May 11, 1999 – Tuesday – 1:15 p.m.

My four days in Banner Elk were wonderful.  Friday, after we picked up Kerstin in Johnson City, we ate at Applebees.  There we met our waitress Celina, whom we ended up praying with before we left.  We went hiking that afternoon with Jessica and Curtis’ new girlfriend Megan.  It was so beautiful out there on the back side of Grandfather Mountain.

Megan is so delightful.  We became instant friends just like how everyone became instant friends with Kerstin!

We saw Sunny that night in Boone with Abigail, Dan, Grayson, Josh, his dad, and I think that’s about it.

Sarah had a lead in the show and did so well; she looked absolutely beautiful.  I ran up to her after the show and embraced her so tightly.  I spent time with her on graduation Sunday as well.  Our relationship has been healed.  Love has intervened.  Time has surrounded us.  We are great now!

I took Kerstin back Saturday morning.  It was so lovely to see her outside of Regent.  She so beautiful and so much fun!

On Saturday I hung out with everybody I could.  That night I slept in Lindy’s room.  We just talked and talked until we drifted off to sleep.

Church seemed the same as always at Heaton.  It was great, but no longer for me.  All the kids have grown up.  It was weird being there.

And then graduation came.  What a wondrous day.  Tons of hugs.  Tons of pictures.  Tons of smiles.  I loved seeing Ashley, I forgot how much she makes me laugh.  A perfect day…and I had to drive away from it all at 4:30 p.m.

I don’t think any of us realized what truly took place on that day.  Dan, Vince, Jaime, Tracey, Lindy, Allen, and Curtis graduated.  Justin is transferring.  Abigail, Jessica, Anne-Marie, Ashley, and Josh remain.  What will become of our futures?

As I drove back seven hours toward the east coast, I found comfort in my home here.  Voicemail messages from Kimberly greeted me when I arrived.  David took me out to eat.  I was only gone four days, but I was missed.  Now summer classes have begun.  I have homework to do.

It’s already May 11th

Hmmm.

Must mean I’m having fun.

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April 3, 1999 – Saturday – 3:05 p.m.

Dan and Abigail came around 8:30 p.m. Thursday night and they left this morning.  Our time together was nice; we explored the National Wildlife Refuge of the area and we went to youth group where Abigail sang.  Our small group meeting was all girls except for Dan and I.

Dan and Abigail are so happy together.  They blessed me so much, but their absence now makes me feel lonely.  There is only one month left in the semester.  I have so much work ahead of me, but it will all be over soon.  I will visit Banner Elk and see my friends graduate, then I’ll begin another semester, well a summer semester at least, but that will last just a tad longer than a month.  Then perhaps just one more year of school, and then who knows.  I hear there is a decent filmmaking scene in Wilmington, NC.  Perhaps I will move there.

I’ve been writing in these journals for six years, and I see now that I have only been writing the beginning.

Some day soon perhaps I can leave everything behind and drive away.

April 16, 1997 – Wednesday – 2:00 p.m.

I’m in my Shakespeare’s Tragedies class.  The professor does nothing but read to us, so I thought I’d bring in my journal and write.

I did get the Assistant Resident Director position for next year.  I will have an apartment as well as my own bathroom on the first floor of McAlister.  I also got the Resident Director and Box Office Manager jobs for Summer Theater as well.

I’ve been thinking about the next year.  I’m looking forward to the change that will occur in my life nearly a year from now.  I’ll be here for 2 1/2 weeks.  I will close down this semester and go home on the 5th of May.  I plan to go home and attend Jenna’s wedding on the 10th.  I want to visit my friends and go for long walks on the railroad tracks.  Then I’ll return.  I have one more summer and two more semesters.  May of 1998 is not far away.

But tomorrow is never guaranteed.

When the time comes, I know I will be ready to leave.  I have my God and He has me.  I have my work, and that I will do.  I have my friends, and I will laugh, smile and cry.  But I also have my heart, and I want to share it with someone.

I’m at a stand still.  The mountains of my dreams are getting harder and harder to climb. I feel like an outcast.  I’m accepted and appreciated, but there’s something deeper that still feels alone.

But one thing I know….I’m only beginning to bloom.

October 27, 1996 – Sunday – 12:45 p.m.

Four days are left in October.  Another month has flown by.

I am still here.

I am still alive.

Three performances of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead remain.  My family (except for Kevin) came today.  Dan, Vince, and Laura came last night.  Everyone tells me I did wonderful.

I attended Heaton Christian Church this morning.  It too was wonderful.

The whole world is outside my window.  The leaves are slowly falling away.  I want to serve my Jesus and my God.  But I’m not exactly sure how.  I’m not entirely sure of where to go from here.

But I will continue to listen.  He is the only clear thing.  Everything else makes no sense whatsoever.

I don’t know what will come.  I can’t begin to imagine.

But this is where I will stand until the time comes for me to move on.

It just feels like that time is coming way too fast.

May 5, 1995 – Friday – 6:45 p.m.

Less than an hour ago I had my Performing Arts evaluation for the year.  I sat in front of four faculty members and they complemented me.

A lot.

They said that I had such a cool, good, clean, and free spirit.  They said they saw talent deep within me and that it was time to pull it out.  They might also make me the videographer for the year.  There’s money involved in that job as well.  They said they were glad to have me here.

So, I left with a smile.  My future looks good.  I am growing.  I am learning.  I am experiencing.

Actually, this is a lot of fun!

December 26, 1994 – Monday – 7:40 a.m.

It is the 26th of December in the year 1994.

Did you hear me?

December 26, 1994.

I have been alive on this earth for 18 years, four months, nine days, two hours, and 40 minutes.

That’s a long time.

But then again…what is time?

I feel empty.

Arms.  My arms.  They hurt.  They ache.

And I know why.  They are not holding the one I love.

Jeni.

Just writing her name gives me the chills.

She called last night around 11 o’clock.  We talked four hours.

She is in Cincinnati, Ohio.

I am in Lanexa, Virginia.

For the summer of 1995 it looks like I will be where she is now.  She wants me to go home with her and find a job in Cincinnati. Then maybe just visit my family in North Carolina around the 4th of July.

Do you remember when Jenna and I bought Grey Poupon on the 4th of July?

So many smiles, so many moments of laughter, not just from Jenna, but from every person I’ve encountered; every person I’ve spent at least a few fleeting moments with these past 18 years.  Yet I’m sure there are some I have forgotten.

Is my past truly behind me?

Will I allow myself to spend a summer in Cincinnati?  Will my heart?  Will my arms?  Will my eyes?

What is there in Sanford?

What is there to hold in Sanford?

What is there to look upon in Sanford?

Today, Dad and I went to see two movies:  Star Trek: Generations and Forrest Gump.  Star Trek was cool, but will there ever be another movie as amazing as Forrest Gump?

As I left the theater I looked at the different human beings around me.  Some had tears in their eyes.  Some were holding the hand of a loved one.  That certain individual had found that other person they were created to love.

What an adventure!

What a discovery!

What a miracle!

The miracle of another human being.  How Jeni and I ever came to know each other is beyond me.

Beyond me.

There is much beyond me.

But my savior, very close to me, has taught me to love and value another one of his beautiful creations.

Time does not exist.  Days may pass.  Years may pass.  But my past will grow.  My collections will grow.  My love for Jeni will grow.

The end will draw close, but it will not be over.

And in the meantime, I will enjoy my time here on earth.

I will enjoy my time with Jeni.

I will enjoy Lees-McRae College.

I will enjoy the summer of 1995.

I will enjoy the future.

For surely the best days of my life are not the ones you’ve already read about, but the ones I have yet to write.

June 17, 1994 – Friday – 9:03 p.m.

I’ve got a headache now because of all the rides I went on today.

I had fun, but not as much fun as I had at Carowinds, but obviously that is thanks to the people I was with.

April 30th!

It seems like yesterday, but I know it is much further away.  A perfect day that I experienced in my youth, but it is gone now.  They say “Life is like a highway.”  I guess that means the soul is a car.

And objects in the rearview mirror may appear closer than they are.

I asked Joel if he thought of the past when he was in Arizona.  I told him Brandon only thought of the present.

He said that it was true, you do think of the present and the future, but he also said, “You don’t have to worry Jacob, no matter what, you will always remember the good times…always.”

It was great to hear that.

I will be okay.

Get ready Banner Elk.  I’m on my way.