November 21, 1999 – Sunday – 8:35 a.m.

It has been so long since I’ve written.  I guess I’ve been occupied.

Marie and I have been affirming each other more and more.  She is coming to church with me this morning.

Sarah sent me an email saying she was in love with me and that she is sorry for all she did.  I wrote her back forgiving her and telling her that I met the woman I wanted to marry.

I also wrote Mary, and she said for me not to go off and find a girl when there is one in Oklahoma who is still in love with me.

Mary and Sarah once meant so much to me, but now they only offer words on a screen. Marie is right in front of me.

I acted in two different directing scenes on Friday and I even directed my own.  All went well.

Vince is coming to spend about three weeks with me.  The bookstore needs some extra help, so he is going to live with me and take the temporary job.

These days are just full of unbelievable grace.  Marie is turning into my best friend.  I’m creating the Lord’s art.  My soul is completely free.  I’m finding beauty in this land, and it is mostly in Marie’s eyes.  What did I ever do to deserve such beauty?

The days ahead hold so much change.

It is a full moon on Tuesday, so Marie and I will return to that field in North Carolina to celebrate a full passing of the moon over our great friendship.  She will travel home for Thanksgiving the next morning and I will stay here and try to write a short screenplay.  I’ll visit with Tracey, Vince, and Justin, and I’ll work in the bookstore.

December will bring the final weeks of school, as well as all the final preparations for DANG!.  We had a rehearsal for it last night and it was just perfect.  God’s hands are all over this!

Marie and I are making plans to see each other over Christmas.  I can’t wait to meet her family.  Thank you Jesus for handling this relationship.  You are all that is perfect and pure and beautiful.  I love you Lord!

 

September 25, 1999 – Saturday – 2:10 p.m.

I’m in Lynchburg, Virginia!  Lindy should be here soon.  Chris didn’t come because he has to play drums at church in the morning.  So it’s just Lindy and I with front row tickets and everything!

I pitched a couple of five minute short films yesterday.  They went over really well.  I pray one will get selected and I get to direct it.  Each selected film receives a budget of $5,000.

All of my corporation stuff is finished.  I opened a bank account and everything.

Three pages remain in this journal.  The last time I was in Lynchburg was Thanksgiving with Vince and Allen back in 1998.  That was ten months ago.  The Virginian and American flags fly above me now.  I am on the Liberty campus.  DC Talk went to school here.  It is nice to be among the mountains.

Last night I went to a huge school-wide barbecue at Pat Robertson’s house.  It was really fun and I met and talked with a couple of girls named Bridgette and Christina.

As I reflect back on these past six months it seems like this book begins and ends with Lindy.  It is nice to have a good friend that expands space and time.  I’ve also been to Maine and California, I held a girl named Mary, and I started a motion picture production company.

So, Jesus, how are we?

Am I where you want me to be?

Am I free?

August 20, 1999 – Friday – 1:30 p.m.

I feel haunted by every moment.  Memories of these days here in Virginia Beach have already begun to linger in my mind and heart.  It seems I live every moment knowing it will never be again.  I do believe that true love lasts forever.  Veronica, Jeni, Emily, Sarah, these loves did not last forever.  Who they are now is not the person I once knew.  I’m sure I too have changed.

The summer is slowly closing, and I wish I could be back in the arms of Mary.  I wish I could sit above the city of dreams and overlook L.A.  I wish I could wake up once more under the thin slice of the Vermont moon.

I am missing days I haven’t even entered.

Oh to be 22 again.  To have just returned from Africa, to be working with the beautiful Dawn, to be sitting in class talking about movies, to be directing fifteen teens in a Christmas show.

I visited eleven new states while I was 22.

I miss the wife I have yet to meet.  Forgive me for looking for you in others’ hearts.

I want to sleep in the arms of the one who knows me.

August 9, 1999 – Monday – 6:57 p.m.

Time sure is moving itself along, isn’t it?

Church was great yesterday.  I so adore Pastor Trueblood’s sermons.  He is gifted and anointed.  Brandon and Jason hung out with me before we went to the final Master’s Commission service.  It was great to see everyone.  God definitely showed up at that service.  What a joy it is to know the Lord.

It was so nice to see Mary.  She came with a friend sho was staying at the beach.  So, after the service, we went to our spot over at Fort Henry.  That wonderful little overlook with a lighthouse on one side and a sparkling bridge on the other.

We stayed there for about an hour and simply held each other.  Through what Mary shared, God has used me to bring an amazing amount of healing to her heart and mind.  Thank you for using me God.  She wrote me a letter that contained quotes from other authors:

“To be touched tells man that he is loved.  To touch tells man that he is a lover.  Touching is therefore being.”

Thank you Lord for my ability to touch others.

 

August 8, 1999 – Sunday – 8:43 a.m.

I got home yesterday around one in the afternoon.  The ten hour drive from Vermont was a completely wonderful thing.  In fact part of me still feels like I’m there under that early morning star-filled sky.  It was nearly as vast as the sky I saw over Africa a year ago.

About 30 minutes after I got home, I got a call from Dayton asking if I was able to go to one final Master’s Commission service.  The service will be later on today, right down the street at Centerville Fellowship.  It’s been about three weeks since I’ve last saw everyone.

Last night I hung out over at Kimberly’s and then met up Sterling and family at Upton’s.  They went home, and I went to see The Blair Witch Project.  I had heard the whole thing was made up, but that didn’t keep me from being scared.  My knees were knocking against each other.  The theater was packed and some people clearly believed all the marketing and thought it was really found footage.  I saw a group of girls so terrified they ended up sitting in the same seat holding each other.  It was pretty cool.

Mary called me last night and we talked for about three hours.  She’s so funny.  She’s so weird.  I’m glad we’re good friends.  I’m glad me being myself seems to bless her.

Throughout our conversation I kept talking about Lindy since I had just recently seen her and her parents.  I was just talking about what a wonderful friendship we had, and then after a while Mary said, “Jacob, you’re in love with her!”

Uh…

I just kept talking.  Part of me was thinking “Duh! Like I don’t know that.”  But the other part of me was thinking, “Are you crazy, she’s like my sister!”

But this isn’t a new thought.  I’ve always battled those two thoughts.  Lindy is my friend, one of the best I’ve ever known.  We seem to never run out of things to tell each other.  Wouldn’t it be nice to wake up next to someone and have everything in the world to talk about?  What a beautiful miracle that would be.

 

July 14, 1999 – Wednesday – 3:14 p.m.

It is the 14th of July in 1999 and what a day it has been so far.  God has out done himself this time to communicate something to me.  My, how I love and adore him.  Why does he take so much time to teach me about life and love?  Why does he concern himself with me so much?

There is a story I need to tell, one I should write in here, but it is a long one.  The Lord has taught me an amazing lesson in faith and love and grace through Mary.

She came and sat next to me for the rest of the plane ride into Norfolk.  She laid her head in my lap.  I played with her hair.  She rubbed my fingers against her lips.  And we talked.  We talked about how everyone had gotten so worldly after Santa Monica and how she seemed to have more faults than I had realized.  She said I had to accept her for the way she was.  I told her there must be something wrong with that attitude; that it just didn’t seem right, that it focused more on serving the self than it did honoring and respecting those we were in close relationship with.  After I said that, she let her guard down, and we actually got to have a lovely talk again.  She got off the plane in Richmond and I had a good feeling about our relationship; that it just might hold promise for the future.

Well, Sterling, Christin, Brandon, and Jason from the youth group picked me up at the airport.  I went to church that night and felt the Lord.  I worked on Monday and then spent the night at Jason’s house along with Brandon.  We had a great time.

Tuesday night, the Master’s Commission group came and we did a service at Parkway.  I attended and afterwards Sterling and Rebekah and I went to see Tarzan.

While at church, Mary and I talked a little sweet to each other and last night, before midnight, she called me from Erica’s house in Norfolk.  We talked until two this morning.  And… I just learned a lot about her past and who she is now and how no one else really knows her because they put her up on a pedestal.  I suppose I am guilty of that as well.

Mary’s mother left her when she was nine months old.  She grew up around her father and brother, which she said made her more cold-hearted.   She said her mother wasn’t an affectionate person and didn’t start seeing her again until she was 9-years-old.  She told me stories about sexual abuse from a family member and that she grew up in the church, but didn’t experience true salvation until she was 14.  But, in both high school and college, things went too far with some different boyfriends, and these experiences broke her completely.

When she confessed all this to me, my throat turned into a rock and my body began to shake.  I did have high expectations of who she was, or who I wanted her to be I guess.  I was disappointed in myself for setting such a high standard and for doing to her what everyone else has done: putting her up on an insanely high pedestal.  Our conversation got a bit funny and awkward and then the cordless phone she was on lost power and we got cut off.  We didn’t get to say goodbye.  I just went to sleep nearly in tears.

I went to work this morning and found myself playing our conversation over and over in my head.  After work, when I was running some errands, I felt the Lord say, “Go to Parkway.”  I did and the Master’s Commission team was there getting ready to leave for North Carolina.  I had no idea they were going to be there, so long story short…Mary and I got a chance to talk.

I was the first guy to come along since she broke things off with the previous guy and rededicated her life to God.  I was the testing ground of a newly healed and wanting-to-trust heart.  Through her story I have learned that there is not a perfect girl out there, but that we are all in the process of being made perfect through the love and grace of Jesus.

Mary and I have both been redeemed.  As has everyone else.

I do not understand it, I only accept it.

July 11, 1999 – Sunday – 10:10 p.m.

The events of the past four days seem very distant and foggy.  We’ve had plane trouble, so we are still at the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport.  Needless to say, things have been crazy.  Let me try to recap.

I did see Brandon and Sara and their little Madison at Disneyland.  Mary spent a little time with us.  It was so good to see them.  We took a break from the park in the middle of the day and I went with Brandon back to his hotel room.  Little Madison and I played together there.  We had so much fun!  She’s the cutest little girl.

Disney was a good time, and Mary and I were able to have some alone time there as well.  I saw the Fanstamic show that night.  It was really neat; such imagination!

Thursday we went about an hour east of L.A. to Fontana and spent the day with this youth church out there.  They treated us so kindly.  During that time Mary and I had a chance to talk, and we really opened up to each other, which may not have been a good thing.  I can hardly remember what was said now, but it was a sweet and precious time.

However, she has been acting really funny the past few days.  She’s been acting really selfish and her conversation used to be really Godly, but now it has been totally petty and pointless.  I’m not sure what happened, but when yesterday came, I was so ready to go home.

We went to Santa Monica and there the whole group just stopped acting like a group of Christians doing ministry and started acting really worldly; especially Mary.  I hated it.

After sunset we went to the observatory near the Hollywood Sign.  I needed to get away from everyone, so I slipped away and found a trail down to the left.  I sat there, finally alone and sang to my Jesus.  All of the man-made lights below me were beautiful.  I saw the entirety of the L.A. skyline and the surrounding areas and there the Lord and I had a special time above those 13 million people.  There were even fireworks off in the distance.

I thought about who I was and what I was supposed to do.  I thought about how Mary was perfect for me on some days and totally wrong for me on other days.  I thought about the homeless woman I saw try to kill herself by laying down in front of an on-coming train.  And I thought about how natural it felt to be in L.A.  Finally, I thought about how thankful I was that I’d soon be leaving.

Last night, before we left the observatory, we had a time of reflection where everyone went around and said goodbye to me and shared their feelings about me.  I’m leaving the team when we land in Norfolk, but they have another couple of weeks together.  They all said very sweet things, things I’ve heard others say about me before.  The greatest compliment though was that I not only taught them the Masks drama, but that the example of my life revealed to each member of the team the mask that each of them was hiding behind.  They told me that I have a wisdom unlike any they’ve ever encountered.

I shared with them how hard it was to strip my soul bare for every new group of people, but that doing so also continually helps me and keeps me open; though sometimes it feels like it nearly destroys me.

. . .

So, I’m in the air now, flying far above both land and clouds.  I don’t know about Mary and I, except that I will try to keep in touch through email.  I’m looking forward to getting some things together and organized for the next year of school.  I hope to visit some Lees-McRae friends during the first couple of weeks in August.

Thank you for these days sweet Jesus.  Thank you for molding me and for fixing me.

And thank you Mary.  I will remember L.A.