October 3, 1997 – Friday – 10:30 a.m.

Man, life is pretty cool.  Tuesday afternoon I hiked down to Elk River and laid out on the big rock where Charlie set up a cross.  I feel asleep and slept for an hour and a half.  It was so awesome.

Abigail and I have talked a little.  She apologized to me for acting so weird and taking things the wrong way.

Mason and Emily are doing wonderful in our scene.  I’m so proud of them.  I can’t wait for everyone to see it.  I’m even designing lights for it.

I was nominated for a scholarship today.  It’s based on my writing and it’s $2,500.  Way cool, huh?

I talked to Pastor Steve Wednesday night and asked him if he could send me that masks from the Mask Skit we used to do.  They arrived today.  It’s gonna be so awesome seeing this piece from my past performed again.

We had Bible study last night and Courtney came.  She was a pretty wild girl last year, but she said she got saved over the summer.  Then each of us wrote a little love letter to Jesus and Courtney’s was amazing.  She cried and couldn’t finish it, so I finished it for her.

Jesus can change everything.

We watched Liar, Liar after Bible study last night.  It was so good for all the guys and girls to hang out together.  We leave for Washington D.C. today to go to Stand In The Gap. It should be fun.

October is already here.  My application for Regent is nearly complete.  I will take the GRE next month.

Life is moving along and I can’t help but smile.

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September 29, 1997 – Monday – 1:30 p.m.

A lovely day.

Yesterday was rainy, but still wonderful.  I think I prefer rain over sunshine, especially in the mountains.

Jeni came over and we talked.  Dan and Allen were here and we began talking about relationships.  Then Jeni said to Dan, as though I wasn’t there, “I could never see myself dating Jacob again, mainly because his spiritual relationship with God is so much further along than mine.”

That statement surprised me greatly.  After Dan and Allen left, Jeni and I talked about it.  She said that Abigail and Tracey feel the same way; I somehow make them feel inferior.  “But I don’t do anything!” I told Jeni.  “I’m just me, I don’t think or even try to act like I’m better.  In fact, I’m the lowest of the low.”

She said that maybe it was just their own spiritual insecurity.  She said it was the hardest thing in the world for each of them since they all love me so much.

I didn’t understand.  They love me, but don’t want to pursue anything further with me because I make them feel less close to God?

Then Jeni confessed that over the summer when she stayed with me, she went into my room and read my journal.  She immediately started crying, fearing I would hate her.  She said she opened it up to May 7th, 1997, I believe.  And well, you should flip back and read it for this to make sense, but she said that reading that nearly killed her and she wished she had never read it.

I explained what that entry meant to me and I forgave her.

Then she told me that she told Abigail once, “No matter who Jacob marries, she will never be worthy enough.  He is wonderful.”

There it is.  Because I love God, girls are turned away.  I guess following Jesus does cost something.

But all that was yesterday and I woke up today with a smile on my face.

Speaking of girls, Sherlive is completely confused and foggy about life.  She is asking questions that shouldn’t be asked.  I used to think she had it all together, but she is in the ozone.  I spent three hours talking with her last night.  I asked her to lay her head in my lap so I could just pet her hair and pray for her.  She never seemed to relax.

Dan told me later on, “Jacob it’s going to be terrible next year.”

“Why?”

“Who’s going to be here to take care of us?”

September 14, 1997 – Sunday – 1:00 p.m.

A Sunday afternoon.  Amy Grant is playing on my new stereo.  It is a warm day.  God is at work as usual.  Eddie and Natalie, two Performing Arts students, whom I thought were beyond reach, are now coming to church on a regular basis.  Two new Freshmen named Justin and Sarah have started coming as well.

A girl accepted the Lord and was baptized this morning in the river behind the church.  I watched the baptism with little Hannah.  She’s the sweetest little friend.  Jessica stood nearby.  She stood beautifully in her hiking boots and autumn outfit, her dark hair swirling down her back like million roller coasters.  She stood just high enough to peer over the chicken-wire fence, which protected the children from falling down the bluff to the river below.  And Shawna was with us today.  She showed us pictures of her backyard in New Mexico.  Amazing!

I think things are getting back to normal for Abigail and I.  At least I hope so.

I went to visit Tracey the other night.  She was in her bathrobe getting ready for bed.  We talked a little and she said that she didn’t see me around as much any more.

“Well,” I said, “That’s why I came down to see you.”

So weird to see her in that room without Jeni.

I called Jeni on her 21st birthday.  She said is was great to hear my voice.  She told me that Tracey, Ann-Marie, and Abigail all thought Sherlive and I were dating.  I told her that I did want that at one time, but instead Sherlive is my dear friend, who really seems to understand the way I see the world, and that in and of itself is a treasure.

Emily and I haven’t written or communicated since that time we shared the same time and place under the boardwalk in May.

Marisa and I still write though.  We also email each other.  I wonder if email will take over and keep people from writing handwritten letters.  I hope not.  Emily’s letters wouldn’t have changed my life if they were just typed letters on a screen.  I saw love in her handwriting.  Marisa and I actually just got off the phone.  We laughed back and forth.  She is so funny.  She says she’s coming up in three weeks.  I told her so many little details about my life recently.  Things I haven’t even shared with the guys.  I do miss her so much.  It’s so weird how this rebellious little 15-year-old brat turned out to be the sweetest girl in the world to me.  I told her when she arrived that I would hug her and never let go.

She screamed “Yes!”

A bunch of performing arts students are saying that Lindy and I would make a cute couple, but I’m actually starting to wonder if Lees-McRae holds the one for me.  It feels as though Lees-McRae is simply preparing me for the one God has for me.  But, to be fair, I guess everything that happens in my life from this point on will have happened because of Lees-McRae.

I miss Jonathan.  I miss Marcus, Danny, and Peter.  I miss Ryan, Amy, Christi, Cheryl, Jenna, and Tenielle.  I miss Veronica, her family and all the families from Sanford.  I miss my family, Nate, Mom, Henry, and Kevin.  I miss Alison’s smiles and Renee’s eyes.  I miss Mike’s laughter and Wynne, Grant, and Mark.  I miss Tim.  I miss Syndi.  I miss Pastor Steve and Shurby and Jason.  I miss my old room on the 2nd floor of McAlister.  I miss the railroad tracks.  I miss Tony and Lisa, Dana and Bradley, Lisa and Kenny.  I miss Kristin and Fishnet and Deep Creek.  I miss the shoes I can no longer wear, the pants I’ve grown out of, and the trees that have fallen down.  I miss Andrea.  I miss West Germany.  I miss that hospital in Columbus, Ohio.  I miss the comfort of my mother’s womb.

I miss touching Abigail’s face.  I miss Jeni’s lips.  I miss the stars above Tracey’s house.  I miss Ann-Marie’s laugh.  I miss Ben’s grin.  I miss Vince’s Jim Carrey quotes.  I miss Curtis singing country songs in his car.  I miss Allen’s farts.  I miss Sharon driving “our” truck.  I miss Jessica hiking beside me in the woods.  I miss Charlie and Kate together.

I miss Lees-McRae College.

I even miss Regent University and it is in the future.

I miss my wife.

I miss my children.

I miss my dead parents, now in heaven.

I miss earth.  I miss life.

But I’m here now and I’m thankful.

This side of heaven is simply me missing everything that I won’t have time to miss, when I’m face to face with Jesus.

August 28, 1997 – Thursday – 11:50 a.m.

Three full years now.

There is a lump in my throat.  I lay in my bed in a somewhat emotional state, I’ll admit, but everything I’m thinking feels painfully true.

I’m getting older.  I’m losing my hair.  I’m dying.  My mother will soon be a child and I will be her father to take care of her.  My youth seems to be escaping me.

Although I hate it, I’ll probably have to play the dating game soon.  Hmmm.

Am I still young?  What about those days from so long ago?  Those days of innocence with Jenna and Tenielle?  All my life, I’ve always wanted to be different.  People color their hair, pierce their bodies, but I was going to remain different by staying the same.  But I have changed.  I am changing.  Changing like the rest of the generation and the world.  I wish I could escape somehow and not be a part of this.  That way I would be completely different.

But instead my sin has also killed Christ and he died for me as well as all the others.  I am no different.  I am a sinner.  I did nothing for my salvation.  I simply accepted His Grace.  So I will continue to live and go through this life in the footsteps of my forefathers.  I will simply try to share God’s love in all I do and everywhere I go.

My emotions will tickle me.  I will laugh, cry, and simply live this roller coaster with a smile on my face and a tear in my eye.  This mask will leave me and I will be free.  My freedom comes now in simply knowing that I will be soon.  Loving and praising God is all that matters and all that will last.  That is the key.  That is the absolute.  That is the truth.

My children will begin to leave me on the day they are born.  And I will love people by letting them go.

And I will even let myself go.

August 16 – 1997 – Saturday – 1:27 a.m.

The RD staff plus Allen and Vince went to Carowinds today.  I had fun.  It was great to be outside all day.  When I got home there was a letter under my door from Maresa.  It just said that she wanted me to call her when I got back cause she wanted to talk with me and pray with me about something.  I called her and she came over.  We laid in my bed and talked about God for a long time.  And tonight, or this morning rather, she rededicated her life back to God and eagerly asked many questions about heaven and Jesus.  We had a great talk.  I praise God for that beautiful 15-year-old red-head!  She made this summer twice as fun.

Wednesday night after church, Allen, Vince and I had our small group and prayed.  We talked about the Holy Spirit and Allen said he wanted to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  I prayed for him briefly.  Then he started praying in the spirit.  He fell to the ground, cried, then jumped around and everything.

God is amazing.

It’s great to be alive.

August 7, 1997 – Thursday – 8:30 a.m.

Good morning.

Charlie, Dan, and Allen made large cross that stands on a rock down Elk River.  We went there Tuesday night, sang praises, and prayed to God.

I talked to Allen about the Jeanine thing.  He has tried to bury every sexual desire he’s ever had.  He won’t even look at girls.  He should just let go, and praise God that he is a sexual being with a healthy sex drive.  It’s how God made us.  Instead these buried desires erupt in unhealthy ways.  He admits that he just gets stupid when he is around her.

It got my haircut yesterday morning.  I like it.  I went to a new place in Newland and they gave me a head massage as well.  It was awesome.

Church was fun last night, but I got a little sick during worship.  Sherlive showed up a little late, it was so good to see her.  We talked after church.  I got a smiley face pencil while at Chrysalis and she often wears a smiley face necklace.  I gave her the pencil and she had the coolest smile on her face.  She really seemed to like it.  She said it was spiffy.  We played the piano together and talked some about music.  I asked her if she would like to see Children of Eden with me on Friday.  Hopefully she can.  She has to talk to her parents about it.  I told her I would call her on Friday.  We said our goodbyes and she hoped to got to feeling better.

I did.

Then that night, Dan and I put on some Jewel and talked deeply about life and God.  How long was God there before he created us?  Who made God?  Why is all of this what it is?

We talked of everything…of forbidden fruit, fallen angels, the Ten Commandments, a son who died for our sins, Saul turning to Paul, my love for stories, and how God is an amazing story teller, who includes all of us in the perfect plot of redemption and salvation.

It’s so great having Dan stay with me this month.  He’s the truest of friends.

 

August 3, 1997 – Sunday – 11:30 p.m.

I sit in Rachel’s house in Sterling, VA.  Chrysalis is over.

P.C. was my roommate for the weekend and he kinda reminded me of Vince.  A wonderful person with a wonderful life ahead of him.  He has a problem with his left arm.  A part of his upper bone is hollow and he has gone through several surgeries to fix it and has a huge scar because of it.  They’ve had to take bone out of his leg to try and fix it and because of this he can’t join the Navy like he’s always wanted to.  This was a hard time for him in his life, but he met a girl on the Internet named Lisa.  They began to email each other.  Then they wrote to each other.  Then they called each other.  And then they visited each other.  She’s in Iowa and he’s in Virginia.  They are now boyfriend and girlfriend and they will start school together out in Boulder, Colorado.  They’ll be freshman together.  After he showed me her picture, I was amazed.  She was so beautiful.  I didn’t know girls that pretty talked on computers.

Sean, always seated in a wheelchair, was never seen without a smile on his face.  Kay is soon to donate a kidney to her brother.  Colleen, a beautiful 25-year-old, who lost her little brother to a rare disease when she was 15.  Then she bore her own son as teenager, but then the father left them both.  She said the death of her brother tore her from God, but the eyes of her baby brought her back to him.

After hearing her talk of her brother, I wrote her a poem:

I said hello

I say goodbye

I saw you live

And now you die

But death is life

And life is love

Love is God

Eternal from above

So I’ll see you soon

There’s no need to cry

I too am changing

And to you I’ll fly

I found out later that the poem made her cry.  When I said goodbye to her today, she hugged me so tight.  Her lips said nothing, but her eyes shouted a desperate “thank you.”

And there was Vanny, who tried to commit suicide twice before, but now only smiles as bright as the sun.

And that was just a few.  There were so many stories full of death and tragedy.  But I don’t have those stories.  My tragedies are Bs on papers and mixed emotions.  I still have my family, my virginity, my sanity, my life, my legs, my health.

But there is one tragic story in my life.  I discovered this weekend that I am capable of so much more love.  I’ve been keeping it inside and only sharing it with a select few.  Now it’s time to give it to the world.

I spoke up at the gathering and told the group that each one of them was beautiful and I thanked God for allowing me to add their eyes and names to my collection.  Some came to me and said I seemed very Christlike.  They said they saw Jesus in me.  If so, then perhaps I am beginning to live a Christian life.

Rachel told me that others told her I seemed very creative.  People are so good to me.  God is so good to me.  So, here I am God.  I’m ready.  I don’t know everything, but I know you.

Here I am.

I’ve shown up.