March 11, 1998 – Wednesday – 4:00 p.m.

Let me catch you up.

My one act went wonderfully.  Everyone enjoyed it.  Mason even let me shave his head so he’d look more like an old bald guy.

Yesterday at 3:00 p.m. Vince, Ellen, Becca, Ashley, and myself left for Knoxville to go to a Jars of Clay concert.  We drove three hours only to find out they had rescheduled it for April 2nd.  So, we just went to a movie and hung out at her house.  It was a nice little break.  We got back to campus at 11:00 a.m. this morning.  We weren’t even gone 24 hours, but all of us laughed up a storm.  It was a really funny night.

The Highlanders are leaving at 7:30 tomorrow morning.  I won’t see Sarah for about a week and a half.  We’re doing pretty good.  We will not continue our relationship after I graduate…of that I am sure.  It won’t end, it will just change form.

Things are moving very quickly here in the last days.  I’m not afraid, but excited!

I re-read Sarah’s letter I put in my journal on January 12, 1998.  When everything has changed, that letter is the way I’ll remember our relationship.  It has been and will continue to be…a very good thing.

January 12, 1998 – Monday – 1:00 p.m.

It has begun.  My final semester.  All of my close friends are back now, except for Curtis, Abigail, and Ann-Marie.

Charlie and Kate and I went to see Good Will Hunting.  It was amazing, but man I think it had more bad language than any movie I’d ever seen.  Yuck!

Church was nice on Sunday.  Crystal has decided to not go back to school in Asheville.  She is going to stay home and work.

Saturday night I called Sarah from Dan’s room and we had a nice conversation.  We just caught each other up on our week and all that has happened.

During a meeting on Sunday night, I met all the new freshmen for the semester.  Sarah came in around that time and it was so good to see her.  She gave me a letter, a beautiful, beautiful letter.

I think perhaps you, the reader, should read it:

Dear Jacob,

Hi. I want to share some things with you. Let’s start with the fact that I am really really happy right now. You know how different times in life have different feelings? Well, for now, I am happy and I feel like I am waiting. God has brought me here, but am I making a difference while I wait? I’m just trying to live from the Him that I feel burning inside me.

I’ve never been good at getting my feelings across in words or on paper; if I could I suppose I’d be striving to be a lawyer or an author, but God wants me to do something. I know this because he saved me so many times; in this we are alike. You feel your wings itch inside and I feel something as well.  I want to rejoice in my life and how it leads me to live. I can see your wings Jacob, I know it’s true! I think I have chosen the wolf as my animal because they see and hear everything. This is the gift that God has given me that both delights and scares me. I see and know things that others can’t and what many overlook. These are pretty deep thoughts, thoughts that I share with no one because I’m afraid they won’t get it.

I am a sinner. We all sin, that is the part of our legacy as humans. I wish it weren’t so, but even the best of us do.  Most of the time we do it without even thinking about it.  I know that some of the things I do are not what you would call good, but they are part of who I am, a part of my past, a part of my life. I dedicated my life to God long ago and I gave him all of me, even my weakness, along with my joy, fears, love, pain, and stress. My life is his. I learn everyday. I’m trying.

Part of what I’m trying to explain is that… well, I love you and I don’t want to scare you away from me. For the next few months I need to soak as much of you up as I can, so that no matter what happens you will make me a better person just by being you. You understand don’t you? I love you. As I said, I wasn’t planning on falling in love with you, but this unexpected love for you excites and scares me. Except for my family and the few friends I have at home, all of my other relationships with people seem to turn sour. Please don’t let me scare you away. I don’t know what will happen, but I do know that we must learn from each other. I have found true love in your heart. Unfurl your wings and fly away.  

I love you.

Forever.

Sarah

It’s hard to know what to write after reading that.  But God is doing something.  After reading her letter, everything around me became more beautiful.  As I walked across campus today and had great moments with Vince, Justin, Josh, Sherlive, everyone; I realized that all of us were on the Titanic, Sarah too.  There is an iceberg ahead and it’s sole purpose is to separate us from each other.

But although the thought made me want to cry, I became full of so much joy because I know God has given me Sarah for this short while to help bring me beyond the iceberg.

I can survive this storm if she is with me.  I told her as much when we had a few moments alone last night.

After saying goodnight, I went to see Vince.  He read to me a long poetic story he wrote after he saw Titanic.  It dealt with Laura.  Man, one movie is ripping all of us open.  He saw it over Christmas with his family and he said he couldn’t believe how his mom and stepfather reacted; they only talked about the special effects! But Vince said he was dying inside and wished I was there so he wouldn’t feel so alone.  He didn’t want to be alone last night, so he came over and slept on the floor here in my apartment.  He got up in the middle of the night and threw up in my bathroom.  He said it was over Laura.

It’s good to have Vince here to talk to.

This morning we went down to the Jehovah Petra, the cross we built on a huge bolder in the middle of the river, but the storm and flooding that happened over the break must have washed it away.  Our place to pray and worship was no where to be found.

Oh, these days; my mind seems to be overflowing.  Of all those things, number one is my Lord, number two is Sarah, number three are these wonderful friends.

It’s so hard to see Sarah when other people are around. I want so badly just to hold her and talk with her about things I barely tell myself.  It’s difficult to see her everyday because I love her so much.  I don’t know how to be a couple with her, I just know how to love her and give her my all.

Every day is an amazing new day.  Every new day is the best day ever.  Are these the best days of my life?  Am I living them now?  God is so true and alive and real.

I love others.

And that is the greatest of all gifts.

November 24, 1997 – Monday – 3:30 p.m.

“Masks” was wonderful at church on Sunday.  It changed people.  The Misanthrope ended yesterday as well.  Whenever someone asks me if I’m glad it’s over, I simply say, “I’m glad I did it.”

After my final performance I was given a card, a card from the beautiful girl who blessed me.  She came over last night.  We watched Braveheart and held hands.  She is so good to me.

We smiled at each other in the cafeteria today.

My fingers miss her skin.

I see her eyes everywhere I go.

I’m losing sleep over her.

If this is from you God, thank you.

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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.

June 9, 1995 – Friday – 10:00 p.m.

Last night Jonathan and I went to Fayetteville.  He got his nose pierced.  It thrilled me to watch someone experience something I will never do.  I just observed, so thankful to not need anything like that to bring me a sense of identity.  While waiting, a friend of Jonathan’s named Tammy walked in.  They knew each other from Pembroke.  They ran to each other and hugged each other.  She is around 24 and seems fun.

Jonathan shaved Kevin’s head.  He has no hair.  In a way it’s ugly and in a way it’s cool.  I got a good laugh.

Work was very hard today.  Ruth is getting on my nerves.  She threw her keys at me today.  I was angry, but I tried not to show it.

However, when I came home, joy was found in my mailbox.  I received my ticket for The Secret Garden on August 14th, the day I head back home, and a beautiful letter from Emily.  I’ll write it in my journal:

“Jacob,

Well, I am sitting in the middle of Hurricane Allison.  It is a rather exciting experience.  It is common here.  Everyone is taping up windows and gassing up their cars.  You should have seen the sky.  It was pink everywhere, with a sort of orange tint.  The moon was a giant crescent.  It was amazing!  I could see both the sun and the moon at 7 o’clock.  Now it is almost midnight and the air is dead.  I’m sitting outside waiting for the rain to come.  I love rain…it makes everything clean and soft and smooth.  The smell is wild!!  It’s almost like the ocean missed with blood.  Death is in the forecast.  It’s really eerie, but much to my amusement.

School was over May 26.  I’ve been silently going crazy with boredom.  I’m going to Michigan on June 12 and will return June 22.  I really need this vacation.  My sister is getting married July 8.  I’m throwing her a bachelorette party.  The rest of July, all I’m doing is volleyball and lifeguard school.  August is open except for volleyball.  I will be home, but I have practice everyday besides Saturday and Sunday.  If you can come I would be more than happy to make sure you have the best time of your life.  You will probably only want to come for four or five days.  There’s not much to do here and I will be at practice six hours a day.  There is stuff for you to do while I’m at practice though and I have plenty of friends who would be more than willing to entertain you.  I would really love for you to come.

I’m very pleased to hear about Jonathan.  He sounds like a fantastic guy.  I want to meet him some day.  I hope everything at home and work is going well for you.  I pray that you are the happiest person in the world!

I have been doing absolutely wonderful.  My mom and I are great.  My sisters treat me like a normal person again, and my dad is so fun.  My friends are really great, too.  My eyes have been shining so bright lately.  I smile all the time.  I am so happy.  I know who I am, what I want, and how to get it.  It feels good to feel good.  I had a problem caring for a while, but I recognized my problem and now I’m Emily!  Thank God that trial is over.

Don’t you love to smile?  It can change everything between two people.  When you see a stranger and smile they have a better day than if you would have frowned.  Just a simple smile can warm the cruelest of hearts.  It can do so much.  A teacher told me how much my smile made him feel so much better every day, because I was never sad.  He admired my smile often.  He was a good man.  Anyone who flatters me is good!  Ha ha!

Jacob, I love you!  I’m so happy I can just write anything and you will know its who I am and take it for what it is and not try to analyze it to death.  I hate people who over-analyze things and have totally opinionated conversations.  You’ve never been like that.  Thank you so much.  Here comes the rain!!  I have to go dance in it…

Don’t forget to dream of me!

I love you!

Your Angel, xxoo”

I smiled.

Emily?

What will become of you and I?

Some nights when Jonathan is out and Mike is working, I think of who I can call, but I have hardly no other friends I can turn to.

This Sunday marks the 13th anniversary of when E.T. opened in theaters on June 11, 1982.  Spielberg wanted a friend, someone to talk to.  That is why he made E.T.  He made it for himself.  E.T. came to this world by accident and he was eager to leave.  I wonder if after he went back to his home, his planet, if he realized that Earth was the better place to be.

I need my E.T.

I need my friend.

They call me E.T. at work because of my long neck.  Perhaps I need my Elliot, a friend to help me along on this strange planet.  I have one, his name is Jesus.  I love him.

How lovely that Emily’s initials are E.T.  She doesn’t even have a middle name.  We are both aliens.  She is my other red light in outer space.

This E.T. needs to go home.  Siler City has nothing.  Banner Elk has everything.

But before I can return to Banner Elk, it is my turn to see Emily smile.  That is my goal, then I’m confident the rest of my life can continue.

November 26, 1993 – Friday – 9:55 p.m.

I worked tonight, but earlier Kenny came over and we went out to eat and went for a ride.

He lives by himself.  He says he wants to live with a family.  I told him that one thing he wants is the one thing I can’t wait to get away from.

After work Mom said I could go down and see Tammy since she’s back from the rehab place and visiting with Veronica’s family.  But the car messed up so I couldn’t go.  I don’t know what’s wrong with it.

Instead, I simply called Tammy.  She was upset that I couldn’t come.  In her letters she told me that she used to have a crush on me.  So I told her that I used to like her too.

I told her about Rebecca, the Swedish girl I used to like, but don’t anymore because she’s too hard to talk to.  I couldn’t ever be myself talking to her.  I was too uncomfortable.

Tammy says that she feels the same way about Tim.

I’m still going to write her, but I wish I could have seen her.

She says there is so much stuff she wants to tell me.

I’ve taped a prayer list to my little table next to my bed.  I pray for everything on there every day.

Tammy has been added to the list.