September 12, 1994 – Monday – 11:15 p.m.

I got a letter from Cheryl today.  She got a little mushy.  She tells me her life is falling a part, and gives me the impression it’s all because I left.

Cheryl has written me four times since I’ve been up here.  She has pressed charges against Joel.  Things are complicated.

Mom and Henry came up here.  They brought me the bald eagle Tenielle sent for me.  It’s beautiful and on the bottom she wrote, “Jacob, you’re forever in my thoughts.”

I haven’t heard from Jenna.  She is probably keeping in touch with Jonathan though.

I called Scott today.  Things are great for him.

Their stories are continuing.

As is mine.

August 11, 1994 – Thursday – 1:00 a.m.

So much has happened!

First of all, I couldn’t get a hold of Jessica on Monday so we didn’t do anything.  Instead, that night I went to church, there was a special service.  Jonathan, Jenna, Tenielle, and Sunny were there.  I gave Tenielle a little something since she has been so nice to me.  It’s still sort of hard to talk to them though, I spend my time talking to other people.

Tuesday, Jonathan and I went to see Clear and Present Danger.  I must say it was amazingly brilliant.  One of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time.

I worked that night.  Then today (Wednesday) I went to work and then to church.  After church, Marcus and Adrian and I went to Christi’s, but only Andy and Hank were there.  So Andy told all of us about his trip across the country.  I wish I could have been in his place.  He saw it all man.  He learned so much.

I’ve done more this summer than I’ve ever accomplished in one summer, but compared to him…I did nothing.  In 17 days I will leave this world here.  I’m beginning to see now.  This great adventure I’m on will soon take me across the country.  

These first 18 years of my life have been for learning.  It was just a learning experience.  I learned something from a lot of people.  Tonight I saw how it wasn’t only myself that was changing and leaving, but that other people were too, causing the youth group to be changing and leaving as well.  The only people left are the really really young ones.  Youth groups aren’t very stable things at all.  Whatever they are at any time might last a year at most.

Trish is moving to Oklahoma tomorrow for two years.  I said goodbye to her tonight.

Andy is going to UNC-Wilmington.

Jonathan to Pembroke.

Marcus to Alamance Community College.

Kevin to Methodist.

Myself to Lees-McRae.

All at once it changes.

But you see it coming for so long.  

I know what I’m going to do, but I’m going to do it burden free.  Not only will I be an eagle, but I will be an eagle’s feather, floating freely any way the wind blows, brushing up against anything in my path.

Only 17 days remain.  I remember when it was 90.  It’s hard to realize that this is the end.

This story that I’ve been writing down is ending in 17 days and another one is beginning.

Everything is different when you look at it from a distance.  Just flipping back through my old journals, it is obvious to me how much has changed and how much I’ve changed.

What was it all for?  I thought Ryan would be close to me forever.  I thought everything would be forever.  

I just want to be free from all the burdens of this world.  Throughout high school, I was pushed to get the grade.  I got the grade, but I see now that there is so much more.  All of this has just been a foundation.

I want to float around this world, truly learning, seeing, experiencing and helping.  I don’t want to do anything for a grade.  My life and my time here is complete.  It’s time for me to be me.

Everything here is becoming a burden, so I can’t stay.

I want to tell stories through theatre and film.  It doesn’t matter how big or small, I just want to get to where I can be a storyteller.  My Lord is with me and that’s all I really need to know.

I will turn 18 in six days.

I just remembered that Cheryl should be back from Ohio.  I think I’ll give her a call.

. . . 

Cheryl is doing okay.  She is going to break up with Joel because he is not the person she thought he was.  I feel sorry for her because there is nothing here left for her.  Church has changed for her.  There is no one left and she has no where to go, but here.

I’m glad that’s not me; I have a place waiting for me.

October 23, 1993 – Saturday – 10:20 p.m.

We didn’t have skit group today.  We didn’t have singing practice either.  I stayed home all day.  A lot happened.  Too much to explain.  I’m happy right now.  Really happy.  So happy it’s scary.

Today I got up around nine o’clock.  I took a shower, moused my hair, and then watched some TV.  Jonathan called.  Everyone left to go wherever they went.

I was alone.

A whole Saturday.  A whole house.  All to myself.

What did I do?

Actually, I don’t really know.  I wrote a little while listening to The Phantom of the Opera.  I watched some more TV and then I prayed in the spirit for a while.  I played the Power of One soundtrack super loud and danced to the music in the kitchen.  I practiced my monologues for my college audition and tonight I watched four hours of TV in a row.  I haven’t done that in a long time.  I watched Star Trek: The Next Generation, Baywatch, and the movie Mermaids.  Mermaids was really good.

But you know what?  Things are going to be okay.  I got a letter from Emily yesterday and in it she wrote a poem for me:

Today I saw an eagle flying

Crying out to you and me

Wondering who is free

Asking who might be…

An eagle

Making his dreams come true

Fly, eagle, fly!

Though this world may have no hope

His dreams can keep him free

Like an eagle

Making his dreams come true

Be an eagle, Jacob

Be an eagle.

Everything is going to be fine.  My dreams will come true.  I will write.  I will make movies.  And I will find that right girl out there in the world.  Whether she lives in Florida, North Carolina, or somewhere else; I will find her.

I dare you to keep reading.  By the loving grace and blessings of God, my dreams will come true.