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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June 10, 1997 – Tuesday – 12:45 a.m.

A new Tuesday.

Forty-five minutes have already vanished.

What to write?  What to remember?

I spent time with Samarah today.  She told me of her only guy friend Lee.  She said he bought her 100 white roses one time and never asked for anything in return.  She said he was the only guy that loved her for her and never tried to sleep with her.  I wondered then why she referred to him in past tense.  Finally she said he was killed by a drunk driver two years ago.

What am I doing?

I received a letter from Rachel today, simply thanking me for my visible walk with the Lord.

I used to be full of so many words, but now I’m speechless.

Sheltered from pain

Full of thought

I have lived among roses

Someone else chopped off the thorns.

Wrinkles from my smile

Proof of my constant grin

I glide down the curly hair of joy

Into the lap of loved ones.

My sorrow is not worth noting

My pain should not be considered

Others hurt worse than me

And I can’t take their pain.

I reach for the moon

Others only reach for their mirror

I live in grace

Others in the emptiness of their reflection.

Why me?

Why was I chosen?

Shirley someone else…

Yet me!

I am nothing

I am no better

I simply grew up in the truth

Others grew up in lies.

I’m seen as odd

But this faith is so normal

My sword is of live-giving pages

Theirs if of venom-dipped words.

The clock away is ticking

The water faucet is dripping

Each second is clicking

And I still have my grin.

Will others find that smile

And live in the eternal while

The sun has gone down today

Will come again tomorrow to stay

At least for a little while.

May 17, 1997 – Saturday – 10:08 p.m.

Today…

Today…

Today was the annual nationwide March For Jesus.  This was my first one that I’ve ever attended.  I had a wonderful time singing praises with fellow Christians as we walked the streets of Sanford.  I saw Gary there.  We talked a little and he told me that there was a big party at Kiwanis Park for Matt, Christi’s brother, who had just graduated from Catawba College in Salisbury, NC.  He said that both Matt and Jason were in town.  So, after the March was over I asked mom if we could stop by to see if they were there and say “hey.”  We did.

A car was in the driveway with the trunk open.  The front door was standing wide open.  We pulled up and I got out of the car and Jason runs out of the house.  His hands were waving around and he wasn’t really looking at us.  Frantically, he said, “Oh geez, oh geez, oh God, oh my God.  Mom and Christi and Andy and his girlfriend just got in a car accident.  They are three hours away from here.  And they’re burned!

It took a second for it to register, but then it all made sense when he just plopped down on the steps and cried.  He was in the middle of changing tires on the car out front because he and Matt were going on a fishing trip on the coast.  So, Clay took Jason to find his dad and Matt at the bank downtown.  Mom and I stayed there and prayed.

A few minutes later, Matt pulled up with Pastor Steve’s wife Nancy.  She said she found him walking on the side of the road because their car broke down at the bank.  We told Matt what happened and he went nuts.  Except he said Andy was in Wilmington and Christi and her mom were going to the mountains and Andy doesn’t even have a girlfriend.  Jason’s muttering made no sense.

Hours of confusion took place.  Phone calls were made.  Hank finally made it home and the emotions went wild because no one knew what was going on.

This is what actually happened:

Christi and her mom Patti and Christi’s boyfriend Adam were going to western North Carolina to say goodbye to Christi’s old gym coach.  Patti was taking off Christi’s shoes while Christi was driving, yet at the same time, they were looking at a pretty mountain.  A bump is felt and Christi shouts out an “oops” as she swerves back to the road.  Yet, the beginning of a guard rail is right in front of her and it catches the gas tank near the rear of the car.  It rips it off and flips the car at the same time.  They head straight into the other lane, thankfully there wasn’t any oncoming traffic.  They come to a stop on the other side of the road and the car bursts into flames.  The three shocked passengers crawl out of the car.

Jason got off the phone with the hospital 30 seconds before we drove up.  Matt, Hank, Gary, and Adam’s mom drove up to the mountains to be with them.  I stayed with Jason until my parents picked me up for a church service at 5:30 p.m.

Christi was burned the worst of all three, but nobody should be left with permanent scars.

And that was today.

Today…

No doubt Christi and Adam’s relationship will grow stronger through this shared drama. They’re love is as good as forever.

It’s a week before I go back to the mountains.  I will so go to my perfect world of Banner Elk.  Yet here, the people of my days before LMC are either pregnant, nicotine addicts, or burned.

And I will leave them that way, knowing my prayers and never ending love will be with them.

I am a little blonde-haired boy, lying in my bed on a school day, only I’m too young to attend.  “Why can’t I go, mommy?”

“You have to wait another year until you’re old enough,” she says.

She should have said, “Oh sweetie, don’t rush things.  Enjoy these careless days while they are around.  Soon your closest friends will be in pain and there won’t be any answers to the flames life brings.  Please, stay a child while you can be a child.”

February 20, 1997 – Thursday – 12:05 p.m.

Emily called me last night.  Something has happened.  Brandon, her ex-boyfriend, beat her up Sunday afternoon.  Her face and body are covered in bruises.

We talked for so long.  She feels so empty, sad, and betrayed.  Nothing makes sense to her now except for me and I am hundreds of miles away.  But even though she was in such need, she gave me her heart and spoke encouragement to me.  I gave her my heart as well and after a hour of sharing our love for each other, we both felt much better.

I finally got off the phone with her, a brief moment of silence past, and I couldn’t keep it in any more.  I burst into tears and cried and cried for my long lost love.  I wished I was there to kiss all her bruises away.

I walked over to visit with Jeni, Tracey, and Ann-Marie.  They comforted me.

Something else seems to be happening.

Thursday afternoon I went rock hopping with Jessica.  We had a wonderful time together.  And there are also several girls on campus who keep stopping and smiling at me.  It’s happens several times every day.  I think it is because of the show.

And I don’t know, but today at lunch Abigail and I had an amazing conversation.  We talked about relationships, love, and purity.  She is striving to become a woman of God.  I can see her desire and it is so attractive.  She is unlike the other girls in her secret inner life.  She is unique and I adore her.

And so here I stand.

The closest person to me on the planet is covered in pain and sadness, but also in my love, at least the love I can give over the phone.  Beautiful strangers are smiling at me all the time.  Jessica’s company is a wonderful gift.  And Abigail grows and matures more and more each day.

I know nothing, save this one thing:

Love is everything.

January 26, 1997 – Sunday – 6:00 p.m.

Wow!

I just talked to Abigail.  She was at dinner. We sat at separate tables, but when she went to throw her tray away, she walked past me and shouted my name and asked me how I was.

“Uh, I’m great, how are you?”  I replied.

She walked on and put her tray up.  On the way back she ran her fingers through my hair and kept on walking.

“Wait, come back.” I said.

She picked up her coat and then came to sit next to me.

“How was your weekend?” I asked.

She smiled.  “I guess you want to know what happened to me yesterday.”

“I was hoping you would tell me and I wouldn’t have to ask.”

It turns out that her crying in my room during our foot washing service was a very good thing.  She had prayed earlier in the day and Jesus said, “You must be in love with me before you are in love with anyone else.”

I said almost those exact same words during Bible Study.

She said that she just needed to cry K.C. out, but she couldn’t.  She had been thinking about that Jars of Clay song and when I began to play it, she bawled like a baby.  What I thought was hurting her, was actually healing her.  She said she had been excellent every since she left my room.

God used me to help my beautiful sister!

I am in love with you Jesus!

I am in love with you.

December 21, 1995 – Thursday – 11:08 p.m.

I went to the ancient place of Abundant Life last night.  Cheryl was there.  I sat with her.  She is growing up.  Not many people were there, but it was good to see the few that were.  One little kid hugged me and said he missed me.

Today I drove with mom to work, then took the car and drove down to Cameron to Jenna and Tenielle’s house.  We all just laid around and talked.  It was good to be in that house.

I left to meet mom for lunch and then went back and picked them up to go shopping.  I bought some presents for my immediate family, etc.

Emily once told me that everyone should have a special teddy bear to sleep with.  She said she would buy me one, but needless to say, she never did.  I wanted one, one given to me from someone very special to me.  I couldn’t think of anyone more special than Jenna and Tenielle.  I hinted at it today and they bought me one.  It lays here beside me now.

After I went and picked Kevin and Mom up from work, we all went back to Jenna and Tenielle’s so I could get my hair cut.  It used to be way down past my chin, but I got it whacked off and now it is above my ears.

Marcus, Danny, and Peter came over tonight and we played Monopoly with the family.  It was a good day today.  I really had fun.  This place isn’t bad.  My past is here, and although it hurts sometimes, the pain shows me that I had strong feelings for the people of this land.

Life.

I guess the pain makes it more fun.

May 10, 1995 – Wednesday – 2:30 p.m.

My mom is supposed to meet me here in my room at 3:00 p.m.

Thirty minutes.

My Freshman Year at Lees-McRae College is over.  It’s gone.  It will never happen again.

I have changed.  I have grown.

But I am me.

August 28, 1994 to May 10, 1995.

Eight months and twelve days.

It began with a kiss above one waterfall…

elk river falls

But ended with God’s grace under a different waterfall…

elk falls

Smiles were made, but tears washed them away.

God is under the waterfall, catching all of my pain.

In His days of grace, my tears turn into sweet, sweet rain.