August 17, 1997 – Sunday – 2:00 p.m.

I have turned 21-years-old.  For me, the summer ends today.  RD training is over.  RA training is beginning.  I have moved to the McAlister RD apartment.  I have unpacked.  All I need to do now is decorate my walls.

Over the past week, I have had three different letters written to me from three different girls:

“Jacob, I just wanted to thank you for being my friend and welcoming me so kindly.  Without you I would have spent these past three weeks all alone in my room.  You are a very sweet guy and I’m going to miss you.  I wish I could stay longer.  Time sure does fly!  I wish this summer didn’t have to end, but I guess all good things have to end eventually.  I will always remember these three weeks as the highlight of my summer.  Thank you for giving me a chance to become your friend.  You will never be forgotten!  Love, Jeanine”

“Hey Jacob, that’s really cool about your deer encounter.  I want to go up there and meet it.  Yes, I’m going to accept the RA job.  I’m already thinking about what programs I want to do.  Did I tell you about my wedding?  No, it’s not anytime soon, I don’t have a guy, I just decided where I want it to be.  Cannonball Mesa!  It’s this cool place out in the middle of nowhere.  I rode out on my bike to the end of the mesa and looked out at the landscape.  The wind was blowing.  I’m going to get married there when the sun rises to symbolize new beginnings and it will be beautiful.  Guess what??  I was thinking today and I decided to rewrite my rules of dating.  I decided it was unrealistic to say that I would only date a guy I would marry because I don’t know what kind of guy I want to marry.  Also, I’ve only been involved with two guys in my life and neither of them had any kind of respect for me.  I don’t even know what a good relationship is.  Love, Jessica”

“Jacob, let me start by saying I love you and end it with thanking you for helping me find my missing part and as we speak it’s being filled with God’s love.  I am so thankful for your awesome friendship and how much you have helped me realize that God is a major part of my life and he will help me through everything!  If it wasn’t for your love and willingness to help, I would never have been so close to the Lord and Jesus.  Thank you so much!  I love you with all my heart and really appreciate everything that you have helped me with this summer.  Thanks for everything.  This has been the best summer of my life and it wouldn’t be complete without you and the wonderful Lord.  Jacob, I feel so much better now that I’ve found him.  I am almost going to cry because I feel so free, just like you and your eagles.  I’m going to miss you so much.  Please write me all the time and send me e-mail too.  I know I will write you all the time!  When the summer comes again, I hope you will be here and definitely Thanksgiving because I’m coming up then.  I can’t wait to see you if you’ll be up here.  If I don’t get to see you over the summer, please keep writing and give me your address to where you are and I will always write to you…my future husband!  Thanks for our perfect friendship!  Please keep in touch.  Happy 21st birthday!  Love, Marisa.”

Jeanine has gone back to Concord.

Jessica will be here a week from Tuesday.

Marisa left for Florida today.

Take care of them Lord.

July 26, 1997 – Saturday – 10:00 a.m.

Today is Rebecca St. James’ birthday.  She is 20-years-old.

Orientation is not quite over.  How exciting this age is.  How exciting these days are.  To join together with four hundred people your own age, and to live in such a small, personal space with those individuals and their eyes who are striving and longing for that same goal.

My Lees-McRae College story has only one year left.  I can only tell my story as I experienced it.  I can tell no one else’s.  And after this year, that story will be complete; well, at least the story of my official time as a student will be complete.  Then, I will begin a new story in a new place and there I will join with other eyes who are seeking the same goal.

And after that, I do not believe this type of life will ever happen again.  Well, maybe in an old folks home.  Wouldn’t it be great if Dan, Allen, Vince, and Curtis and I all ended up in the same old folks home several decades from now!

But as for today, I feel as though Lees-McRae is mine.  I feel as though Banner Elk is mine.    I feel is it my job to love and care for the people here.

Jeanine went home for the weekend, so Kristina, the little 11-year-old girl Jeanine is here to look after, was alone.  After Forever Plaid last night, which I watched with Sherlive, Kristina, plus tons of other people like Marisa, her brother Mason, Ann-Marie, Tracey, etc., all just played around in the lobby.  Around one o’clock in the morning, everyone left except for Kristina.  I don’t think she wanted to be alone.  So, I told her I’d stay with her.  I slept in her room on Jeanine’s bed.  We fell asleep while watching The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

I awoke this morning to see Kristina sound asleep.  Another set of eyes.  Another name.  Another soul.  Just a little girl, like Veronica, like Jenna, like Tenielle, and like Hannah.  Perhaps God has brought so many young girls into my life to teach me that every woman I will ever meet…well, part of her will always be that little girl; that little girl that just wants to be loved and protected and reminded that she isn’t alone.

 

 

 

July 25, 1997 – Friday – 1:00 p.m.

Another student orientation is today.  So many wonderful new freshmen.  So many eyes.  So many smiles.  So many stories.  So many girls.

And I have only one year with them.  Not even that really.  Really only nine months.

I will leave and they will enjoy life on my playground.

They will know my name and my face, for I will walk through their hallways of homes as I make my RD rounds.  Oh how I long to make each one happy, to make sure each one knows Christ as his or her savior and friend.  I want to tell each nervous parent that I will take care of their son or daughter.  I want to love each and every one of them.

Last night Jeanine and I went for a walk through the cool mountain night.  We get along well.

Dan has gone away for the weekend.  Not to my surprise, Vince and Laura have gotten back together.  My mom and Nate may come up on Sunday.

A month from today, all of these new stories and eyes will be here at the same time.

This should be a fun year; ’97-’98.  My senior year in college.

I’m nearly 21 years old.

Where suddenly have I gone?

July 23, 1997 – Wednesday – 11:40 a.m.

Jeanine, a girl down the hall, came and watched Wayne’s World with Dan and Allen and I last night.  She has just graduated from high school and is here to be summer nanny to a younger girl in the show.  She really has nothing to do.  I invited her to church tonight.  Hopefully she’ll come.

Marisa came and talked to me late last night.  We talked about Christianity.  She seem to listen more to me this time.  I pray that God finds a home in her heart.

A week from tomorrow I’ll be leaving for Chrysalis in Virginia.  I don’t know how I’m getting there though.  God will take care of it, I’m sure.

I love you Lord!

June 30, 1997 – Monday – 12:20 p.m.

The last day of June!

1997 will be half over in 12 hours.

I went running this morning.  Some days are great and I know everything.  Others are confusing and I know nothing.  Some days I live in the spirit.  Other days I live in the flesh.  But I will be free.  I am already.

Allen turned 21 yesterday.  I never see Vince anymore.  He is always with that girl who thinks she is so holy she won’t allow people to pass gas around her.  It’s nice knowing no girl will ever take Jesus away from me.

I just wish there was a girl here I could really talk to; a girl who would just relax.  If one ever does come, I will not throw my guy friends to the side.  A month and a half until I’m 21.  I’m growing older.  I don’t mind, I just pray I never lose the child inside me.

Oh God…take me home!

June 25, 1997 – Wednesday – 11:00 p.m.

I rode to church with Vince and Laura tonight, but we stopped to get some Chinese food beforehand.  It did not sit well with my stomach and I had bad gas throughout the whole service.  I did my best to control it, but when we all got back in Vince’s car I let loose a “Silent but deadly.”  Allen, being Allen, immediately smelled it and decided to announce it to the whole world.  Laura instantly shouted, “Guys, I will have Vince stop this car and I’ll walk back to church and call my mom and have her take me home.  If you want to do that while you’re by yourselves, that’s fine, but you should never do that in the presence of a lady!  It’s rude and I won’t put up with it!!”

Wow.  I felt embarrassed for her.  Is she so uptight that she can’t handle a little toot; an act of nature?

I was thankful that I wasn’t like that and I was so thankful that Laura wasn’t my girl.

June 14, 1997 – Saturday – 1:00 a.m.

Orientation was today.  I met some soon to be new students; two beautiful tennis players from Texas named Monica and Amber.  I will drive them to the airport tomorrow.  I also met a new Performing Arts major named Sarah.

I spent some time with Kim, she’s part of the orientation committee.  We talked and laughed a lot together.  She complemented me on my hair.  And I worked with Lindy in the box office.  We have such a good time, just hours of laughter.  I later watched the NBA championship with Samarah, played with Mangus, Allison and Craig’s cat, and visited with Tracey, Jeni, and Ann-Marie.

And now I’m in my bed in the middle of the night.  I just mentioned nine different girls.  I wonder if any of them are Her?  Right now the closest thing feels to be the Durango postcard on my wall.  There’s a foot and four inches between us, but we often seem to be on the same level.  I went and took a picture of her favorite tree the other day.

I like it when I miss people.  Reminds me that they really do matter.  You can’t miss someone unless you first genuinely share your life with them.