September 20, 1998 – Sunday – 8:28 p.m.

My life has gone on a crazy ride recently.  To begin, my Communication Theory class blew my mind.  God is definitely using this class to deal with the way I think and see the world.  Perhaps I’ll go into detail with that later.

I worked Wednesday afternoon and that night we had drama practice.  It went okay, but these kids really have no idea of how to do this thing, but I guess it’s my job to teach them.  Nevertheless, we all had fun.

Sometimes at Regent I feel like I just don’t fit in.  There is a Law School and a Theology School and I feel like some of those students in their suits walk by and judge me and my duck-taped sandals.

I worked all day Friday, it was a bit rough.  I just wasn’t happy with all that was around me.  But once I got off work, all that changed.

Dawn, a coworker, needed a ride home.  She’s insanely beautiful and a lot of fun, she actually reminds me Emily.  Well, I was taking her home and she wanted to stop and get some pepperoni rolls at a nearby bakery, so we did.  We ate there together and talked and it was just simple fun.  I shared a meal with an insanely beautiful girl and sometimes that is all a man needs to make it through the week.  We drove to her house, and I was just being me, you know the one that often feels like he doesn’t fit in at Regent, and she was just cracking up a storm, telling me I was the funniest thing in the world.

Thank you Dawn!  You saved my life that day.

Then, I went back to Regent to watch some of the student films that were being screened.  I saw three and they were all pretty good.  Then I left to go watch One True Thing at the Regal Cinemas.  That movie changed my whole perspective.

One day, my own mom is going to start dying.  I love her so much and that day is many years away, but still, we will all die one day.  And the movie taught me that I have so much here in Virginia Beach to love and care about.

I haven’t been doing that well enough.

I cried the entire way home from the movie.  I just a big baby in the car.  I didn’t like who I was and I wanted to change.  I asked God to forgive me.

I arrived home, slept, and got up early yesterday morning and left with some members of the youth group to go to King’s Dominion.  I spent most of the day with our leaders Tammy and Jose, as well as Kimberly and Lauren.  Kim is 15 and Laura is 13 and we eventually split off and it was just Kimberly and Lauren and me.  And I had the best day with those two.

I just loved whatever was around me.  Kim and Lauren and I talked the entire day.  I was a 22-year-old graduate student who got to feel 14 again.  God was giving me a gift and I was reminded of who I was and what I’m called to.  God knows me better than I know myself.

Kimberley reminded me a lot of Ryan, my first crush, and Kimberley said I make everything so much fun that she wants to do everything with me now, even shopping.  Lauren was an absolute sweetheart and I now have two dear new friends.

What a lovely thing that is, a friend.

One True Thing revealed to me how I had needlessly complicated my life.  I’d forgotten about the simple sounds, simply joys, simple tastes, and simple smiles of the good life.

On Saturday, September 19, 1998, I became young again.

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August 30, 1997 – Saturday – 11:16 p.m.

So far this has been a crazy weekend.  First of all, Curtis came to visit, which was great!  They all went to Sharon’s house, but I was on duty.  While on duty I had to take care of an alcohol problem in Avery dorm.  It is a crazy long story, no need to write it here.  I don’t want to remember it.

Allen, to everyone’s surprise, went out on a date with a girl named Alicia from ASU.  He met her a week ago some how.  They evidently had a good time.  He really likes her.

While sitting in my room earlier today, I got a call from Dan, “Jacob, you need to come over here we have a problem.”

I ran over to Dan’s room and I saw Allen with his face in his hands crying.  It turns out he talked with his mother over the phone and found out one of his close buddies from back home in New York died in a motorcycle accident.  Allen was bawling hard and no body was saying anything.  He left and I followed him to his room.  We talked some.  He told me how close he was to this guy.  He told me how he called the mother earlier today and could barely say her name through the tears.

I told him it wasn’t fair.  Everyone has their sad stories, but I don’t have any.  Not that I want them, but I simply can’t share in their pain.

“You’re just lucky,” Allen said.  We talked later in the day, after he got himself together.  We were talking about this world and the trials we must go through.  He said the wisest thing, “We simply don’t belong here.”

And he is right.  Just like Marisa said, this weird place is not our home.  There is more to life than this.

Jeanine also came up to visit.  She got really close to Allen this summer and she was hurt when she found out there was a new girl.  My shoulder was there for her to cry on.

My brother Kevin is also up visiting.  He is in a Putt-Putt tournament nearby.  But no one is here now.  They all went bowling in Boone, even Kevin.

These duty night are something else, but they pay the bills and hopefully this job will look good on a resume.  Most of the campus has gone home for Labor Day weekend, so I just find myself sitting here thinking of Sherlive.

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.