stared up at the stars, and whatever thought was on our mind and in our hearts simply poured from our lips.  As we talked, she kept saying she was cold.  I told her to come closer to me.  She did and I put my arm around her.

We continued to talk and as we talked we got closer.  As time passed, the only sound that could be heard was the sound of the rushing waterfall and the sound of her breath as it ran across the rim of my ear.  Both of my arms were holding her.  One of her arms was around me.  She told me that she could feel my heart beating.

As I was staring at the universe above me, and holding a beautiful girl next to me, three falling stars shot across the sky.

Syndi is sweet, but she drinks a lot.  She curses a lot as well.  She is not a Christian.  I began to wonder how I got to that position.  I met this girl two weeks ago and now she is falling asleep in my arms below a gorgeous waterfall.

The subject of my faith came up.  She knew I was different.  I told her what I believed and I told her that Jesus loved her.  She said that she knew that.

Time passed, and we fell asleep in each other’s arms.

She woke me up sometime after one o’clock in the morning and said she was too cold to stay.  We gathered our bed and found our way back through the night.

As we were driving back by the college, she did not stop.  She kept going.

“Let’s go to Taco Bell!” she said.

In Boone, Taco Bell doesn’t close until two in the morning; or so we thought.  We were wrong.  It was closed, so we went to The Pantry and bought some food.  And then we drove back.

It was 3:30 in the morning when I finally got into my bed.

I woke up at seven and this day began.

I woke up happy.

I woke up free.

Syndi.  For some odd reason I care about her; a girl I hardly know.  And I thought of Jeni.  I thought of how she always wanted me to touch her body.

Then, Syndi, a girl whose body I held when it was cold, and a soul and a spirit whom I shared the love of Christ with.

I had finished the circle.  I felt pure again.

Jeni made me feel dirty.

Syndi let me keep her warm.

Jeni said that she loved me.

Syndi said that I was the most committed person to the lord she has ever met.

I feel like me again.

Thank you Syndi.

Thank you Lord.

Thank you for your waterfall.

December 20, 1993 – Monday – 10:15 a.m.

School is out for the holidays!

Saturday evening, we went to Henry’s parent’s house for a Christmas gathering.  I received a shirt, some money, a wallet, and a little pocket knife key chain.

Church was fine yesterday.  Ryan did something new to her hair.  I complemented her.  That was the only thing I said to her.  She didn’t come that night.

Tenielle and Jenna are sisters, by the way, I had no idea.  They look nothing alike.  They weren’t there this morning, nor at the evening service.  Shar told me they were sick and then she asked me which one I liked better.  What was she talking about?

She said that both Jenna and Tenielle like me and they want to know which one I will go out with.

First of all, I didn’t think Tenielle liked me.  I saw her staring at me a few times, but, you know…

But Tenielle is twelve.

Veronica is twelve.

Jenna is thirteen.

Shar said that Tenielle likes me more than Jenna does.  I like Tenielle, but I’ve gone through all that before.  It feels so good to have a girl like me, but I just can’t.  I can’t go through all of that again.  I’ve had experience in this.  She is too young.  I know how this will turn out.

I told Shar to tell them that I turned bright red and that I don’t work through other people.  I will talk to them in person on Wednesday.

I will just be their friend.

Things will be better that way.  Tenielle may be beautiful, but I don’t think she is what I’m looking for.  Looks aren’t everything.

Jenna and Tenielle are sisters.  I can be their friend.  Perhaps we can all do stuff together; like Amy, Ryan, Cheryl, and Christi and I have done in the past.  Besides, I don’t see Christi anymore and Ryan and Amy don’t come to church as much as they used to, so I need some group of girls to hang around with.

Why not them?

November 12, 1993 – Friday – 11:22 p.m.

Two birds have flown my way.  Two birds whom I have yet to write about in my journal.

Until now.

Yesterday was Veteran’s Day.  And if you are a Veteran, thank you.

We had an assembly at school for the special day.  When we have an assembly, we always go to home room and then to the auditorium.  In my home room class there is a girl.  That is the only class I have her in and we only have home room every now and then.

Anyway, I first saw this girl on August 21, 1993.  She was at the senior T-shirt making party.  Her name is Rebecca and she is the foreign exchange student this year.  She is from Sweden.  Back in August, when I met her, the extent of our conversation was just exchanging names.  I wanted to talk to her some more, but I was sort of shy.  The day continued and she left my mind because I went to Ryan’s house later, and, well, you know…I suppose you could just go back and read the journal entry for that day.

We’ve only had about three assemblies so far this year and that plus one time in the hall are the only times I’ve talked with her.  We always sit next to each other during assembly and I’ve gotten to know her a little bit.  I guess all I’m trying to say is that she is absolutely wonderful and she has fully captured my attention.

Tonight at work there was a new girl there.  Tonight was her first night.  I helped her some, but after I got off I sat down and waited for Henry to pick me up and it was her break time.  She sat with me and we had a nice conversation.  She is pretty, but not gorgeous, but I bet she can be if she adds a little makeup to her beautiful eyes.  Her name is Janice.  She was nice to me and really polite.  I like that.

I was right.  Another one always comes along.

This time next week I will be coming back from the best night of my life.

Les Miserables is in seven days.

September 15, 1993 – Wednesday – 10:33 p.m.

The past few days have been normal.

Today I had an orthodontist appointment, and afterwards I went to Wal-Mart.  Last year around this time I noticed a girl at school.  Her name is Renee.  I never really liked her, I just noticed her because is she absolutely beautiful.  Well, while at Wal-Mart, I went around the corner of an aisle and the same girl walked right by me and looked at me.  I have never spoken to her before.  We’ve never even shared eye-contact before.  But time stopped and it seemed like forever but I finally said “hey” and she said “hey” back in her sweet, soothing voice.  It stabbed right through the core of me.

Ryan was at church tonight.  I didn’t talk to her much.  I miss her.  I see her, but I just wish there was more.  I know there won’t be though.  Sherry, Veronica’s cousin, was hugging all over me tonight.  Her touch was encouraging.  We’re good friends, but it made me realize that I like being single.  And I want to stay that way for a while.  The incident at Wal-Mart made me realize that, too.

So, with Ryan, I’ll still think of her and if something happens, praise God, but I’m just going to wait for God to move.  There are other girls, but these modern productions are all very well, but there is nothing to equal from what I here tell:  that moment of mystery, when I made history, with Ryan…the girl I could never tell…