August 30, 1997 – Saturday – 11:16 p.m.

So far this has been a crazy weekend.  First of all, Curtis came to visit, which was great!  They all went to Sharon’s house, but I was on duty.  While on duty I had to take care of an alcohol problem in Avery dorm.  It is a crazy long story, no need to write it here.  I don’t want to remember it.

Allen, to everyone’s surprise, went out on a date with a girl named Alicia from ASU.  He met her a week ago some how.  They evidently had a good time.  He really likes her.

While sitting in my room earlier today, I got a call from Dan, “Jacob, you need to come over here we have a problem.”

I ran over to Dan’s room and I saw Allen with his face in his hands crying.  It turns out he talked with his mother over the phone and found out one of his close buddies from back home in New York died in a motorcycle accident.  Allen was bawling hard and no body was saying anything.  He left and I followed him to his room.  We talked some.  He told me how close he was to this guy.  He told me how he called the mother earlier today and could barely say her name through the tears.

I told him it wasn’t fair.  Everyone has their sad stories, but I don’t have any.  Not that I want them, but I simply can’t share in their pain.

“You’re just lucky,” Allen said.  We talked later in the day, after he got himself together.  We were talking about this world and the trials we must go through.  He said the wisest thing, “We simply don’t belong here.”

And he is right.  Just like Marisa said, this weird place is not our home.  There is more to life than this.

Jeanine also came up to visit.  She got really close to Allen this summer and she was hurt when she found out there was a new girl.  My shoulder was there for her to cry on.

My brother Kevin is also up visiting.  He is in a Putt-Putt tournament nearby.  But no one is here now.  They all went bowling in Boone, even Kevin.

These duty night are something else, but they pay the bills and hopefully this job will look good on a resume.  Most of the campus has gone home for Labor Day weekend, so I just find myself sitting here thinking of Sherlive.

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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.

July 28, 1997 – Monday – 5:09 p.m.

I miss her.  I miss her like crazy.

My mother and Nate came last night.  We went driving and exploring this morning.  It was great to spend time with them.

I told her about Sherlive.

The thing that’s driving me crazy is that I’m leaving early Thursday morning to go to Chrysalis in Maryland (I don’t know why I thought it was in Virginia).  I won’t comeback until Monday.  The only time I would probably get to see her would be Sunday, but I won’t be here.  I don’t have her phone number or any way to get in touch with her.  She’s about an hour away in TN and I don’t have a car, so…

I’m in la la land.

I don’t know what’s happening, except that this past weekend with her was a gift from God.

And I miss that gift.

Forever Plaid ends tonight.  There is a line in that play, “One perfect moment, that’s all we have a right to ask for.”

Could that be true?  If so, then my first 21 years have been perfect.  I don’t have the right to ask for anything else, but it seems to get better with each passing second.

It only gets better, because truth has found me.

July 12, 1997 – Saturday – 9:20 p.m.

We are back in Banner Elk.  After my entry last night, I feel asleep in Charlie’s newly purchased tent.  We got up early this morning and after I took a hike to Juneywhank Falls, we ate breakfast at McDonald’s, rented tubes and went tubing.  The tubing was great; the warm sun above us, the cool water below.  On the way out, I got a banana split with extra cherries.  And we ate at Pizza Hut and I stood on that ledge.

Again, it was the same picture.  And I can now move on with my life.

All that lies behind me, all those 21 years.  They are now simply a life already lived.  The majority of those days have been lived for God.  Some moments were not, they were lived for me.  All I have is this moment in front of me.

I have this desire to run out and say “hello” to every person I come across, but it is as if their own faces hold me back.

So many visits to that ancient creek and yet it never changes, only I do.

I am a little blonde haired boy changing into a smarter little blonde haired boy, wishing he knew nothing.

I think I’ve been doing this wrong.  I must have misunderstood.  I keep looking at myself. But all of these memories, all of these moments, they are nothing but a movie in my mind.  It’s like I’m tickling myself.  I use my life to create laughter in my own life.

To me it is everything, but it is nothing to others.

There is no remembrance of men of old, and even those who are yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow.  Ecclesiastes 1:11.

I am having fun, but what does that mean?

Be happy, young man, while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth.  Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things, God will bring you to judgement.  So, banish anxiety from your heart and cast off the troubles of your body, for youth and vigor are meaningless.  Ecclesiastes 11:9, 10.

I will soon return to dust and no one will ever read this book I am writing about my life.

Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of a man.  Ecclesiastes 12:13.

What does God command of me?  He commands me to love him and love others.

Life is not about clothes, or movies, or brand names, or even these pages of my memory.

Life is not about money, music, or sex.

Life is not about beauty, long legs, or perfect breasts.

Life is not about me.

Life is about one thing:

Love.

Continually giving to and serving other people.

And I think I just now figured that out.

June 19, 1997 – Thursday – 11:37 p.m.

Vacation Bible School has both begun and ended since my last entry.  I was in charge of the dramatic elements.  I wrote a play and played the main character.  It went well.  The kids seemed to love it.  This evening Vince and I went over to Sharon’s.  Hannah and I played a lot of games.  Simple fun!

Four years ago on this historic day, I was saying goodbye to Emily at Deep Creek near Bryson City, NC.  There are some things in life that can’t be explained.  Emily is one of them.  She is my life’s great mystery.

June 8, 1997 – Sunday – 5:23 p.m.

Yeah baby!  The weekend was so great!  I am a Promise Keeper!!  A stadium of 60,000 Christian men singing praises to one God!  A night spent in a beautiful Victorian Bed & Breakfast!  Charlie, Vince, and Allen right next to me, plus new friends I made from the trip!  Whew, walls were torn down.

Redemption!  I am free at last!

I will live in purity.  I will read, pray, and fellowship!  I am alive in Christ!!

When I returned home I read chapter 17 from Max Lucado’s God Came NearEternal Instants.  You know, the moments so perfect that the whole universe stands still to notice.  I can think of many right now, and I’ve only been alive for a little over 20 years.

Sitting in the treehouse on Hemlock Hill on a snowy night listening to Braveheart.

Crystal rubbing my neck at the drive-in in Tennessee.

Talking to Emily under the boardwalk in Ft. Walton Beach.

Touching Abigail’s face in McAlister room 206 on Lees-McRae’s campus.

Kissing Jeni in Cincinnati, Ohio while listening to The Wedding Song by Kenny G.

Playing underneath the full moon with Dan and Allen on the back side of Grandfather Mountain.

Holding a curled up Tenielle on her bathroom floor.

Performing “The Mask Skit” at Abundant Life Christian Center.

Eating Wheat Thins and slowly falling asleep next to Jessica under God’s open starry sky.

Playing water guns with Jonathan, Mike, Marcus, and Kevin.

Tubing down Deep Creek with Danny and Peter.

Holding Syndi under the waterfall.

Passing a car in the turning lane with Jonathan.

Helping a lost boy find his mother at Fishnet.

Playing Myst with Vince in New York.

Helping Ryan in and out of the corner tree.

Standing next to the Grand Canyon with Brandon.

Graduating high school and seeing Renee smile at me.

Signing my way through Children of A Lesser God.

Singing with 60,000 men in Knoxville.

And that eternal instant right before I fall asleep each night, when I reflect on the beauty of each amazing day!

Oh wait, and how could I forget, perhaps the most perfect moment of all, riding back from Tennessee with Sharon as Hannah fell asleep in my lap.

June 5, 1997 – Thursday – 11:50 p.m.

Let’s see, what has happened these past couple of days?  The box office has opened; business is slow.  Lindy, my assistant, and I have wonderful conversations while we work.  She is simply great.  Last night Jeni and Tracey and I spent the night at a house down in Foscoe (they were house sitting).  I fell down the stairs; it really scared me.  I went swimming with Allen, Vince, and Laura on Wednesday.  Been chatting with MovieMark on the Rebecca St. James chatline, and he isn’t doing too well.  I got Jerry Maquire in the mail and I’ve watched it a couple of times already.  And, well, we leave for Promise Keepers in the morning.

Life has never felt so fast.

Will this ever slow down?