October 13, 1997 – Monday – 9:50 p.m.

Life is so wonderful that it bothers me.  Justin, Vince, Curtis, Ellen, Ann-Marie and myself  went to see Seven Years in Tibet last night.  Brad Pitt acted beautifully.

All of the guys went to the bathroom afterwards, then we ran out because some guy in the stall let out the loudest exploding fart.  We felt to bad for laughing at a stranger.  We talked and laughed about it the whole way home.

We started our rehearsals for Masks today.  It went really well and everyone seems excited.  I can’t wait!

Horsemanship class was awesome today.  It was our last class and I’m going to miss Bay Lady.  Brooke invited me over to her apartment anytime.  She was the one who drove me to class every day.  Perhaps I’ll go.

The Misanthrope rehearsals began tonight.  Alceste is a neat character.  After rehearsal, I took Mason and Emily out for dessert at The Corner Palate.  I have had the best time working with them.  Our scene goes up on Wednesday.

Also on Wednesday we leave for Hilton Head, SC.  It’s the whole Bible Study group!  All the guys, all the girls, it should be fun.

I think I’m going to spend Thanksgiving here so I can spend some time with Sharon and also Marisa; her family is coming up here for Thanksgiving.

Josh had to go to the hospital this morning for some odd reason.  I went to see him and held his hand while he got a shot in the butt.  Poor guy.  I love that little dude.

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September 4, 1997 – Thursday – 10:00 a.m.

It’s been a year now since that wonderful moment when I rode in Sharon’s truck with Hannah asleep in my lap.  Vince and Laura were beginning a relationship that is nearly ruined now.

Fall auditions are over and I got the lead role in The Misanthrope.  Pretty exciting I guess.  Thanks God!

The Misanthrope may be the last show I do here at Lees-McRae.  I’m directing a one-act next semester and I’m not sure if I’ll have the time to be in the next show in the spring, but we’ll see.

While here, I’ve played a singing knight in Once Upon A Mattress, a nervous messenger in Antigone, a gay orderly in Bearclaw, a grumpy old man in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, and a lovesick speech therapist in Children of a Lesser God.

The only experience I had prior to Lees-McRae was church drama.  It’s safe to say that college has taught me much.

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.

June 19, 1997 – Thursday – 11:37 p.m.

Vacation Bible School has both begun and ended since my last entry.  I was in charge of the dramatic elements.  I wrote a play and played the main character.  It went well.  The kids seemed to love it.  This evening Vince and I went over to Sharon’s.  Hannah and I played a lot of games.  Simple fun!

Four years ago on this historic day, I was saying goodbye to Emily at Deep Creek near Bryson City, NC.  There are some things in life that can’t be explained.  Emily is one of them.  She is my life’s great mystery.

June 15, 1997 – Sunday – 9:15 a.m.

Yesterday was one of the best days of the summer so far.

I was allowed to eat breakfast in the cafeteria that morning since I worked Orientation.  I ate with two different families.  They asked me questions about the school and about me.  It was fun talking to them.

For the rest of the morning I sat at a desk and checked people out of their rooms.  I helped a mother measure her daughter’s room to she could hang curtains for her, then we ate lunch together.  There was a drawing for a $200 scholarship.  I drew the name and it was Monica from Houston, Texas.  She was happy and thanked me.

After lunch, I drove her and Amber to Johnson City, TN.  I had such a wonderful time.  Our drive was really nice.  We talked the whole hour and a half drive.  Amber is engaged and Monica has a crooked chin like me.  I felt so comfortable with them.  We had a nice time to spare, so we went to the mall.  Monica bought some CDs and we looked at some tennis dresses.  Some were hanging up high and we couldn’t reach them, so Monica bent down on one knee and I tried to jump up off her other knee, but I missed and knocked a whole bunch of other clothes down.  We all had a great laugh.

We ate lunch in the mall and had 11 cent ice cream cones.  Amber and Monica were amazed at how nice people were here.  They were impressed with how nice I was.  They really seem to love the simplicity of the land.

We put a quarter in the little machine that would tell us if we were underweight or overweight.  They were within their ideal weight, but I was 21 pounds underweight.

I dropped them off at the airport after the mall.  My drive home was so nice.  I put the radio on a Christian radio station and just relaxed.  The mountains were so big and green.  Small rain drops decorated my windshield.  Knowing I just made two new friends, replaying in my mind what we did that day: throwing a Nerf football in the toy store, watching them as they modeled a bunch tennis dresses for me (they looked amazing in each one), and me getting toilet paper for Amber from the guys’ bathroom at a run down gas station.

I really had no idea how to get home.  I was a little lost, but finally found my way through the Eastern Tennessee country side.  As I was driving into North Carolina, I kept thinking of Sharon and her girls and how Hannah begged for me to come over last Sunday, but I was busy.  So, I thought I would surprise them.

They were having a cookout for Father’s Day and for Sharon’s dad’s birthday.  They invited me to stay.  The food was delicious.  After dinner, Hannah and I went for a walk down to the Snowflake Inn.  I hadn’t been there since Vince was looking at Melissa, I was looking at Laura, and Hannah, well she was leading the way.

But this time it was just Hannah and I.  How beautiful that little cabin is.  I long for it to be my home.  Hannah and I opened a window and looked inside.  And all I could think was, “Jessica sure would like this place.”

We took a longer walk back and Hannah kept trying to push me in all the mud puddles.  I kept trying to jump out of the way.  We couldn’t stop laughing.  Just an 11-year-old and a 20-year-old as free as they could be.

I left their house at 8:15 p.m. on June 14, 1997.  I came home and fell asleep, but Samarah called me asked me if I could stay with Mangus.  I did.  I slept over there and awoke to the tall oriental cat licking the sleep out of my eyes.

Father’s day of 1997!  What a lovely life I’m living.

June 8, 1997 – Sunday – 5:23 p.m.

Yeah baby!  The weekend was so great!  I am a Promise Keeper!!  A stadium of 60,000 Christian men singing praises to one God!  A night spent in a beautiful Victorian Bed & Breakfast!  Charlie, Vince, and Allen right next to me, plus new friends I made from the trip!  Whew, walls were torn down.

Redemption!  I am free at last!

I will live in purity.  I will read, pray, and fellowship!  I am alive in Christ!!

When I returned home I read chapter 17 from Max Lucado’s God Came NearEternal Instants.  You know, the moments so perfect that the whole universe stands still to notice.  I can think of many right now, and I’ve only been alive for a little over 20 years.

Sitting in the treehouse on Hemlock Hill on a snowy night listening to Braveheart.

Crystal rubbing my neck at the drive-in in Tennessee.

Talking to Emily under the boardwalk in Ft. Walton Beach.

Touching Abigail’s face in McAlister room 206 on Lees-McRae’s campus.

Kissing Jeni in Cincinnati, Ohio while listening to The Wedding Song by Kenny G.

Playing underneath the full moon with Dan and Allen on the back side of Grandfather Mountain.

Holding a curled up Tenielle on her bathroom floor.

Performing “The Mask Skit” at Abundant Life Christian Center.

Eating Wheat Thins and slowly falling asleep next to Jessica under God’s open starry sky.

Playing water guns with Jonathan, Mike, Marcus, and Kevin.

Tubing down Deep Creek with Danny and Peter.

Holding Syndi under the waterfall.

Passing a car in the turning lane with Jonathan.

Helping a lost boy find his mother at Fishnet.

Playing Myst with Vince in New York.

Helping Ryan in and out of the corner tree.

Standing next to the Grand Canyon with Brandon.

Graduating high school and seeing Renee smile at me.

Signing my way through Children of A Lesser God.

Singing with 60,000 men in Knoxville.

And that eternal instant right before I fall asleep each night, when I reflect on the beauty of each amazing day!

Oh wait, and how could I forget, perhaps the most perfect moment of all, riding back from Tennessee with Sharon as Hannah fell asleep in my lap.

May 30, 1997 – Friday – 5:31 p.m.

Last night Vince, Allen, Laura, Sharon, and Bob and I went to Hannah’s graduation from Crossnore Elementary School.  Crossnore is a public school, yet they handed out Bibles to the 5th grade class and said prayers throughout the service all night long.  They even pray every morning there.  It’s so nice to know there are still small corners of America that remain untouched by the world around them.

The program was great and it’s so awesome to see Hannah growing up right before my eyes.  I feel like I’ve been a part of her life.  She just lights up when she sees me.  She’s the greatest!

Nearly a year ago I was at another graduation:  Lee Senior for Ryan and Christi.  Christi is now covered in 2nd degree burns and Ryan is supposedly 17 miles down the mountain at App. State, but I have yet to see her.

I have not seen the sun for the past week.  We’ve been covered with rain clouds.

One more day remains in May.  1997 is nearly half over.

Sherry won’t be here this summer.  She left after the first semester last year.  Jeni, however, is doing the first summer theater show.  She says she wants to move here permanently.

Hmm.  Some leave and never say goodbye, and others you can’t seem to say goodbye to.

I really miss the Internet.  The computer lab isn’t open for summer classes yet.  I miss chatting with MovieMark.

I’m going to try to return to Siler City in the middle of July to see Rebecca St. James in concert.

And then I turn 21 nearly a month later.