March 21, 1995 – Tuesday – 6:50 p.m.

Jonathan sent me more emails today.  I also talked to a guy named Curt.  This is the deal…Jonathan is going to spend the summer with me.  We’re going to rent out a room in a house that Curt is staying at for $150/month a piece.  All of this was good news to Jonathan.  He has no where else to go.

Sharon called me today, saying that she needed my help for drama productions for Vacation Bible School  That was great news to me.  But then after a while I got a weird feeling and grew very worried.  It’s like I’m going to have to share every wonderful thing up here with Jonathan.  There will be a lot of girls at Heaton who will like him; I can already see it.  But he will be happier.  He needs me.

This summer will be wonderful.

I am leading the devotion for FCA tomorrow.  I’m going to spend some God now and then I’m going to study a little.

I’m going to pray for Emily, Jonathan, Jenna, Tenielle, Christi, and everyone.

I can’t wait until I get another letter from Emily.

March 20, 1995 – Monday – 8:15 p.m.

I got an email from Jonathan today.

This is part of it:

Someone has uncreated my world, and I am at the center waiting for whatever it is to uncreate me.  I feel so lost and hopeless.  I didn’t get the 2.0 I needed for school…all because my teacher was slow in grading our midterm papers.  My car is broken and impounded…I need $85 for a ticket due on the 15th of April…I gave up Mandy for what I thought was love only to now have lost what I thought was love.  For all I know, Monday when I go to class they could already have dropped me and are kicking me out of school.  Jacob, even right now I don’t care about what I am going to do with my life.  I don’t care about any of it.  I just want out of this life I am living.  I am tired of all the troubles and problems and pains that come with it.  I am though with it…if someone else wants it they can have it.

At the end of the letter he did not sign his name.  I guess he felt there was no need.

How will Jonathan’s story end?

How will I let it end?

January 26, 1995 – Thursday – 1:30 p.m.

I’m in the college post office at this time.

Jeni and I spent some nice quality time together last night.  She has been homesick ever since we got here.  She loves her mommy.  For a while, I thought I was the one bringing her down, but it turns out she just wants her mom.

Everything else is okay.  Jonathan and I still email.  He’s okay.  He wrote me today and told me that I was the most special person to him on this planet.

Tonight, our World Civilization class is watching Black Robe.  I don’t know what it is about, but we get extra credit if we watch it.

A few nights ago, I figured out how three-way-calling works and Brandon and Jeni and I talked at once.  It was cool.

All is well.

November 8, 1994 – Tuesday – 12:05 p.m.

Last night Tracey’s ex-boyfriend Ted visited.  He goes to school at Appalachian State University.  That’s only about 30 minutes away.  Dana, from the High Falls youth group goes there as well.

In three days I will be heading back home.  I have not been home for two and a half months.

I got a few email messages from Jonathan.  He was seeing this girl, but then broke up with her after two weeks.  He is coming back home this weekend as well.  Scott is going to come back up there with me to Lees-McRae, just to spend some time with me.  He will probably go back around Wednesday.  Kevin is excited because Tracey is coming as well.  They have been writing each other.  She has shown interest in him.

This weekend will be a great one.

And Monday marks the second anniversary of when I started this journal.  My Book of Days is two-years-old.

April 28, 1994 – Thursday – 4:45 p.m.

The Carman concert was great.  I was too young to be an usher so Wayne and I got seats on the second row.  It was amazing!  Jonathan and Marcus came in later and sat with us.  Some people from the church were there too.  And shockingly, we ran into Christi and Amy, they were with two other friends.

They didn’t sit with us.

When Christi was at church, I could always hear her sing.  Tuesday night, Carman had all the girls sing one part of a song.  Christi’s voice was there, but it didn’t stand out.  She blent in with the thousands of other girls I didn’t know.

Wednesday night was cool.  I sat next to Jenna and put ink marks all over her leg.  She was wearing shorts.

She got me back.

They are going to Carowinds on Saturday.

I don’t know if Kevin is or not.

It’s going to be so much fun.

Petra and Cindy Morgan!  Can you believe it!

I’ve been lifting weights.  I’m tired.

Marcus says that Saturday he is going to find a whole other crowd to hang with.  I know what he means, but I have a whole new world coming in four months, so I will take the time I have with this crowd.  Christian Music Day at Carowinds is just one big youth fest.  So many churches, so many youth groups, so many beautiful girls who love the Lord.  

Perhaps I’ll meet one of them.

April 21, 1994 – Thursday – 4:40 p.m.

I just got off the phone with Kevin.

He asked me if I had talked to Tenielle.  They write each other now.  And they both like each other.

Again I remind you.

Kevin is 19.

Tenielle is 12.

I don’t know what it is with young girls and us guys (Kevin and I).  But I’m done with it.

He wanted to know if I was mad at him.  I’m not.

He said that he told Jenna and Tenielle that in the past I would always become friends with someone and then they would become friends with Kevin and spend more time with him.  That happened with Marcus and Jonathan, but I still remained their friends as well.

Kevin told me that when I said that “I’ll be better in a couple of months,” it really hurt Jenna and Tenielle.  They took it the way I meant it, but I don’t feel that way now.

I was just mad then.

All these voices!

Tenielle didn’t give me her letter last night since she wasn’t there.  Cheryl asked Marcus and I to go to the lake with them this Friday, but I doubt I will.

I’m going to the Carman concert with Tim this Tuesday.  The youth group is going too, but Tim and I are helping back stage.

That means more voices!

No man is isolated.  

He is a part of humanity.

I am not an exception.

Bummer.

April 10, 1994 – Sunday – 7:30 p.m.

Henry made pancakes before church and Jonathan drove us all in. I brought my camera with me this morning. Marcus and I sang in Praise and Worship then went straight back into Faith Street to get into our mime character makeup.

Faith Street went great. I like it a lot better than the old way of Children’s Church. I kept my makeup on afterwards during the Steer Wrestlin’ and stayed in character. Tenielle said I had too much pride and ego for doing so.

I hope this is just her time of the month and that she is not really mad at me for such a stupid reason.

I broke character later and started talking again. All the kids kept saying, “I thought you couldn’t talk.”

Veronica and Sherry were there this morning. It was great to see them coming back.

In Faith Street, there was this new girl. Today was her first time. After the service, she and her little brother couldn’t find their mother. I helped them. She held onto my shirt while we walked around looking for her. We found her later on. This girl is 12. I only know that because in Faith Street we played a game based on ages. She actually too old for Faith Street, but she didn’t know that.

I ate up at Jonathan’s car with him. Jenna walked by and I asked about the letter and the story. She said she liked it. Then she smiled real big and stared at me. I didn’t look away, I just returned the stare, deep into her eyes. And she did what she does so well. She told me something with her eyes. She’s knows there more to that story than just a bird and a human boy.

After that I walked to get some more dessert and the 12-year-old girl came up to me and gave me a cookie. I thought nothing of it and walked on. Sherry pulled me over and said that a girl named Dusty liked me. I don’t even know a Dusty, so I figured she meant Misty, which everyone knows likes me.

I walked into the church, got my dessert and went outside and sat next to Tenielle. She didn’t say much. I had an extra cupcake and I offered it to her. She said, “No, you got it, so you have to eat it.”

I shrugged and then put it close to my mouth, but then she just took the whole thing and stuffed it in my face. It stuck to all my white mime makeup. She laughed. I was kind of mad, but it was good to see her laugh. I washed it off and got another cupcake to return the favor. She saw me and then came up to me and grabbed my arms. She was smiling, saying, “Oh, no you don’t!”

She gave me a hug and walked off. That was the last I saw of her. I didn’t see her talk to Kevin any today, but Kevin was talking to Amanda all day.

Then the 12-year-old came up to me and said, “Did you have cupcake on your face?” I said, “yes,” and then she wanted to know who did it. Tenielle wasn’t around to point out. Then this little girl asked my name. I told her. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks.

“What’s your name?” I asked.

“Dusty.”

Yep, I was right.

Then another girl showed up and tried to get us together. What the heck? I gave her the whole, “I’m going off to college, let’s just be friends” speech. We talked a little more.

She cute, but she told Shurby’s daughter that I asked her for her phone number. She lied. Then another girl came up and put a napkin in my pocket. Her phone number was on the napkin.

I was going to take some pictures and I gave her the attention she wanted by asking her to be in the group photo. She said goodbye to me and I said goodbye to her. I don’t like her, but perhaps I can show her that friendly love and save the world all over again.

That’s what I’m here for anyway, right?

I finished up the roll of film today. I’ll hopefully get them developed by the end of the week.

Henry and Mom took Kevin back to college and Cheryl came up to Marcus and Jonathan and I and said that she and Ryan were going to San Lee Park if we wanted to go. Ryan was actually just waiting in the car. She didn’t get out. It was weird.

So, we went and walked around and had a water fight.

Ryan is not as beautiful to me as she used to be. It’s almost like what made her beautiful was to watch her express her faith in church, but now that I don’t see that anymore, there is nothing there that I’m attracted to. I don’t notice her eyes anymore. They don’t even look like that magical green that used to entrance me.

While we were at the park, Joel drove up and we talked some. They were going out on the paddleboats.

Joel is really nice and serious, he doesn’t joke around. I like that. I’m sick of all the child’s play. I’m really ready to grow up and get serious.

Cheryl and Ryan went home and so did we. I took a shower when I came home and began writing.

So there it is.

The weekend was different.

I hope Tenielle is okay.

So here I am. I must leave them where they are. I must let them grow.

I can’t stay here much longer.

I’m not supposed to.

I’m letting go of things whether I want to or not.

You saw what happened this weekend.

Christi, Ryan, Tenielle, Jenna, they are all birds just passing by. And they will. They will pass by.

Ryan turned from the sun to a bird way off in the distance. So far away, I can’t see her.

Christi? It was nice to hear you laugh during the movie.

Jenna, the meaning of that story is the plot that has come and gone between us.

Tenielle, hopefully this will just happen every 28 days. There aren’t that many of those until the middle of August.

I can’t go on like this.

This is not what I want.

I want romance, not puppy love.

I want commitment and understanding and conversation and maturity. These things can’t be found here. I’ll drink that glass of milk somewhere else.

Where? I don’t know.

It will be somewhere though. Perhaps it will be when I start all over. When I start all over in a place with new street names and different parks. A place with different people. New people.

A place soon to be my home.

A place to begin my journey towards where I must go.

A place where I can save the world.

A land hopefully flowing with milk.

Lees-McRae.

April 10, 1994 – Sunday – 7:20 a.m.

I got up pretty early Saturday morning.  Marcus and I made it on time to Band Practice.  We practiced two new songs.  One of them I really like.   We had bus ministry afterwards.  It was mainly the youth group though who went out.  I wonder, do adults just leaving the spreading of the gospel up to teenagers?  Thankfully, most of the youth group showed up.

Kevin came back from college for the weekend and he went with us.  Just to remind you, my brother is 19 years old.  On the bus he sat with Tenielle and I sat in the seat in front of them, alone.  We were in the very back.

When we got to our destination we split up into groups and Tenielle was in my group, along with this guy named Joel.  He is Rebecca’s uncle.  He is 20 and he just got saved.  He is on fire for God and we have talked a little.  He’s pretty cool.  He is calm, but wise.

Our group was able to lead one person to the Lord.  Praise God!

Tenielle got a little close to me today.  We had a nice talk.  When we left to go back to the church, Tenielle sat with Kevin again.  They talked the whole time.

For youth group that night, Shurby said that we were all going to the Korean church in Spring Lake, because he had to preach there.

We had a few hours before it would be time to leave.  Jenna and Tenielle and Louie went back home.  Louie and I are becoming good friends.  He is mature enough for 14 and he has respect for everyone.  He is more of a man than one would think.

Marcus and Kevin wanted to shoot some basketball at the Lee County Arts Center, so I dropped them off and went…guess where? To Christi’s.  She and her mom were home.  I sat down and watched the movie they were watching.  The only type of communication Christi and I had, was when we laughed at the same parts of the movie.  Afterwards, she left to go to rehearsal and I went to pick Marcus and Kevin up.  Since we had no where else to go, we went  back to the church and helped Pastor Steve build the Faith Street display.

Six o’clock rolled around and sure enough the entire youth group showed up.  We took the bus and headed toward Spring Lake.  The seating arrangements were the same.  Tenielle and Kevin were together and they talked the whole time.  Once Tenielle sat with me to ask me if anything was wrong.  I said, “no” and then she sat back with Kevin.  The church service was great.  Shurby preached on the fire of God.

Afterwards the church had refreshments and a fellowship.  The refreshments were rice and a type of meat.  It was so good.  The guys played basketball.  Jonathan and I didn’t.  We just went around and messed up everyone’s hair.  We messed up Jenna’s a lot.

When it was all over, we left around 10:30 p.m.  Shurby told all the parents to pick us about at 9:30 p.m. and we were still 30 minutes away.  I tried to sleep on the ride back, but it was hard.  Tenielle was alone this time.  Kevin sat with Amanda.  Tenielle’s head was against the window and she looked depressed.

I knew the reason.  I have eyes.  I heard the way she and Kevin talked to each other. 

It was chilly, especially near the window.  I asked her if she was cold and offered her one of my shirts.  She silently shook her head.  I left her alone for a while.

Jenna sat with me some.  I asked her to get close to me because I was cold.  She did.

Thanks Jenna.

Remember that letter Jenna wanted me to write to her, the one I was supposed to type?  In this letter I wrote her a story.  A story just for her and for no one else.  I wrote of a pretty little female bird.  She was flying one day when she heard another bird whistle on the other side of the trees.  She had a conversation in her language with what she thought was a young male bird.  But it actually wasn’t a bird at all, it was a teenage boy, simply whistling back and forth to this bird.  He did not know he was actually talking to her, and he had no idea what he was actually saying.  He unknowingly told her that he would meet her at the corner tree in the pasture tomorrow evening.  The female bird was flattered.  No bird had ever expressed interest in her before.  She lived a life of loneliness. 

When she went the next evening to meet the bird at the corner tree, there was no one there.  She cried.  The corner tree, however, was next to the teenage boy’s house.  He was outside eating a sandwich and drinking a glass of milk.  He was also whistling.  The female bird heard this and turned around.  When she saw that it was a human boy she had been talking to this whole time, she was devastated.  She flew down to look at him and he tore off a piece of bread and threw it down for her.  She at it.  He poured a little milk down for her.  She had only ever known the taste of water, but she tasted the milk and loved it.  It was different.

She flew away, for the love she had hoped to find that night was not true.  But the night did bring her a little hope, however.  She had only known loneliness, just like she had only known the taste of water.  She tasted milk that day and she would soon taste love.  Everything she looked for in a male bird was in that boy who gave her milk and bread, but they simply couldn’t be together.  It was impossible.

I had given that story to Jenna on Saturday.  She had not read it until Saturday night after she got home.

During the last ten minutes of the drive, I sat back with Tenielle.  I asked her if she was okay.  She didn’t say anything.  I asked her if she wanted me to leave her alone.  She shrugged.  I knew that if I felt like her, which I have in the past, I would at least want someone to sit there and know that they cared.  So, I stayed.  I didn’t say anything.  I just didn’t want her to be alone.

When we got to the church, Pastor Steve’s wife, Nancy said that Jenna and Tenielle needed to call their mom.  I told them that I could take them home if they needed.  Their mom did show up to pick them up, but since we were nearly two hours late, she had left.  I ended up taking them home.

It was a quiet drive there and back.  I dropped Louie off at his house and then took Jenna and Tenielle to their house.  Their mom gave me some gas money.  Tenielle was still depressed.  She told me to tell Kevin goodbye.  I did not stay long at all.  We didn’t jump on the trampoline.  I didn’t even go to their room.  I accepted the gas money and left.  When I got to the end of the dirt road they live on, I just sat there with the car still running.  It was still and quiet with only the engine running.  I looked in the rear view mirror at their house.  I looked ahead down the darkened road in front of me.  I thought of Lees-McRae College and I drove off.

When I got back to the church, Scott was there and he said that he and Marcus and Cheryl and Shurby had a talk while I was gone about all the conflict going on between them.  Everything is supposedly settled.  Good.

Jonathan showed up and I told Kevin that Tenielle said “goodbye.”  He rolled his eyes and said, “Between her and Amanda, Dang!”

Amanda is 13.

Tenielle is 12.

Kevin is simply sick and tired of only young girls showing him any interest.  That’s not what he’s looking for.  That’s not what I’m looking for.

Anyway, myself, Jonathan, Marcus, and Kevin went home and Jonathan spent the night.  We all got to bed at 2:00 a.m. this morning.

I slept well.  Thank you Lord.

Time for church.

March 17, 1994 – Thursday – 2:41 a.m.

Marcus is over here.  He’s typing his research paper due tomorrow.

Today (Wednesday) was awesome.  It’s real early Thursday morning, but to me it is still Wednesday.  It was awesome in a different way.

Jonathan and I went to Sanford.  He had to take care of something before church.  We had some spare time so we borrowed Andy’s Roller Blades and went rollerblading at Kiwanis Park.  Then we went to Taco Bell and Jonathan dared me to go in with the Roller Blades still on.  I did.  Everyone was staring.

Then on our way to take them back, I got out on the road and held onto the open door while Jonathan drove a few blocks.  It was pretty exciting.  Something else happened, but I’ll tell you about that later.

It’s late/early and I’m tired.

March 12, 1994 – Saturday – 11:45 p.m.

My original plans for this day fell through.  But what happened today was more wonderful than I could ever imagine.

We went out on the Bus Ministry and then Scott and Marcus and I went to Christi’s house, to see what Andy was doing.  Christi had a friend over and the three of them plus they’re mom were going to have a picnic outside.  I borrowed Andy’s Roller Blades and Christi took the time out to ride Andy’s bike down the road while I rollerbladed.  We had a nice talk.  She seems to be doing well.

Andy was busy, so we went to Fayetteville and just looked around.  Back at youth group, I saw that Jonathan came in with Kevin.

The service was great, but Jenna and Tenielle didn’t show up.  It seems like I’m their only way there.

Well, stuff happened at youth group.  A lot of stuff.

Two people got demons cast out of them.  One was a 15-year-old girl.  The other was Jonathan.  He got set free from Dungeons & Dragons, pot, and unforgiveness towards his father.  Afterwards, he was crying and for the first time in my life I held his hand and felt his pain.  I sort of know what he has been through by what he has told me, but it hit me then.  I cried like a baby.

I cried and cried.

How do people survive such pain?

I’m back guys.  The youth group is back!  I’m going to be the Jacob I used to be; the one I am only when I’m around certain people like Jenna, Tenielle, and Christi.  The ones who bring me joy!

I love you Jesus.

You are the giver of joy!

An eternal joy!

YES!!!!

I love you Lord!