December 11, 1997 – Thursday – 7:30 p.m.

I went to our Team Meetings last night.  I saw Sarah there.  We were in The Pinnacle Room since it was the Department’s Christmas Party.  After a while of talking with other people and eyeing Sarah out of the corner of my eye all night, I finally went up to her.  She hugged me and I asked her if she wanted to go for a walk later on.  She said yes.

It was a cold and windy night, but the near full moon, diffused through the clouds, lit the world for us.  Bundled up, we walked to Banner Elk Park.  We had fun.  There was a lot of laughter and a lot of playing.  We were on the playground and she mentioned how everyone in the Performing Arts Department thinks we are going out.

“I’m sorry,” she said.

That made me feel like the idea of us together was a bad idea to her.

“I guess we need to talk about that?” I asked.

“Yeah.”

I went on to tell her how confused I was since I was leaving in five months.  She said she understood.  I asked her to help me in my confusion, but she said she couldn’t.

Wonderful Eternal Instances passed by as we continued to play, but we also found time to be still as we viewed the sky and moon above our small silent souls.

We ended up in a tiny cubbyhole only big enough for the two of us.  And there with her I could be myself.  My soul can go free when I’m with Sarah.

A second passed where I wanted to kiss her, but I felt what we had was going to fade into a lasting friendship and not a romantic one, so I wasn’t too sure if I should kiss her.

She noticed by confusion and asked what was wrong.

I told her.

“Why aren’t you sure if you should kiss me?”

I couldn’t answer.  I was speechless.  I wanted her so badly that I froze.

Forever passed.

“Well here’s my face,” she said.

. . .

Her face is so soft and her lips are so amazing.  I’m not sure how long we kissed, but she had a rehearsal to go to, so we had to walk back to campus.

I returned to my room and three hours went by.  All of that time was spent talking with friends.  Ann-Marie was there, as well as some of the guys.  Ann-Marie stayed until 12:30 a.m. and we talked about the weird and wonderful way we think.

After she left I stripped down to my underwear and jumped in my bed.  Before I even thought about turning off my light, I called Sarah.

Jaminda and Sherlive were there in her room with her.  She said the three of them were having girl talk.  An hour of conversation passed by and during that time Sarah asked me to write down Exodus 23:20.  I could hear Jaminda and Sherlive in the background and they were telling metaphorical stories that made me think Sarah actually wanted our relationship to grow, despite the fact that I would be graduating soon.

I couldn’t handle it anymore.  Finally I said, “Sarah, I’m crazy about you.  I know I’m not here for very long, but I want you.”

A weird sound came from her voice.

“Why didn’t you tell me this on our walk?”

“I don’t know, I lose my mind when I’m with you.”

“Well…”

“Oh no!  I’m freaking you out aren’t I?”

“No, no, no, I’m just really surprised you feel this way.”

“You are?”

“Yeah!!!”

“Well, how do you feel?”

“Well…” she began.

I listened.  And she spoke a series of words that I will never forget.

“I love you Jacob.  And I don’t mean “love” like I love all my friends.  I mean I love you.  I love you.”

I’ve never been shot, but it can’t feel much different.

And I love her too.  I told her.  I jumped out of bed and bundled up again.  We met halfway between our dorms super early on this Thursday morning.  We hugged and kissed at the intersection of the college store and said a prayer before we said goodnight.

When I got back to my bed, I looked up the verse Sarah gave me, “See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared.”

 

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November 9, 1997 – Sunday – 1:00 p.m.

Friday morning at 5:00 a.m. I awoke and began my weekend.  I left before 6:00 and ate breakfast at McDonald’s in Marion.  I had 30 minutes to kill before my interview at the Radisson in Asheville at 8:30 a.m.

But it was then that I discovered we got the days mixed up and that my interview wasn’t until tomorrow (Saturday).  So, I had 24 hours, a full tank of gas, and a prayer for God to take me somewhere.

He took me home.

After spending three hours headed east on I-40, I ended up in Sanford, NC.  I surprised my mom at work, and visited Pastor Steve at his barn.  He told me about how his horses have brought him closer to the love of God.  I can understand that.

Then, God took me to a house I haven’t been to in well over a year.  I drove down that long dirt driveway and there I saw a young blonde girl carrying a baby.  I pulled up to the house, ran out and greeted her at the door with a hug.

Nearly a month ago, Jenna gave birth to 10 pound Michael Joshua.  She will marry goateed Herb in December.  I met him.  Nice guy, but he couldn’t look me in the eye.

Tenielle freaked out when she saw me.  She still smokes and says she is trying some modeling stuff.

It was great spending time with those girls.  I love them so much and its hard to believe I have known them for nearly four years now.

I saw pictures of Jenna pregnant; she was so huge.  I wonder if she realizes what has happened to her.  If she knows she is now and always will be a mother.  Can a 16-year-old truly know such a thing?

As I listened to the conversations between them in that trailer, I became insanely aware of their incorrect grammar, their double negatives, and their generally poor word choices.  It hit me so suddenly, these two girls who have taught me so much about how to love unconditionally, they are what many would call “Trailer Trash.”  The next pay check and getting cigarettes is all the seemed to be on their minds.  I truly saw how valuable college was to me.  Lees-McRae saved me, but I’m still in Jenna and Tenielle’s debt.  They taught me more than they’ll ever know.

I ate dinner with Mom and Nate.  She showed me some videotapes from the Brownsville Revival down in Florida and I cried watching them.

I went to walk and pray on the railroad tracks and asked God to let me into his presence. That evening was similar to Valentine’s Day of 1993.  I fell to the ground and cried and laughed in all of God’s glory.  It was a wonderful time.

I left at four in the morning to get back to Asheville in time.  I talked a lot about God during my scholarship interview, but I didn’t get the award.  It doesn’t matter, it felt like all of that was orchestrated, so I would need to borrow a car, so I could spending a few hours back home and realize all that God has done for me.  There were so many hours driving this weekend in solitude that are more valuable to me than a scholarship.  I had so much fun.  I saw the sun rise twice in a row.

I spent time with Abigail and Lindy last night.  We rented some movies.  Abigail laid next to me for nearly four hours and I touched her hair and head.

For my birthday I was given Life on the Edge by Dr. James Dobson.  In it he writes about the steps to true intimacy and stresses how these steps should be taken in order and at a very slow pace:

Eye to Body

Eye to Eye

Voice to Voice

Hand to Hand

Hand to Shoulder

Hand to Waist

Face to Face (Hugging/Kissing)

Hand to Face

-MARRIAGE-

Hand to Body

Mouth to Breast

Touching below the Waist

Sexual Intercourse

Wow!  Did you notice step eight?  He writes, “Surprisingly, touching a person’s face and hair in a romantic way is more intimate than kissing and hugging.”

According to Dr. Dobson, Abigail and I skipped four major steps.  Oh well, these days, it’s the one thing I truly look forward to.  Her face has become familiar to me.  I know it so well, and even now, I miss it.

I miss her.

Oh Jacob, how funny you are.

November 4, 1997 – Tuesday – 1:00 p.m.

After rehearsal last night, I had a message from Ann-Marie, so I called her back.  “Abigail and I want to come over and talk!” she said.

And they did.  The three of us just laid in my bed and Ann-Marie talked about the huge crush she has on Vince and Abigail said similar little things while I touched her face and hair.

Ann-Marie has low self-esteem.  It must be hard being a girl.

And Abigail said she was still in love with K.C.  And yet, I didn’t care.  I don’t need Abigail to like me, I just need to know that I comfort her.  Yes, I rub the fingers of my heart along her face and through her hair and yes, she may be taking advantage of my male touch, but none of that matters to me.  It’s simply how I tell her things that I can’t find the words for.  It’s how I let her know what she means to me.  And I know she isn’t getting the message; I know she doesn’t know that I’ve memorized the curves of her ears to the point that I can draw them in my sleep, but it doesn’t matter.

All that matters is that I know.

I’m in the middle.  I don’t know what I am to people and that’s probably a good thing.

I got Rebecca St. James new devotional today.  I read a bit of it.  Life is wonderful knowing that amazing woman lives in the next state over.

Life is wonderful knowing that it will change very soon.

And life is wonderful knowing Abigail and I share special moments together.  She lays near me and I simply touch her.  My mind is on her, and her mind is on K.C., but if I help soothe any pain, or help her let go of any stress, then I am happy.

Perhaps the Lord is using Abigail to teach me about his love.  He loves so many that do not love him back.

Hmmm.

I love you God.

Thank you for touching my face.

October 31, 1997 – Friday – 4:11 p.m.

October is ending.

And my life is beginning.

“Masks” is a beautiful piece.  So many tell me it is their favorite dance of the show.  They even like it better than what X-Factor, our professional dance company, does.  But I think it is only great because I covered it in prayer.

I hugged Abigail after the show last night.  She is so soft.  She held my hand and I held hers.  We both looked into each other’s eyes and said “thank you.”

We had Bible Study after the show, but due to Charlie’s shout out with Kate, and a lot of girls overheard it, he decided to let me lead.  He didn’t even show up.  We praised the Lord for so long last night and I gave a simple message about knowing truth.  Emily was there; that’s Emily from my scene with Mason, not “my” true Emily from Crestview.  She cried.  She will belong to the Lord very soon.  Jesus can change anyone and everyone.

Abigail gave a testimony about how she has finally come to peace with her life and she looked at me the whole time.  We shared so many smiles last night.

We have spent a small amount of time together each day and we seem to grow closer.  I undoubtedly go to sleep the happiest man in the world every night.  We sat next to each other during lunch.  Her uncovered knee touched mine and it took her a few seconds before she pulled away.

I believe her parents are coming tomorrow.  I wonder if they’ll see me any differently.  Perhaps she as shared with her mom the small things that have happened between us.  Perhaps not.  Perhaps it is all in my head; like last time.

Jeni called me last night.  She said she has been thinking about me a lot recently.  She seemed sad and even cried over the phone.  I told her about the 27 people at Bible Study and how everything has been forgiven and set free between everyone.

So now, it is only appropriate that I thank my Jesus.  He has given me this peace.  He has given me Abigail’s smile again, so if it that smile goes away, it won’t break my heart completely.  Through her smile, he has shown me a grace that is way more than I deserve.

I’ve never been so in love with Jesus.  He gives me my dance in the shower.  He gives me my minutes in each hour.  This peace is indescribable.  I wear no mask.  I’m surrounded by his love.

I want nothing but to worship you Lord.

Spring worship unto thee.

October 24, 1997 – Friday – 3:10 p.m.

God is so good to me and I don’t know why.  I am a finalist in the North Carolina Theater Conference, so I have to go to Asheville on November 7th.  But other things are going nicely as well.  She smiles at me more.  We talk about little things.  I’ve stopped trying to keep myself from dreaming about her.  I just let my mind wander.

Little things happen and though I’m sure half of it is just my imagination, God has given me a peace.

Today, Doc had me talk to a guy named Marty over the phone.  He graduated from Regent University with a film degree.  He said that a person can easily go very far, very fast in the film industry, but only if they are single.  Doc told me the same thing.  There are some who accomplish it with a family, but they are rare.

Rare.

I’ve been described that way before.

“Masks” is coming along beautifully.  Doc came and watched it last night.  She was amazed at how I directed and how people listened to and respected me.  She said that my art was good.

God is taking such good care of me.  I don’t deserve his love, yet he gives it so freely.

You know, I think I’ve forgotten how to be a boyfriend.  I haven’t been someone’s boyfriend for so long.  If something were to happen, if someone were to come along, I don’t think I’d know what to do.

Oh God, I give everything to you.  My desire to marry and have family, my desire to work in film and theater, these two things that the wise say can never work together, I give them to you.  Show me the way.  Teach me how to love and care.  I wait upon you.

October 22, 1997 – Wednesday – 7:40 p.m.

You know what I want?  You know what I wish for?  I want to come home to a beautiful woman, and we will embrace each other after a long day’s work.

I’m sure those days will come, but it’s obvious to me that I’ll have to wait quite a while until that daily comfort arrives.

It is nearing the end of October.  It’s very dark outside now.  The stars are visible, but I am not.  I am not really busy, but it feels that way.  “Masks” opens in a week and a day.  The Misanthrope rehearsals are somewhat difficult.  I miss Mark, my director for Children of a Lesser God.  He knew what he was doing, and I always felt confident in myself as an actor under him.  I don’t feel that way now.

The story of my youth.  Is it over?  Was it interesting?  Did I understand?  Was I me?  Was I beautiful?  Did I love?  Did others love me?

I guess all that matters is that somewhere along the past 21 years I learned of a Jesus who adores me.  For that reason alone, life has been pretty good.

It’s been nearly five years since I began keeping these journals.  Five years.

1992-1997.

Sixteen to twenty-one.

I’m so glad God created laughter.  Life is so much fun.  I can honestly say I have fantastic friends.  They are my salvation.  God loves us through other people.

But still, despite all the bliss of love and laughter, I’m not sure I like living here.  People can be weird.  People can be harsh.  And it hurts even more to know that I am one of those weird, harsh, and hurtful people.  I don’t love people enough.  I don’t smile enough.  I am not nice enough.  I seclude myself too much.

My mom says it’s simply a part of my heritage, that I, like her, receive my strength from being alone.  How can I help a dying world if I’m alone all the time?  How can I be a good Christian if I only hang around other Christians?

I don’t like this world.  I don’t like me in this world.  Yet I also love every day I am alive because here I get to practice my faith in, and my love for, my beautiful savior.

The truth is, despite all my plans, despite all my goals, and despite all my dreams, I don’t know what to do or where to go.  So, I just stand right here, loving all the beauty around me, waiting for him to show me our tomorrow.

October 7, 1997 – Tuesday – 7:00 p.m.

Hard to know what to think.

Or even what I’m thinking.

Nearly seven months left now.

Then a summer.

Then another life.

I try to stay alert, awake, and brave.  But when it comes down to it, I’m scared out of my mind.  I’m scared because around the winter of 1994 God used Shurby to speak an audible message to me: “You will do a great thing, not many will believe you, but don’t worry, all you have to do is show up, for you are not doing this great thing, I am.”

And that is what I’ve basically done these 3 1/2 years, I’ve just shown up.  I showed up at Lees-McRae and look what happened.  I didn’t try any harder than anyone else.  Many around me come to me with their problems.  People refer to me as their counselor.

My directing talents are being praised, but I just showed up to rehearsal like the rest of them.  Josh talked to me last night about how much of a leader I was; how much of a role model.

“The hand of God is on your life Jacob,” he said to me.

But I don’t get it.

I’m a sinner.  I fail all the time.  I judge people and I hurt people’s feelings.  I don’t pray any harder or worship any more and yet I intimidate other Christians.  They have said there is a God and Jacob connection that they don’t have.

Well I do…He’s my Savior!  He’s died for me for crying out loud.  And I’m scared to death cause the Creator of everything around me loves me and has his hand on my life.  This great thing, whatever it is, is actually coming true.  I’m not doing anything to deserve it.  And along with this life on earth, I get an eternal life too!  There’s so much grace around me, I simply don’t understand the level of mercy I see.

But God’s hand is on others too.  I know it because they are such a blessing to me.

So, I’m scared because I only have seven months to tell my friends how much I love them, and that simply isn’t enough time.