August 20, 1999 – Friday – 1:30 p.m.

I feel haunted by every moment.  Memories of these days here in Virginia Beach have already begun to linger in my mind and heart.  It seems I live every moment knowing it will never be again.  I do believe that true love lasts forever.  Veronica, Jeni, Emily, Sarah, these loves did not last forever.  Who they are now is not the person I once knew.  I’m sure I too have changed.

The summer is slowly closing, and I wish I could be back in the arms of Mary.  I wish I could sit above the city of dreams and overlook L.A.  I wish I could wake up once more under the thin slice of the Vermont moon.

I am missing days I haven’t even entered.

Oh to be 22 again.  To have just returned from Africa, to be working with the beautiful Dawn, to be sitting in class talking about movies, to be directing fifteen teens in a Christmas show.

I visited eleven new states while I was 22.

I miss the wife I have yet to meet.  Forgive me for looking for you in others’ hearts.

I want to sleep in the arms of the one who knows me.

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August 19, 1999 – Thursday – 8:00 a.m.

Mary Jo and her guy Rob, plus Stephen, took me out to eat for my birthday.  All the beautiful waitresses sang happy birthday to me.

Lindy called me at midnight to wish me a happy birthday.  And Nate called me as well.  He is in high school now.

I worked at the bookstore all day on Tuesday.  It was the best day!  They had a cake and everything for me.

Sterling’s family had me over for dinner that night and Kimberly came over as well.  We all met up with other folks from the youth group to go pick David up from the airport.  He has been in Bogota.

I met with Lorene since she is going to be the chair for my thesis film I’m doing.  I’ve titled it DANG!.  I have to incorporate my own production company to produce it properly and legally.  I bought a book on how to do that last night.  This is kind of crazy.

I can feel in the air that autumn is on its way.  This 23rd year of my life is going to be something else.  My movie will take up most of it, plus a full year of classes, not to mention teaching at the church on Wednesday nights.  I’ll also be working on a feature length script for my story structure class.  The summer is almost over.

On Monday I have an audition for a CBN/700 Club feature story.  Someone told the director that I look exactly like this real life murderer, so I’ve been asked to read for the part.  Should be fun!

 

August 8, 1999 – Sunday – 8:43 a.m.

I got home yesterday around one in the afternoon.  The ten hour drive from Vermont was a completely wonderful thing.  In fact part of me still feels like I’m there under that early morning star-filled sky.  It was nearly as vast as the sky I saw over Africa a year ago.

About 30 minutes after I got home, I got a call from Dayton asking if I was able to go to one final Master’s Commission service.  The service will be later on today, right down the street at Centerville Fellowship.  It’s been about three weeks since I’ve last saw everyone.

Last night I hung out over at Kimberly’s and then met up Sterling and family at Upton’s.  They went home, and I went to see The Blair Witch Project.  I had heard the whole thing was made up, but that didn’t keep me from being scared.  My knees were knocking against each other.  The theater was packed and some people clearly believed all the marketing and thought it was really found footage.  I saw a group of girls so terrified they ended up sitting in the same seat holding each other.  It was pretty cool.

Mary called me last night and we talked for about three hours.  She’s so funny.  She’s so weird.  I’m glad we’re good friends.  I’m glad me being myself seems to bless her.

Throughout our conversation I kept talking about Lindy since I had just recently seen her and her parents.  I was just talking about what a wonderful friendship we had, and then after a while Mary said, “Jacob, you’re in love with her!”

Uh…

I just kept talking.  Part of me was thinking “Duh! Like I don’t know that.”  But the other part of me was thinking, “Are you crazy, she’s like my sister!”

But this isn’t a new thought.  I’ve always battled those two thoughts.  Lindy is my friend, one of the best I’ve ever known.  We seem to never run out of things to tell each other.  Wouldn’t it be nice to wake up next to someone and have everything in the world to talk about?  What a beautiful miracle that would be.

 

August 6, 1999 – Friday – 8:30 p.m.

I’m at a rest area in Vermont.  This is an insanely beautiful state, but now I long to be home.  In fact, during a nine mile hike in the White Mountain National Forest, I decided to not head into Canada, but to turn around and head south.  I think it was something about all the land and all the new faces.  There was something in the voice of the beautiful girl who couldn’t find the napkins at McDonald’s in St. Jonesbury, VT… she just seemed like a human worth knowing, and I grew overwhelmed by the fact that I knew no one in the whole state.  Yet, much further south, there were tons of wonderful people I did know.

On the way down I-91 in Vermont, the sky and the mountains and the light were doing amazing things.  I began to cry thanks to the vastness of God’s beauty and holiness.  He created so many other people.  I had forgotten what a miracle it was to simply know another person.

I think that’s why God called me up here, to remind me of that simple fact.

Oh to be safe in my home.  I’m so tired after such a long hike, but can’t afford another hotel.  I think I’ll just sleep in my car in this rest area.

Protect me oh Lord.

 

July 22, 1999 – Thursday – 3:06 p.m.

I’ve been working on the summer film since Monday.  It has been fun, but tiring.  Jason and Brandon were extras last night and we met this absolutely beautiful 16-year-old Italian girl named Anna-Marie.  She’s really needs Jesus, hopefully she follow up on our invitation to church.

I took the convertible out and am now at Munden Point in South Virginia Beach.  It’s really pretty out here; lots of water.

I called Sarah the other night and she seemed excited to talk to me, but then she got another call and said she would call me back, but never did.  Typical Sarah.

Maryanne, a girl from Regent, got a three-day job as a Production Assistant on The Green Mile starring Tom Hanks.  I hooked her up with it since it is being film near Blowing Rock, NC.  She is going to stay with Lindy.  I’m kinda jealous, ha, ha!

It is a beautiful day and I’m alive.  I think I’ll go for a walk and just talk to my Jesus.

 

July 11, 1999 – Sunday – 10:10 p.m.

The events of the past four days seem very distant and foggy.  We’ve had plane trouble, so we are still at the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport.  Needless to say, things have been crazy.  Let me try to recap.

I did see Brandon and Sara and their little Madison at Disneyland.  Mary spent a little time with us.  It was so good to see them.  We took a break from the park in the middle of the day and I went with Brandon back to his hotel room.  Little Madison and I played together there.  We had so much fun!  She’s the cutest little girl.

Disney was a good time, and Mary and I were able to have some alone time there as well.  I saw the Fanstamic show that night.  It was really neat; such imagination!

Thursday we went about an hour east of L.A. to Fontana and spent the day with this youth church out there.  They treated us so kindly.  During that time Mary and I had a chance to talk, and we really opened up to each other, which may not have been a good thing.  I can hardly remember what was said now, but it was a sweet and precious time.

However, she has been acting really funny the past few days.  She’s been acting really selfish and her conversation used to be really Godly, but now it has been totally petty and pointless.  I’m not sure what happened, but when yesterday came, I was so ready to go home.

We went to Santa Monica and there the whole group just stopped acting like a group of Christians doing ministry and started acting really worldly; especially Mary.  I hated it.

After sunset we went to the observatory near the Hollywood Sign.  I needed to get away from everyone, so I slipped away and found a trail down to the left.  I sat there, finally alone and sang to my Jesus.  All of the man-made lights below me were beautiful.  I saw the entirety of the L.A. skyline and the surrounding areas and there the Lord and I had a special time above those 13 million people.  There were even fireworks off in the distance.

I thought about who I was and what I was supposed to do.  I thought about how Mary was perfect for me on some days and totally wrong for me on other days.  I thought about the homeless woman I saw try to kill herself by laying down in front of an on-coming train.  And I thought about how natural it felt to be in L.A.  Finally, I thought about how thankful I was that I’d soon be leaving.

Last night, before we left the observatory, we had a time of reflection where everyone went around and said goodbye to me and shared their feelings about me.  I’m leaving the team when we land in Norfolk, but they have another couple of weeks together.  They all said very sweet things, things I’ve heard others say about me before.  The greatest compliment though was that I not only taught them the Masks drama, but that the example of my life revealed to each member of the team the mask that each of them was hiding behind.  They told me that I have a wisdom unlike any they’ve ever encountered.

I shared with them how hard it was to strip my soul bare for every new group of people, but that doing so also continually helps me and keeps me open; though sometimes it feels like it nearly destroys me.

. . .

So, I’m in the air now, flying far above both land and clouds.  I don’t know about Mary and I, except that I will try to keep in touch through email.  I’m looking forward to getting some things together and organized for the next year of school.  I hope to visit some Lees-McRae friends during the first couple of weeks in August.

Thank you for these days sweet Jesus.  Thank you for molding me and for fixing me.

And thank you Mary.  I will remember L.A.

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!