June 18, 2000 – Sunday – 4:07 p.m.

The week went by fast.  Work is fun.  Dan and I play chess a lot in the evenings.  Marie returns on Tuesday.

Trey, Kristen, and Mike took me down to North Carolina to pick up my new used car.  It’s a white 1992 Chevy Cavalier.  It drives nicely.

While there we visited Clay’s parents Barbara and Clyde, but Barbara wasn’t there, only Clyde and Eric.  Funny stuff happened, so funny that it can’t be translated and explained into these pages.

We walked along the railroad tracks near my old house.  Everything was so green and the fireflies were out.  I always thought I grew up in a flat land, but after living in Virginia Beach for two years, I now see how beautiful the rolling hills of my youth were.  Thank you God for letting me spend my childhood there.  It is such a perfect and precious gift.  No doubt you put those railroad tracks there just for me to have a clear path to wander down.

I am nearly 24-years-old now God.  I see now that you have never left me.  I am overwhelmed by your patience and beauty.

Trey, Kristen, Mike, and I stopped at a Starbucks in Chapel Hill on Franklin St. on the way back.  I’m so glad I didn’t go to a big state school like UNC.  Part of me is still trying to get over Lees-McRae.  Part of me is trying to succeed here.  And part of me just wants to relax and let all the days fade away.

I can’t believe it is June.  I miss Marie and just want to have a good conversation with her.  It has been difficult to have those over the phone recently.  She doesn’t seem comfortable talking with her parents there.

Time is passing.  But I will go on.  I work.  I write.  I read.  And I wait.

I also remember.  And I try to forget.

December 30, 1999 – Thursday – 1:30 p.m.

It is nearing closing time for the 1990s.  Well, for the 1900s, for that matter.  Wow, and even for the 1000s.

I’m listening to the nine compilation tapes I’ve made since 1993.  I’m simply celebrating and saying goodbye to the decade in which I came of age and learned who I was.

Seven years ago I was thinking about Veronica while Marie was finishing her first semester at Easter College.  That seems unbelievable to me.

Part of me regrets being so childish at the age of 16, but I am now 23, and it seems there is nothing wrong with staying a child just a little while longer.

Six years ago I was dreaming about Emily.

Five years ago I was realizing that life was changing and that the past never again could be.

Four years ago I was remembering only the love of the mid-90s.

Three years ago I was visiting old friends in High Falls, NC and then slept through the final hours of 1996, missing Christi’s birthday party.

Two years ago I was contemplating over Sarah.

And last year I was sitting in a small RV, reflecting back on a year of transition.

In between each of those years, I wrote out my hearts and thoughts in these pages.  I often wonder if through that process I am creating a trap for myself.  Am I forging memories that I’ll never be able to escape from?

No matter.  As I look back on 1999, every action I took lead me to Marie, and she is all I want now.

The emotion of the past is losing its value in its battle with the present.

Moments in my younger years that would have taken up pages of journaling are hardly mentioned now.  I want to focus more now on my identity in Christ.  Hopefully, that change will take place.

There is a day and I half left in the ’90s.  Thank you Lord for these years.  Thank you for Chatham Central, Abundant Life, Lees-McRae, Heaton, Regent, and Parkway.  Thank you for North Carolina.

Thank you for forgiving me for all of my mistakes.  Thank you for redeeming me.  Thank you for my faith.  I see now that I do not own anything here.  Everything belongs to you.  Help me to move forward in all that you have prepared and to not live in this decade any longer.

Thank you for both the old and the new.

December 31, 1998 – Thursday – 12:30 p.m.

It is the last day of the year.  Happy Birthday Christi!

And it is nearly the last day of the century.

Emily and I never went to a movie on Monday.  She left a message here on Wednesday night saying she had been in Atlanta for the past two days and now she is back in Tallahassee.  I flew down here from Virginia to see her and she goes to Atlanta, yet she writes letters to me saying, “In a perfect world, I could smell the salt of your skin.”

It doesn’t make any sense.  I want our story to be over.

So 1999 will begin soon.  I am going to spend the final night of this year at Brownsville Assembly of God.

Last night mom and I went to visit a local church and we ended up at Glad Tidings Assembly of God in Pace, FL.  There I met the oldest resident of Santa Rosa county.  She is 105 years old.

I often think that because I take the time to write my thoughts down on these blank pages that I’ve figured life out.  But then I look into the eyes of someone born in the 1890s and realize I don’t know anything.  She was all there too.  She had the clearest mind.  Oh God, may I get there some day.

I’ve found myself dreaming of Virginia Beach and Chesapeake.  It has happened again.  Another home has come.  I long for it now more than my mountains.

Oh Lord, don’t ever let me go.

I spent the first days of this year in Siler City and Sanford, then months in Banner Elk where I spent time with Sarah who decided to let me go before I would have to let her go.  I played Billy Bibbit on stage, spent a week in Kentucky, a weekend in Tampa, and thousand of moments with the greatest humans on the earth: Vince, Allen, Dan, Curtis, Tracey, Abigail, Ann-Marie, Josh, Ashley, Justin, Jessica, Lindy, Jeni and many more.  Jenny got married.  I graduated.  And I spent a month driving back and forth to Winston-Salem trying to hold onto a girl I knew was fading away.  I raised some money, flew to Africa, and returned to a brand new world of Christin, Sterling, and Kimberly; a world I now greatly miss.

I saw God move in South Africa, but as I grow older, I realize God is moving everywhere.

In addition to my one-act in the early months of the year, I also directed a beautiful Christmas show at Parkway Temple.  Regent allowed me to work on many film projects, and of course there was my job at the bookstore.  I visited Lynchburg, and now I am here in Milton, FL, where I rode with mom to New Orleans and saw the coast line in between.

I am 22-years-old.

The days are not getting any easier.

The days are not getting any longer.

All I can do is grab the hand of Jesus on one side of me, grab the hand of a good friend on the other side, and hope the rock on which we stand will remain.

The first days of 1999 will begin as the last days of 1998 are ending.  I’ll be attending the famous Brownsville Revival.

I fly out on the fourth and will land in the arms of Christin, for she is picking me up from the airport.

If all goes well, I hope to spend most of my days in Virginia Beach and Chesapeake during the final months of the century, for I have a very acute feeling that I won’t be there very long.

Heaven will be nice.

There are no goodbyes there.

December 17, 1997 – Wednesday – 8:30 p.m.

Nearly a week until Christmas and this is the final evening of my seventh semester at Lees-McRae college.  The fall semester of 1997 is almost over.

I spent some time last night with Abigail.  I told her the whole Sarah story and she shared some more with me about K.C.  She thanked me for sharing stuff like that with her.  What a good friend I have in her.  Thank you God for healing us.

And most of this afternoon and evening was spent with Sarah.  After she packed I held her in her bed.  She fell asleep, but I just kept watching her, touching her face and neck as she slept and made little snoring noises.

She is so beautiful.

She left this evening.  Just now, before I started writing, as a matter of fact.  We plan to see each other over the holidays.  I can’t wait!

This has been an amazing semester.  There were many great and favorite moments:

– Laughing with Dan and Sherlive about the blue hole thing

– Midnight bowling in Savannah and scoring a 224.

– The “Stand in the Gap” trip.

– Cantering with Bay Lady.

– A mute Abigail asking me to touch her face.

– Seeing “Masks” resurrected.

– Every minute of the Hilton Head Island trip

– November 22, 1997 and nearly every second since then when I was close to Sarah.

– And I can’t forget to mention, although I don’t think I ever wrote about it here in my journal, the time I held Sarah under a rainbow.

What a blessed semester this has been.  And I even had my own real Christmas tree!  I got to travel, direct and choreograph, act in a leading role again, and meet Sarah.

I have so much to love, so much to cherish, and it all comes back to Jesus.

Jesus, I love you so much.  Thank you for all you have given me.  You are my life.  You are my all.

Oh vast pursuing lover come.

October 1, 1996 – Tuesday – 6:20 p.m.

Antigone ended one year ago today.  I feel sad right now.  Not sure why.  Guess I’m just lonely.  No special person is near.  I try and force myself to like somebody, but nothing happens.  I can’t.

We went to the guys’ soccer game today.  We lost.

I remember when all the trees outside my window were the same green.  Now they are different shades of brown, red, yellow, green, and gold.

Everything is changing.

It all stays the same.

I speak words no one hears.

I hear words no one speaks.

No one wants to try.

No one wants to take that chance.

Is it because I’m skinny?  Too tall?  My crooked chin?  Am I too pale?  Am I too nice?  Too serious?

Where is she?

Where am I?

How can I be complete without my other half?

August 13, 1996 – Tuesday – 2:30 p.m.

Yesterday was my last day of summer theater, my last day at the box office, and simply the last day of the summer of 1996 for me.

Sure it will still be warm, but RA training starts today.  The school year has begun.  I consider it the fall.

Leonard helped me in the box office.  We were busy for a while.  Sharon and a friend came to the show last night.  She enjoyed it greatly.  She knows about my birthday this weekend and wants to throw me a party.  I am very busy though, so I hope we have time.

Crazy for You has been a wonderful show.  I ran the light board and felt like I was a part of the magic.  It was kind of sad to see it close.  I hugged most of the cast and crew last night.  I met so many people I will most likely not see again.  The wind will blow over them and they will be gone.

Dawn came to the show last night.  After strike, Allen and I met up with her and her friend Debbie.  We all went over to Tony’s house and watched Casper while I took care of Balki.  All four of us just squeezed onto the guest bed to watch it.  Debbie fell asleep and Dawn cried.  And I was simply happy to be that close to a girl who at one point in my life so graciously satisfied my hunger and thirst.

How strange life has become.

How remarkably terrifying.

But God is behind me.

He is for me.

So who can be against me?

Another summer.  A different one.

Day is light that lets you see the world as if flies by in front of you.

By now, I should have learned my lesson.

I need to stop and try to let go.

But instead, I reflect, remember, and fall in love with my memories.

Soon the day will come, when I can no longer remember.

And then, I shall fly away to heaven.

August 2, 1996 – Friday – 8:45 p.m.

I just did the most amazing thing.  I called Veronica.  Remember her?  In a month and half she turns 15-years-old.  She sounded older.  I didn’t recognize her voice.  She sounded beautiful.  They live in Hot Springs, Arkansas.  She told me it was really weird that I called her because she had just written me a letter two days ago, but hadn’t mailed it yet.  We had a fun conversation.  We laughed.  I talked to the rest of the family as well.  They are all doing great.

Then, Shirley asked me if I had any romantic relationships.  I told her no, then she went on and on about how beautiful and mature Veronica had become.  Shirley has gotten a job and works late, so Veronica cooks for the whole family and has become really good at it.

It was a great moment, simply to hear her voice again.

September 28, 1995 – Thursday – 12:05 p.m.

The show has been going great.  I get a lot of laughs.

I borrowed the Broadway recording of Beauty and the Beast.  It is so beautiful.  And it makes me think.  It is filled with such a romantic view of love and that is currently missing from my life.  I am around girls all the time.  I go out with different girls.  But there is no one here who I would even consider wanting to share a romantic relationship with.  I sometimes wonder if something so true and romantic could even happen in real life.  Does romantic love exist only in the movies?  Only in broadway musicals?

Even as I looked out from underneath the bridges of Chambers County in Alabama I looked forward to the days I would hold an angel.  But I departed Emily’s house in Crestview broken and at a loss.  Confused.  Hurt.  And sad.

But I survived and looked forward to returning to Lees-McRae.

That day came and Heaton Christian Church was there to welcome me.  And I now call this place home.

Crystal and Clifton threw me a birthday party.  RA training came.  Students came.

I looked for romance in Syndi and in doing so, I hurt James.

But peace was made between us.  Before that I spent four days in the high mountains, instead of sea level shores, with a soul that I still try to reach, but backs away.

photo

Sunlight dances on the waters.  Everything is perfect.  But nothing lasts forever.

Holding hands?  Yes.

Closeness?  Yes.

But only skin deep.

Not what I want.

New friends are made.  They make me laugh.  College life is simple and fun.  Charlie and I still have good conversations about our faith that helps us to grow.

Antigone arrives and I show my talent.  People I don’t even know come up to me and compliment me on a job well done.  I became the best RA.  I witness and minister to people.

I love my Jesus.

But I don’t know.  Sometimes I stop and I listen.  I look.  I stare.  I search.  I look for a perfect person, another soul out there that I can cling to.

Special moments come along, but in my mind I see a smile from Christi.

Beautiful girls are all around me, yet I remember the laughter from Ryan.

Why do I want something so far away and so long ago?

But even in the past I can’t find the perfect soul.

I only find that in Jesus.

I can’t even find that perfect person in myself.

I look for something true and pure, because I long to be true and pure.

Perhaps someone else is looking for someone true and pure?  Perhaps I can be that person for them?

If I can’t find her.

Then maybe she can find me.

There is no reason to live, if I can’t do it the right way.  If I can’t do it God’s way.  I do this for Him.

No pain could be deeper.

No life could be cheaper.

No point anymore, if I can’t do this for my Lord.

He has washed me clean.

Let me begin.

Jesus is next to me.

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August 12, 1995 – Saturday – 1:30 p.m.

Mom and I went shopping this morning.  I got a few things for school and she bought me some jeans.

Twenty-four hours from now I will be in Banner Elk.  My summer, the summer of 1995, is coming to a close.

Looking back through my Book of Days, I believe these were the highlights of the past three months: going to Myrtle Beach with Jonathan, Mandy, and Dana, talking to Emily for over two hours over the phone, seeing Braveheart with Mike, that long walk with my mom after seeing The Bridges of Madison County, being amazed by the fireflies at the railroad tracks, buying a “Homeboy 25 cent Bumpin’ Snack Stick”, meeting and flirting with Barbie at work, my amazing Fishnet experience, surviving days of eager anticipation, spending over four hours in Cusseta, Alabama desperately wanting to get to Emily, hugging Emily, looking into her eyes, touching her, seeing her smile, being confused, feeling broken, walking the streets of Crestview with her, seeing her crying place, and noticing each and every second of beauty that passed by.

The summer is over, but my adventure is only just beginning.

June 26, 1995 – Monday – 8:30 p.m.

Work was fun today.

This evening I read a lot out of my screenwriting book.  It made me want to begin to write my own screenplay.  So, I got out all of my old Books of Days and began to look for simple ideas.  What I found were my days with the Emmanuel Players.  It is hard to believe that chapter of my life began to fade away over two years ago.  It was during my junior year at Chatham Central High School.  Remember when I said that if God would let me, I would relive my Junior year over and over and never move on?  I wonder if I still find that true?

I read about Ryan.  I read about Christi.  I even read about Lees-McRae in the Fall of ’93.  That is so hard to believe.  I also read about Veronica.  I remember how close we had gotten right before I left for college on August 27, 1994.  There is a chance I might see her next month.  Tim says they are coming to visit.  Veronica is the same age as Tenielle.  Those days still affect me.

Jason, the director of Emmanuel Players, still inspires me.  I try to believe that it isn’t over, but it is.  I showed Jonathan the picture of all of us taken on taken back in 1992.  Over half of that group I hardly see anymore.

“Isn’t that sad…” I said.

His reply was, “No Jacob, poetically put, that is life.”

And it was then that I realized I would go through the pains of goodbye throughout my whole life.