August 24, 1998 – Monday – 1:07 p.m.

In about three hours I’m going to go see the girl I met on Friday at Greenbrier Mall.  Her name is Rachel.  God please guide our conversation.

Church was so good yesterday.  Parkway Temple is perfect for me.  Last night the youth pastor Jose, his wife Tammy, David, and a 20-year-old named Aaron all came over here and we had a meeting, and they basically just handed their entire Drama Ministry over to me.  They said I have complete artistic freedom.  I’m so excited!

Yesterday afternoon, David and I went to the beach.  The water was so strong because of Hurricane Bonnie.  And I have to admit, like a kid in grade school, I wrote Rachel’s name in the sand.

 

July 24, 1995 – Monday – 4:08 p.m.

Last night was my last Sunday night at church.  I will be away all of the other Sunday nights.  I have been a part of that youth group for six years.  The youth group itself began with a guy named Mike.  I was there at the ripe age of 13.  I have gone through all of the youth pastors:  Mike, Mark, Hank, Pastor Steve, Jason, Pastor Steve again, Shurby.  Shurby doesn’t do it anymore now either.

My greatest days were those with Jason.  He still inspires me even though he is not around.  But when he was here, I was 16-years-old and wanting to soak up anything I could that dealt with theater and drama.  Jason taught me so much.

But those wonderful days have faded away, just like all the rest.

These days, I strive to grow closer to God and closer to Emily.  I also was to succeed at everything I attempt during my time at Lees-McRae College.  Which reminds me…while at Fishnet ’95, Jonathan, one of the guys we met, told me about a film school in Virginia Beach.  Then the next day, while I was talking to one of the speakers, he mentioned the same film school, named Regent University that is sort of associated with CNN, a Christian cable network.  Anyway, since two people at Fishnet, on two back-to-back days, encouraged me to check out this film school, well, I think the Lord is trying to tell me something.

I will look into it.

Last night, on the way back from church, Marcus and I about got hit by a car.  So, we followed the car a little ways through Goldston.  Then another truck was following us.  Then finally, after the first car was long gone, we pulled over and the truck behind us stopped, got out and approached us.  It turned out, the drivers of the truck were the parents of the girl in the car we were following and they thought we were stalking her.  Evidently, she’s been having a lot of guys stalk her recently.  I thought it was a funny little misunderstanding, but Marcus got really shook up by the father accusing us.

Everything is okay; we all apologized.

I think I’m going to go to a MXPX concert tonight with Kevin and Marcus.  They are a Christian group that sounds like Greenday.  Hopefully I’ll have fun.

Ten more days until August 4th.

I got a letter from Emily a few days ago with a little hand-drawn map of how to get to her house.  In it was a little card that said this:

“Jacob,

It’s hard to believe you are coming here.  I may not let you leave.  My prince may never return.  I don’t want to lose you.

I’ve been doing really good lately.  I’m just so happy for no reason at all.  Nothing can bring me down from this natural, beautiful high I’m on.  I can’t wait to share it with you!  My anticipation burns inside me.  I can’t hide my smile.

I love you.

Emily”

I was right, on the directions I noticed a bridge I had to cross.

February 1, 1995 – Wednesday – 1:00 p.m.

By the time February is over I will have made a huge decision.

At 12:30 p.m. today, Charlie went to a meeting with Heaton’s new pastor: Jim.  One main subject they were going to talk about was a drama ministry.  Charlie had me in mind.  This is what he said, “I’m pretty sure they want to pay you Jacob, and they will supply money for music, props, costumes, etc.

What Jason did for Abundant Life Christian Center, I might do Heaton Christian Church.

I can feel it.  I want to do this.  I have so many ideas of my own.

But there is one thing that bothers me.

The summer of ’95 in Ohio; that has been what Jeni and I have been looking forward to for so long.  Yet, now I may not even see her.

If I begin a skit group and it goes well for a few months, but then suddenly leave…I can’t do that!  It was done to me when Jason left us to return to college and it almost killed me.

I just checked my voice mail messages.  Jeni left me two.  She was hurt.  At lunch Charlie asked me about the summer and Jeni was sitting right next to me.  I saw the look on her face.

In her message her voice was shaky.  She said that she had to go home to be with her mom.  Jeni’s parents don’t love each other anymore.  Her mom is really hurting deep down inside.  Both her father and mother are good people, but not a good couple.  She needs to be there for Paige too.  I can’t ask her to stay here.

Then she said that she needed me to be there for her.

What am I to do?

I want both, but I want Jeni more.

I can’t do what I want to do though.  Not this time.  I have to be where God wants me to be.

If I did stay, I’m sure that Jeni could come down once a month.

I just don’t know.  It’s impossible to have both, but what I want is both.

I can bring people to the Lord through drama and story.  I can slowly save the world one person at a time.

Could I do that if I went to Cincinnati and worked some random job, just to be there for Jeni?

Jason, please tell me what to do?

What if it doesn’t work out though?  Then everything will be okay and I’ll be in Cincinnati.  But Charlie said there was a pretty good chance that it would work out.

Father God, where do you want me?  There is a wonderful summer just a few months away…what do you want me to accomplish?

Help me Jesus.  Please, help me.

August 22, 1994 – Monday – 11:20 p.m.

Pastor Steve took us out to dinner tonight as a graduation gift as well as a going-off to college farewell.  It was only myself, Marcus, and Anne.  We ate at Fitzgerald’s and talked about some pretty deep stuff.  Pastor Steve is great.  He has taught me so much these past six years.  More than he will ever know.

Afterwards, Marcus and I went to Christi’s.  Jason was home.  We talked about everything.  He is doing great!  I miss the days when he was our youth pastor and lead the skit group.

I also learned tonight that Joel made a pass at one of Andy’s friends who was there.  Her name was Margaret and Hank and Andy were ready to kick Joel’s butt.

Cheryl has let me know that he has put his hand up her shirt and tried to touch her elsewhere.  She’s only fifteen and I told her to press charges.  I also found out that Joel was in prison in Phoenix for statutory rape.  That’s why he left Phoenix in the first place and tried to start over here.  Well, he’s going to get what’s coming to him.

Anyway, Jason and I talked about theater stuff.  He said that I’m getting into everything all at once, so I better keep focused and keep my head above water.  Jason, Christi, Marcus, and I went shopping together to get Christi some school stuff.  It was just like old times.  He has to go back to college when I do, so I will see him again.  He still inspires me and he still has that Les Miserables metal frame thing that I made for him.  He showed it to me and said he hangs it in his college dorm.

I had forgotten about that. 

April 23, 1994 – Saturday – 10:45 p.m.

It is taking everything in me not to burst out in tears.

I did not see Tenielle nor Jenna, they did not read the letter I wrote yesterday in my journal.  And unless things change, they probably never will.  Last night Kevin came back with his roommate.  He called Tenielle because he said that he would call her at 7 o’clock.  He called her at nine.  She had been waiting the whole time.  They talked for forty minutes.  Their mom…

You’ll have to forgive me, but it really hurts to go into detail.  I’ll just get to the point.

Ginger, Jenna and Tenielle’s mother, doesn’t like Kevin and she definitely doesn’t like Kevin around her daughters.  She thought Kevin and Tenielle were already having a relationship because they wrote each other letters like twice a day.  She read those letters.  Nothing mushy, but they definitely like each other.

Kevin is 19.  Her daughter is 12.  And now, thanks to how my brother called her three times today and said things like, “your mom should let us go out as long as Jacob is with us because your mom trusts Jacob,” Jenna and Tenielle are not allowed to come to church anymore.

My brother feels terrible.  This is all his fault.  He should have known better.  So they liked each other; who cares!

Age does matter.

I learned that the hard way.

Although I liked Jenna and Tenielle, I never really wanted a relationship with them because they were too young.

And now look!

You cannot blame Ginger.  If I was in her position, I would do the same thing.

All that stuff that I said in the letter was half fake.  I don’t feel that way.  It was a cover up.  A mask.  To hide how I truly feel: mad and sad!  I see my brother having conversations with Tenielle like the way we used to talk.

I won’t see them tomorrow.  I can’t imagine how Tenielle feels, or Jenna.  Jenna had nothing to do with it.  It all happened because two immature people couldn’t control their emotions and now it has affected the whole world.

If they don’t come back to church then they will most likely backslide.  That can’t happen.  I will see what I can do.  This chapter has not ended.

I must attempt to save the world again.

Besides that, today was okay.  I ran into Christi as Wal-Mart after skit practice.  She told me Jason was back for the weekend.  I stopped by to see him.  He is not the same person.  He is not as fun-loving as he used to be.  We talked some.  Then I left.

Whenever Christi saw me at Wal-Mart, she just waved and was going to walk on by.  I had to stop her to talk to her.  Hmm.  Goodbye Christi.

One thing I told Jason was that at first I didn’t want to go off to college because of the church and because of my friends.  But each day something breaks down and the Lord shows me each day that I cannot stay here.  Jason said that was good in a way.

Tomorrow will come, along with sorrow.  Jenna and Tenielle won’t be at the Carman concert.  They won’t be at Carowinds.  I forgive my brother, but this should not have happened.  I don’t know what to think.  I don’t know how to feel.

Christi is gone.  Ryan is gone.  Amy is gone.  Anne is gone.  Now Jenna and Tenielle are gone.

Will someone else come along?  That doesn’t matter.  What matters is that I get through tomorrow.  If I have to, I’ll put on a mask, pretend to be happy and just keep me and my emotions safe.

Time is passing.

Thirty days of school.

Oh God, will I ever find blessing in the heartache?  Why is this happening?  You see all!  Where will this end up?  Please keep this safe.  Let your will be done.  And thank you Lord for not letting me make this mistake four months ago.

Somewhere out there, someone is wishing on the same bright star I am.

March 17, 1994 – Thursday – 10:50 p.m.

Considering I only got three hours of sleep last night, I’m really tired.

So, let me continue with last night.  Jenna was at church.  Tenielle wasn’t.  Jonathan was there and he flirted with Jenna.  It didn’t really bother me, because well, it’s hard to explain.

Something has happened between the two of us.  We’re still good friends, we still joke around.  We still throw each other these looks and lines, but in those looks there is a distance.  A distance greater than there was before.

Why?

I don’t know.

I suppose it is because we both know how we used to feel and how we feel now.

Tonight we had skit practice because we will perform at the youth explosion Saturday.  The whole youth group showed up since we needed everyone.  Jenna and Tenielle were there.  And tonight Jenna looked at me in one of the ways that she does, and she asked me a question, “Jacob, am I your friend?”  I nodded and said, “Yes, you are.”  She nodded and smiled back.

And in that we both knew that what used to be had changed and we are only good friends.  Which is more than I could have asked for.  There is a distance in our eyes now.  So, we are not meant to be.

Pastor Steve handed the skits over to me again.  We did the Mask Skit and the Abortion Skit.  Those are the ones we’re going to do on Saturday.  It was fun directing.  Jonathan kept calling me Jacob Spielberg.

Afterwards, Kevin, Scott, Jonathan and I went to Taco Bell and did crazy things.  Marcus had a track meet.  We had a blast.  I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much in one day.

It is the middle of March now.

Spring is here.

Winter is over.

In the winter of ’92-’93 I went through some complex times with Veronica.  Then spring came and so did Ryan.  My infatuation with her lasted through the spring and the summer and into the fall.  Throughout those seasons, Christi popped up every now and then.

She still does.

Then things changed.

Something happened.

The people who made my life so great went away.  Jason, Anne, Christi, Ryan, and so on.  They weren’t around as much.

The cold winter came and I was without them.  The winter.

But in that winter, I found two roses who kept my heart warm.

All the other flowers had faded.

My grasp on those two roses has loosened, but they’re encouragement is still greatly appreciated.

All they have to do is smile.

But now in the spring of 1994, there is no special flower to which a great portion of my attention goes.  They say flowers grow in the spring.  We will have to see.

In a way, I wish a new flower would grow.  One which I’ve never seen or known before.  But…we all know those kind only grow in the summer.

January 12, 1994 – Saturday – 10:00 p.m.

Ninety days of my senior year are over.  I have 90 more to go.

And then…well…you know.

At church tonight, Jenna and Tenielle and Shar were trying to get my attention while I was singing.  They got it and I noticed they were trying to make me sing louder.  I did, but they said later that they still couldn’t hear me.

Ryan was there tonight.  I said very little to her.  I miss her in a way.

I looked at Jenna a few times while I was singing.  She was looking at me.  She is a beautiful girl.

Right now I’m listening to the Power of One soundtrack.  I first heard all of this music last spring.  Just hearing it makes me feel the warm air.

I found an old letter from Veronica yesterday.  She wrote that she felt crazy because she wanted to see me and couldn’t.

Things have changed.

Big time.

There is another one of those “After Ballgame Parties” at Mr. Gatti’s this Friday.  I remember the first one.  Danielle’s dad must be a thief.

I want it to get warm again.

We have skit group practice this Saturday.  That is shocking.  We are also doing another one of those Door to Door ministry things.

Ninety days.

Five months.

The summer.

Should I put it in low gear and slowly slip away, or should I put it in high gear and have a blast with everyone and then leave with a snap of my fingers?  I have a closet full of junk, memories and stuff that I have to clean out before I leave.  The day I do that will be a painful day.