July 24, 1995 – Monday – 4:08 p.m.

Last night was my last Sunday night at church.  I will be away all of the other Sunday nights.  I have been a part of that youth group for six years.  The youth group itself began with a guy named Mike.  I was there at the ripe age of 13.  I have gone through all of the youth pastors:  Mike, Mark, Hank, Pastor Steve, Jason, Pastor Steve again, Shurby.  Shurby doesn’t do it anymore now either.

My greatest days were those with Jason.  He still inspires me even though he is not around.  But when he was here, I was 16-years-old and wanting to soak up anything I could that dealt with theater and drama.  Jason taught me so much.

But those wonderful days have faded away, just like all the rest.

These days, I strive to grow closer to God and closer to Emily.  I also was to succeed at everything I attempt during my time at Lees-McRae College.  Which reminds me…while at Fishnet ’95, Jonathan, one of the guys we met, told me about a film school in Virginia Beach.  Then the next day, while I was talking to one of the speakers, he mentioned the same film school, named Regent University that is sort of associated with CNN, a Christian cable network.  Anyway, since two people at Fishnet, on two back-to-back days, encouraged me to check out this film school, well, I think the Lord is trying to tell me something.

I will look into it.

Last night, on the way back from church, Marcus and I about got hit by a car.  So, we followed the car a little ways through Goldston.  Then another truck was following us.  Then finally, after the first car was long gone, we pulled over and the truck behind us stopped, got out and approached us.  It turned out, the drivers of the truck were the parents of the girl in the car we were following and they thought we were stalking her.  Evidently, she’s been having a lot of guys stalk her recently.  I thought it was a funny little misunderstanding, but Marcus got really shook up by the father accusing us.

Everything is okay; we all apologized.

I think I’m going to go to a MXPX concert tonight with Kevin and Marcus.  They are a Christian group that sounds like Greenday.  Hopefully I’ll have fun.

Ten more days until August 4th.

I got a letter from Emily a few days ago with a little hand-drawn map of how to get to her house.  In it was a little card that said this:

“Jacob,

It’s hard to believe you are coming here.  I may not let you leave.  My prince may never return.  I don’t want to lose you.

I’ve been doing really good lately.  I’m just so happy for no reason at all.  Nothing can bring me down from this natural, beautiful high I’m on.  I can’t wait to share it with you!  My anticipation burns inside me.  I can’t hide my smile.

I love you.

Emily”

I was right, on the directions I noticed a bridge I had to cross.

October 19, 1994 – Wednesday – 7:15 a.m.

Today is the day I will leave for a little while.  We will come back Sunday.

This is my home now.  I no longer live in Mt. Vernon Springs; that is only where I am from.

We are leaving at 12:30.  It takes about eight hours.  Jeni has so much planned for the two of us to do together.  One night, we’re suppose to go to her old youth pastor’s house to watch a few movies.

She is so special.

Now I see why many things have not happened in my life yet.  It was because I needed her to be there when they did.

And I can honestly say that our relationship would not be as great if I had met her back home.

The Bible says that a man must leave his parents and search for a mate.  I can’t wait until Pastor Steve meets her.

Again Lord, I thank you for her.  And for this morning.  Lord, I thank you for everything.

January 8, 1994 – Saturday – 10:47 p.m.

The day is over.  This day contained a lot.  Too much.  So much it hurts.

It hurts…

Somebody take it away.

This morning I woke up at 6:30 a.m.  The day began.  I showered and got dressed.  Then at 7:25 a.m., I left for Sanford.  Marcus did not come with me.  He had other stuff to do.

I prayed on the way to church.

This morning the praise and worship band went to Shoney’s for breakfast; as they do the beginning of every year.  We made some changes in some stuff and went back to church to practice.  It doesn’t really affect me, since I’m just a backup singer.  Cheryl wasn’t there this morning.

Practice was over around 12:30 p.m.  I then went to Veronica’s house.  I went by to see them because they haven’t been coming to church as much as they used to.

Today, I’m afraid I found out why.

I watched a little of “Drop Dead Fred” and then Shirley asked me a question, “Jacob, do you know the whole story of why Christi’s family isn’t at church anymore?”

I said, “Well, I’ve talked to Christi,” and then told her our recent conversation.

Then she told me that she talked to Christi’s mom in Roses a while back.  She explained it all to me.

It turned out…I didn’t know a thing!

I will not go into detail, but Christi’s Dad and Pastor Steve were always at odds with each other.  Therefore, Steve had been hurt and he could never receive anything from them.

Then Pastor Steve and Christi’s mom talked and got into an argument.  And Pastor Steve was in the wrong in what he said, but he has his opinion.  So Christi’s family and Ryan’s family would hang out together and just talk.  Pastor Steve accused them of having secret meetings in which they were talking bad about the church.

There is obviously a lot more to the story, but to sum it all up, Christi’s family was kicked out of the church.

And that is why I haven’t seen much of Ryan and Amy, or of Veronica and her family.  They still come off and on, but not regularly like before.

I ate lunch with Shirley and Veronica and then I left.  I stopped by to see Scott, but he was at work and wouldn’t be at youth group tonight.  I got all that information from his mother, who was headed out the door when I showed up.

So, I drove off.  I thought about going to see Christi or Ryan and Amy, but I wasn’t sure.

Truthfully, I was scared.  I didn’t want to face the present.  So, instead, I went to visit them in the past.

I went to San Lee Park.  Earlier in 1993 the youth group was there one day and Christi and Ryan were practicing their skit which they choreographed and performed to The Power of One soundtrack.  

I remember last spring when I watched them.  Christi had a pair of cut off jean shorts.  They were cut so high the pockets were hanging out of the front.  I sat there on that fresh soft green grass so many months ago and I watched those two girls dance.

Today, I walked through the cold winter air onto that same patch of grass.  I looked down and became very aware that the grass was dead.

The grass had died.

I walked around some more and thought about everything.  Then I asked myself, “What am I doing here?”

Suddenly, I knew the answer.  I want so much to hold onto the past, but I can’t.  It is dead.

It died like the grass.  The brown, dry, ugly grass.

I left San Lee Park.

And I decided to go to Wayne’s house.  It was around 4:45 p.m.

I stayed there.  I was going to take him to youth group.  While there, Jenna called and I talked to her and Tenielle.

They are my friends, nothing more.  We had a nice conversation, and then we went to youth group.  Their mom’s transmission messed up, so they couldn’t come to youth group.

At youth group, we prayed and learned and had a great time.  Cheryl was there and she said that her and Ryan had gotten in a fight.  She didn’t tell me what about.  

After youth group, I took Wayne home and then I went home.  Once I got here, at 10:00 p.m., I called Ryan and Amy and talked to them both.  I miss them so much.  Ryan told me about their fight.  It’s sort of major, but I’m sure they’ll get over it.  It was just a misunderstanding.

They said they would be at church tomorrow.

As will I.

Another Sunday.  Another service.  Hopefully not another day of hurt.

November 14, 1993 – Sunday – 10:38 p.m.

I can’t believe it.  It happened.  It has been a year.  Fifty-two weeks ago, I started writing My Book of Days.

Yesterday, I went out on the bus ministry at church.  Ah, the projects.  I often think I don’t have much and that we are poor, but then I see how others live and I understand that I am beyond blessed.

So, Kevin came back from for the weekend last night.  I was talking to him about Rebecca and he told me that he liked her.  Evidently he met her at cross-country meets earlier in the school year.  It didn’t bother me.

Church was wonderful today.  I went into children’s church.  I wasn’t supposed to, but I had to take someone’s place, which meant I was actually there when Ryan and Cheryl were.  They told me that all they want (and what all women want) is romance, attention, and sensitivity.  If that is the case, I should be okay when it comes to the finding a wife down the road.  I sure hope they know what they’re talking about.

After church, I was talking to Shirley (Veronica’s mom) and she said she was pregnant.  They evidently been wanting that to happen for a while.  Praise God it did.  She was so happy.

I didn’t go home after church.  I went with Cheryl, Ryan, Amy, Jill, and Marcus to Mr. Gatti’s.  Afterwards, we went to Ryan and Amy’s house.  We watched a little bit of Far and Away.  

Tomorrow is our Pastor’s birthday, so we had a little fellowship thing after church tonight.  It was a nice time.  He is 41.

So it’s been a year.  Since this is a special occasion, I’m going to look back through my journals and copy here some of my favorite things that I’ve written or quoted:

“These are the best days of my life and I will take them one day at a time.”

“And she is eleven.”

“Is your dad a thief?”

“I’m still laughing, why?”

“If only I knew.”

“I fell straight on my knees, and then on my face.”

“And the plot of my life thickens.”

“Stay a child, while you can be a child.”

“Time is just a fragment of man’s imagination; it doesn’t really exist.”

“Poof!  It’s over.”

“Dare to be happy!”

“And being so in love you can hardly eat.”

“Winter Dreams are things you want so bad, but deep down you know you’ll never get them.”

“Maturity is learning what to do with your free will.”

“The party is over and I have no one to talk to.”

“How can I see so far?”

“My ears are starving for some honesty?”

“Man does not live, he just survives.”

“I didn’t pinch her to hurt her.”

“If only the sun would set.”

“Life is simply a collection of greetings and farewells and the love you share in between.”

And now another year has begun…