August 3, 1997 – Sunday – 11:30 p.m.

I sit in Rachel’s house in Sterling, VA.  Chrysalis is over.

P.C. was my roommate for the weekend and he kinda reminded me of Vince.  A wonderful person with a wonderful life ahead of him.  He has a problem with his left arm.  A part of his upper bone is hollow and he has gone through several surgeries to fix it and has a huge scar because of it.  They’ve had to take bone out of his leg to try and fix it and because of this he can’t join the Navy like he’s always wanted to.  This was a hard time for him in his life, but he met a girl on the Internet named Lisa.  They began to email each other.  Then they wrote to each other.  Then they called each other.  And then they visited each other.  She’s in Iowa and he’s in Virginia.  They are now boyfriend and girlfriend and they will start school together out in Boulder, Colorado.  They’ll be freshman together.  After he showed me her picture, I was amazed.  She was so beautiful.  I didn’t know girls that pretty talked on computers.

Sean, always seated in a wheelchair, was never seen without a smile on his face.  Kay is soon to donate a kidney to her brother.  Colleen, a beautiful 25-year-old, who lost her little brother to a rare disease when she was 15.  Then she bore her own son as teenager, but then the father left them both.  She said the death of her brother tore her from God, but the eyes of her baby brought her back to him.

After hearing her talk of her brother, I wrote her a poem:

I said hello

I say goodbye

I saw you live

And now you die

But death is life

And life is love

Love is God

Eternal from above

So I’ll see you soon

There’s no need to cry

I too am changing

And to you I’ll fly

I found out later that the poem made her cry.  When I said goodbye to her today, she hugged me so tight.  Her lips said nothing, but her eyes shouted a desperate “thank you.”

And there was Vanny, who tried to commit suicide twice before, but now only smiles as bright as the sun.

And that was just a few.  There were so many stories full of death and tragedy.  But I don’t have those stories.  My tragedies are Bs on papers and mixed emotions.  I still have my family, my virginity, my sanity, my life, my legs, my health.

But there is one tragic story in my life.  I discovered this weekend that I am capable of so much more love.  I’ve been keeping it inside and only sharing it with a select few.  Now it’s time to give it to the world.

I spoke up at the gathering and told the group that each one of them was beautiful and I thanked God for allowing me to add their eyes and names to my collection.  Some came to me and said I seemed very Christlike.  They said they saw Jesus in me.  If so, then perhaps I am beginning to live a Christian life.

Rachel told me that others told her I seemed very creative.  People are so good to me.  God is so good to me.  So, here I am God.  I’m ready.  I don’t know everything, but I know you.

Here I am.

I’ve shown up.

 

February 9, 1997 – Sunday – 3:20 p.m.

The mountains are capped in snow today.  So beautiful.

Tracey, Abigail, and Jeni came over last night.  We just talked.  Jeni tells me that David doesn’t treat her the way he should.  But she is still with him.  She said that she would marry him if he asked her.  David used to be gay, I mean really gay, but he has supposedly found the Lord.  I just hope she doesn’t get hurt.

Tracey and Abigail were very funny last night.  There are little things about Tracey that I’m so attracted to, but there’s also so much about her that I don’t know.  We had fun in church this morning.  I found a piece of candy on the floor, a little valentine heart that said “Cutie Pie.”  I gave it to Tracey and she smiled brightly and kept it.

I went to visit Tracey a couple of nights ago and we went through some old pictures of hers, pictures from over two years ago when Jeni and I were still together.

Why do we grow older?  Why do we learn?

Why don’t we find our moments of total happiness and refuse to move any further?

Tracey still hurts over Derek.  Is Jeni really happy?  She doesn’t look it.  Would she really marry someone who is currently making her miserable?

Hearts are broken every day.

People are being used.

Love doesn’t exist in many places.

What about me?  What am I doing?  What do others see when they look at me?

. . .

I am not a man

I do not have gray hair

And wrinkled skin

I am not old

But my eyes are not young

. . .

I am dying.  Everything around me is dying.

Don’t go mother.  Please hold me forever.  Who are these strangers?  Why can’t I stop growing up?

I was content in your arms.  You just let me be.  Now I’m being haunted.  Am I flying, or have these strangers clipped my wings?

Do I know what love is?

Or all we still just playing games?

Oh God, why did you die for me?

I still don’t know.

January 18, 1997 – Saturday – 6:30 p.m.

There’s something I’m not understanding.  I know I am a creation of God.  And I know that sin broke the original bond.  I know that Jesus’ blood has made a door that allows me to enter into the grace of God.

So, everything is complete.

But, I am being haunted.

Voices, eyes, smiles, they won’t let me break free.

Does one ever forget?  Or is this part of the joy?

I think now that God sees I understand the death of his son for a doorway into his grace, I believe he is now trying to show me why.

A day does not pass in which I don’t grow closer, in which a new angle is not seen, in which a soul’s eyes do not let me inside their true self.

A day does not pass in which I do not fall more in love with everything God created.

Souls have told me I have helped them become who they are.  Does that mean I have aided in their creation?

But perhaps an hour or two or a couple of years will pass and our two earthly souls haven’t been in fellowship, time and space prevents us from sharing those two very things.

Jesus died and rose in order to welcome us into his fellowship, both with him and everyone else, his bride, his grace, his glory, his everything.  Is he hurting when we are an hour or two away from each other?  Is he hurting when when two members that make up his bride can’t be together?

My collection is growing.

I know more souls now than ever.

I have seen more eyes now than ever.

I have created more smiles now than ever.

And I believe I am beginning to understand why he died.

I can’t imagine what it must feel like to give your own life for your creation…and they not even notice.

I am so sorry God.

March 2, 1996 – Saturday – 10:00 a.m.

All of us went to see Braveheart last night.  Vince and I sat on the front row.  It had been nearly nine months since I last saw it.  Such an amazing film.  It is so much like life.  You try to find peace and quiet, but it is taken away.

It amazed me how Murron looked at Wallace.  I can’t ever remember a woman looking at me in that way.  How happy they could have been.  But, they killed her.  And for her, he led his country to freedom.  He fought his way through the trials and the hard times.  He believed and had faith in other people, yet they let him down and betrayed him.

In my life, I see that happening.  Although other Christians are all around me, I sometimes feel as if I’m doing this all on my own.

Vince and I talked in my room last night after the movie.  He felt really moved.  Originally he had planned to go to Florida with Charlie, Kate, and Allen, but now he feels as if he should go home.

I sometimes forget that these people had lives before they came to Lees-McRae.

We talked about a lot of different things last night.  It seemed to stretch on forever.  We played Counting Crows’ August and Everything After and I began to talk about Emily.  I told him about the abandoned streets of Crestview on that warm summer evening, over half a year ago, when all my hopes and dreams were within an arm’s reach, but at the same time, they were slipping away beyond my grasp.

I don’t think I fought for Emily.

I’m not sure if I fight for anything at all.

No one has completely betrayed me, I suppose.

They have just left.

Or I have left.

Wallace had friends.  They loved him dearly.  And they wanted him to say “mercy,” but he didn’t.  He would not numb his pain.  He believed.  He truly believed.  His heart, soul, and spirit were insanely brave.

Every man dies, not every man really lives.

I don’t simply want to die.  I want to live.  I want to make a difference.  Have I done enough to change this world?  Are Jenna, Tenielle, Jonathan, Vince, Dan, Curtis, and Allen, are they enough?

And in the end, whose face will I see as I am dying?  Whose smile will comfort me?  This body I live in has already begun to break down; I’m writing this with a broken finger.

Although I technically know that I am not alone, I often feel alone in my thoughts.  I truly doubt if others see the world the way I do.  I wonder if the beauty that I’m surrounded by will last past college.  I wonder if others walk around and wonder the same thing.  Are others as painfully aware of how fleeting all of this is?  Do the people I see on this campus go to their rooms to think about me, and how much they enjoy my company, and does the fact that I might not always be within walking distance make them sad?

In a week’s time, I will be on my first plane flight since my parents returned to America from Germany when I was 6-years-old.  Arizona seems so far away and so big, yet my own brother was born there.

After this semester, there remains a summer and two more years.  I know that life will not stop, but I often wish it would.  Just so I could stare all of these people in the eye, and tell them that I’d gladly die for them, so that they might truly know Jesus.

But I also think that might be the easy way out.  The only way to truly lose my life, is to live it.

I believe in Jesus.

I trust him.

He will not betray me.

Nor I him.

September 28, 1995 – Thursday – 11:58 p.m.

I got a lot of laughter and compliments from Antigone tonight.  Everyone said I stole the show and took all the attention.

Afterwards, when I came back to my Residence Hall and was hanging out with Dan, Jeff, Vince, and Mike, Jeff got a phone call.  He came back to us with tears in his eyes.  His best friend’s mom had died in her sleep, totally unexpected.  She was like Jeff’s second mom.

I spent some time with him.  We listened to some music and talked.  He will go home this weekend.  He will be okay.

You know, I can see things changing.  Every day things grow more and more different and distant from where I came.

October is almost here.

1996 is almost here.

So fast.

But that is life.

April 11, 1995 – Tuesday – 7:25 p.m.

It’s been one year and one day since I wrote April 10, 1995’s journal entry.

This land is still flowing with milk.  But it is not coming from Jeni.  It is coming from inside me.

In less than five weeks I will be gone from this land.  I will return to the place from which I came.

I had my interview with Todd, the Director of Residence Life this morning.  The interview went wonderfully.  He liked my answers and questions.  My need and want to be a filmmaker came up, as well as my faith.  My love for everyone came up.  Jesus came up.  Charlie came up.  I even mentioned the old skit group and Jason.

And it made me look back.  I looked back at everything God has shown me.  All of those days.  Even the ones before I began writing them all down.  They all mean so much to me.  Every soul out there that I’ve laid eyes upon.  Every person that has ever loved me.  Every person that I’ve ever loved.  I would mention their names here, but we already know who is important.

It takes time to appreciate.  But hopefully I am learning to overcome that time.  Hopefully I am learning to appreciate everything during the moment it is happening.

I thought about Emily all day today.  I think about her more than I think about myself or anything else.

I have fallen in love with her.  I have fallen in love with others along my journey, but those hearts and thoughts have faded away.

The sun has set outside.  It is nighttime.  I am happy.  I am thankful.  My life has been good.  I do regret somethings, but now I can only be thankful that God has forgotten them.  In my retrospect I relive wonderful moments from my past.

Somebody loves little me.  Somebody out there likes little me.  Somebody out there misses me.

And now things will begin to continue on from this one moment in time.

I don’t know where I will be tomorrow.

Things may grow worse.  My life may fall apart.  Death could be all around me.  Love could be no more.

But as before, I am fighting.  Tomorrow is out there.  And I will find it.  Things may grow worse, but most likely things will only grow greater than this wonderful day.

It continues.

I am coming Emily.

I will be there soon.

You know, I am not the one who can save this world.  Jesus already did that.  I am simply trying to help out.  And, at least from where I’m sitting, it looks like I’m doing an okay job.  I have a smile on my face, but it’s not through yet.  There is still much that needs to be done.

Come with me and we will do it together.

February 15, 1995 – Wednesday – 5:55 p.m.

I wish I could be at church right now.  I can’t wait until the next time I get to see Laura, or the next time I get to talk to Crystal.

But instead, I have to stay here for Team Meetings and A Piece of My Heart.

Jeni received her poem and she agreed to be my friend like the last line had read.  She is my friend forever.

Something has happened.  I didn’t think about it or write about it because I didn’t think it was important.  However, someone has died and I believe now is the time to face it.

A beautiful young girl is now dead.  For all I know I could be next.

A few days ago, a student here at Lees-McRae came down with some sort of bacterial meningitis and was hospitalized.  This disease is supposedly spread by kissing or drinking after one another or even by smoking the same cigarette.

This student was given a 20% chance to live.  Two other guys on campus were carriers of this disease, but they weren’t effected by it.  However, the beautiful young girl that died was the girlfriend of one of the two carriers.  The other guy’s girlfriend is in a coma.  They do not go to this school, but they both live in North Carolina.

A medicine was freely given that kills this virus in you.  It has weird side effects, making your urine, sweat, and tears turn orange.  It causes soft contacts to turn orange and unusable.  I wear soft contacts and I don’t have glasses.  For that reason I chose not to accept the medicine because then I wouldn’t be able to see.  My vision is really bad.

A dancer kissed the boy who was hospitalized, and now other Performing Arts students are showing more signs and symptoms.

Charlie told me tonight that I must go tomorrow to get this medicine.  This may not be a big deal, but I wanted to mention it here anyway.

But after Charlie said that to me, a horrible thought entered my mind:  “You are going to die Jacob.  That is why you and Jeni broke up when you did…so this would be less painful for her.  Soon you will leave all of this and meet Jesus.  It’s your time to go.  You have done all you are supposed to do.”

Later I told Charlie my thought.  Jokingly he said, “Bummer, I wanted to be in one of your movies in the future.”

I laughed.

Then frowned.

Because I had to ask myself, “What did I do here?”

And even if I am not dying, still, what have I accomplished?  Whose lives have I changed?  Have I done enough?

The answer was obvious.

No, I haven’t.