April 27, 1999 – Tuesday – 5:49 p.m.

I’ve been thinking a lot today.  It feels as though Regent University has no true community, no roots, no sense of place within itself.  It’s a 20-year-old school, where the average student is 35-years-old, married, and has children, and it is part of the largest city in the state of Virginia!  Lees-McRae is over 100-years-old, and is nestled is a small corner of the Blue Ridge Mountains where the town and the school couldn’t exist without each other.

I’ve moved from a school where everyone knew my name, to a school where they don’t even stop and say hello.  And yet this place is suppose to be preparing Christian leaders.  Something is not right here.  People care more about their grades than their classmates.  No one seems to be taking the time to simply be with the people around them.  Is that what adulthood is?

Oh save me God!  This simply shouldn’t be.  Help me not conform to the ways of this place, but to be present with them, to know them, to love them.

August 29, 1994 – Monday – 2:55 p.m.

It’s getting better.  I’ve met some people, some beautiful girls.  One girl named Eliana is going to help me on my Once Upon A Mattress audition.  

All of this is actually fun.

I’m in an Alpha class.  It’s like a college orientation class.  We’ve done a lot and I met many new freshmen.

My roommate’s name is Mike.  He is the opposite of me in beliefs, but we get along.  Across the hall is my RA.  His name is Charlie.  He is an awesome Christian and I’m going to go to church with him, the same church I visited yesterday.

I’ve met some theater people and even talked to the music director of Once Upon a Mattress.  I just wanted him to know my name and face.  The phone lines aren’t ready so I haven’t called any one back home yet.

But I am feeling a little sick.  Not home sick.  Just sick.

July 27, 1994 – Wednesday – 1:00 a.m.

It has been Wednesday for an hour.

On Monday Jonathan and I went to Pembroke State University, and by the grace of God he was admitted and will be able to start school there this fall.  This was his last chance and he made it.

We went to his mom’s in Wilmington.  That night we played miniature golf.  And I tell you what…there are millions of beautiful girls in this world.  I know the Lord God has set apart one of them just for me.

We also went to the beach at about 11:00 p.m.  I hadn’t been to the beach in four years.  It was so amazing.  There is so much to see in this world.  So many people to meet.  

The moonlight shining over the ocean.

Sand between my toes.

The Moon was happy.

Open up Jacob.  Enter in.  Find your joy here while you can, so you can take it with you to Lees-McRae.  Your dreams will be tomorrow.

July 23, 1994 – Saturday – 9:30 a.m.

Four days have passed.

Something happened: Wednesday night after coming back from Jenna and Tenielle’s, Kevin hydroplaned near Marcus’s house and knocked over a sign. No damage was done. So, Kevin didn’t say anything, which he should have. We had to push it out, so mud got on my pants. Mom saw it and questioned me. I told her. She tells Henry, Henry comes to me instead of Kevin. Then he goes to Kevin and gets an attitude with him. Kevin simply walks out on him.

This all happened last night and I guess Kevin spent the night at Marcus’s. He called this morning and Mom took him to work.

At Jenna and Tenielle’s Wednesday night, I stayed away from everyone because everyone is upset. Jonathan was with us and Jenna has been flirting with him. That, of course, makes Marcus mad. And she seems to think she has to be loveable so I will still like her when I just want to be her friend. She’s making me feel like I have a problem because I’m pulling myself away.

Jonathan doesn’t like Jenna. She annoys him in a way.

I’m done with that crowd. They think I revolve around them.

Jonathan and I had a good talk. I told him how much I miss the winter, spring, summer, and early fall of 1993. Back then I was with Amy, Cheryl, Ryan and Christi. Everything was solid then. If there were problems, I don’t remember them. They didn’t always have to be lovable and hugging me all the time like Jenna and Tenielle. We were all just friends and we all knew it. At first it was like that with Jenna and Tenielle, but everything is so complicated now.

I got something in the mail from Lees-McRae, saying I don’t have a roommate. I did, but I don’t now. So, I can keep my private room if I pay an extra $245 a semester. That is what I want, so I’m going to try and get a job and pay it. It’s only $2 more a day.

Monday, Jonathan and I are going to Pembroke University. He has an interview and wants me to go with him. This is his last chance to get into a college.

On the piano, I can play “A Heart Full of Love” from Les Miserables. It took me a long time, but practice makes perfect.

Our household is at odds. I told Henry that I worry about nothing because it is a waist of time. He wants me to be overly concerned because he is.

I just want to be free. I don’t care if some little metal thing has a dent in it under the car. But Henry wants me to.

Thirty-five days, and perhaps I’ll be free.

June 24, 1994 – Friday – 10:40 p.m.

Well, there it is!

Orientation is over!

I got back about an hour ago.

My room assignment is 205 McAlister Hall with a guy named Devin.  I haven’t met him yet, but I gave him a call and it turns out he is at Lees-McRae for Summer Theater.  I talked to his mom and she will tell him I called.  He is from Virginia.

Today went well, but it was short.  A lot of pretty girls will be Freshmen next year; that’s for sure!  I met a guy named Jason.  We ate lunch together and he’ll be in the same dorm as me.  The room is small, but I know I can make it my home.

My home.  I felt it.

I didn’t feel out of place.

New people to meet.  New teachers to get used to.  Dude!

I did see The Lion King today.  Simba reminded me of myself.  It is time for me to go off and be me.  Thank you Jesus!

But before Lees-McRae begins there are still 64 days of right here.

Scott said he will probably be able to go to Deep Creek, but Joel can’t make it.

It looks like it will only be five of us this time.  There were eight of us last summer.  Has it already been a year since I first met Emily?  I wonder if she’ll ever write me back?

Fishnet is right before Deep Creek; only about 12 days away.

And when I get back from Deep Creek, I’ll only have 42 days left!

June 23, 1994 – Thursday – 11:27 p.m.

I just got back from work.

I went to Jonathan’s today.  I’m not the only one who feels that everything is different and changing.  We had fun together.

Tomorrow I’m going to orientation at Lees-McRae.

The Lion King starts tomorrow.  Hopefully I will see it tomorrow.

I am trying to leave before my time.  I decided to go with Kenny to Fishnet this year.  We’ll be going with Lisa’s youth group from down in High Falls.  That’s July 6th!

Then Deep Creek ’94 is right after that!

This Sunday night I’m going to Lisa’s youth group.

There is a fellowship after church on Sunday.

No telling what else will come up.

Jonathan is going to try to go to Deep Creek with us.  I can’t wait.  So far it is only myself, Peter, Ben, and Jonathan.  I’m going to ask Joel if he wants to go and I might ask Scott.

I have 65 days until I leave, but that doesn’t have to mean I’ll be here those 65 days.

No one will notice anyway.

June 18, 1994 – Saturday – 10:57 p.m.

It was a good day.  A lot happened.

While I was sleeping one of my contacts dried up so I had to throw it away.  I didn’t bring my other ones so I can only see out of one eye.  

Dad and I went to the Virginia Living Museum and I saw two bald eagles.  They were so beautiful.  I saw myself in that bird’s eyes.

We went shopping and I bought a keyboard, bigger than the one I had before.  After that we went to see Schindler’s List at a dollar theater.  It had more effect on me the first time, but at the end I still got chocked up.

I go home Monday.  And Friday I go to Lees-McRae for orientation!  I can’t wait.

I have a wish for that day.  I hope it will come true.

April 26, 1994 – Tuesday – 7:00 a.m.

It is in the morning.  I missed the bus, but mom will take me to school.

Jonathan is picking Marcus and I up after school and we are going to the Carman concert.  I don’t know if any of the other young people from church are going.  It will be fun.  The last time I went to a Carman concert was in September of 1992 with Jason, Anne, Christi, Ryan, Amy, Cheryl and Jonathan.

Jonathan flirted.  What else is new?

I liked Ryan then.  That was long ago.  Brandon was even there, but we went earlier because his mom was signing the concert (you know, sign language).  It was a lot of fun.

Two months ago I saw DC Talk in concert.  In four days I will see Petra and Cindy Morgan.

Thank you Lord.

Oh, Sunday night I told Jenna and Tenielle a joke.  And the three of us all laughed together.  Perhaps we will laugh together again.

I checked and Lees-McRae College is 170 miles from where I live.  Kevin’s college is 54 miles from here.  He comes home every weekend.  It’s kind of like he never even left.  I won’t have the same story.  I doubt I’ll hardly ever come home.

April 22, 1994 – Friday – 4:05 p.m.

I just got Tenielle’s letter in the mail.

This is my reply to that letter, and I will let her read this:

Tenielle, the two of us saw everything differently.  Before I begin, I ask for your forgiveness.  Some words are better unheard and better unsaid.  The reason I acted the way I did was because I was confused, not mad.  I didn’t know how you felt or really how I felt.  I was upset Saturday because of the way Skit Practice went.  Tenielle, writing and directing skits, drama, and theater is something I love doing very much, more than I can ever express.  It is a part of me, it’s the way I communicate.  God put it in my soul and I can’t take it away.  And when hardly no one acted like they were enjoying it and they all acted like they’d rather be doing something else, well, it tore up my soul.  It hurt so much because I wanted you guys to enjoy the process, but you weren’t, so I blamed myself.  And I brought in Pastor Steve to help me do the job.  I couldn’t do it by myself.  You and Jenna both acted upset and in a way I was sick of all the junk and crap my brother was giving me.  So, I thought, “well forget this place, they won’t have to put up with me much longer anyway.”

And it hurt me to think that because I don’t want to forget this place.  I love it here.  I love you and Jenna, Marcus, Kevin, and everybody.  My whole life has been right here, but now my life won’t let me stay here.  It’s so hard going to school everyday Tenielle, because I see people whom I know I will never see again after the 10th of June.  This is the only life I’m living with only one heart to pull me through it.  I’ve never done this before and I don’t know what I’m doing.

And I’m not jealous because you like Kevin.  I’m so glad.  Kevin is the greatest brother.  He really knows how to care for someone and make them feel good.  Please Tenielle, spend as much time with him as you can.  You will treasure it for the rest of your life.  I know I will.

My mom asked me the other day if I had any fears of leaving.  I said yes, but I didn’t tell her.  I actually have two.  My greatest fear is that what is happening now and the time I have spent here will soon only be a vague, distant memory, and that all of us have spent together all of the tender emotions, all the smiles, and the laughter, all the times we jumped on the trampoline, all of the times we met at Mr. Gatti’s, all of the Christian Skate Nights, everything that makes my life so wonderful right now, these great days of my youth, will be lost in oblivion after I leave and grow older.

I don’t want that to happen.

I asked Brandon if he thought about this place anymore.  He told me NO!  I never want to lose my memory of this place.

I’ll remember a time I knew what happiness was, and a new life will begin.  Tomorrow.  Daylight.  I must wait for the sunrise.  I must think of the new life.  When the dawn comes tonight will be a memory too, and a new life will begin.

But I will only think of that new life when I am there.

Right now, my life is here and this is where I will be.

This isn’t a time for us to be sad Tenielle.  I’m thankful for the time I have spent here.  The part of me that wants to go to college is the real me.  The part of me that wants to stay is my emotions.

So, I thank you, and I thank Jenna.  Because the two of you came into my life when several other friends of mine were leaving.  And if you hadn’t been there to cheer me up then I would not be where I am today.

The two of you saved me from a lot of heartache.  And by doing that you saved my life.  

When one person saves another’s life, he or she has saved the world in time.

Tenielle, both you and Jenna have saved the world.  Every time you made me laugh, you saved another person’s life.

All I can say is thank you.

Love, Jacob.

April 20, 1994 – Wednesday – 5:30 p.m.

I just got home.  Our Computer Applications class went to Pittsboro today.  I had an okay time.

I stayed after school for about an hour to catch up on some work.

I also saw my step-grandparents (Henry’s parents) today.  They told me that their daughter Karen, went to Lees-McRae once for a basketball camp.  She said it was the most beautiful place in the world.

You know what, I don’t meant to sound prideful, but I’ve done pretty good so far.  Everyone tells me that I have a good head on my shoulders.  Whenever we have writing assignments in English and the papers are read out loud, everyone looks forward to mine.

I will do okay up at Lees-McRae.  I will be somebody.  I will be an good actor, writer, director, and lover of Jesus.

Whenever I was growing up no one said that I was a good singer.  I remember Brandon telling me to keep singing and eventually I’d sound okay.

Whenever I called him Sunday morning, he just found out that I sing background vocals for the Praise Band.  He said, “See, I told you you’d get good.”  He was right.

The time has come.  My work in this place is almost complete.  Thirty-two days are left of school.

Then two and a half months and then I will move on.  I am now looking forward to it.  The Lord is preparing me and I know he will provide me with what I need when I get up there.

I know there will be trials and temptations there, but He has His eye on me.  I know that it is true.

I have faith in God and myself.  I believe in myself.  I have to, or I will not survive.