December 11, 1997 – Thursday – 7:30 p.m.

I went to our Team Meetings last night.  I saw Sarah there.  We were in The Pinnacle Room since it was the Department’s Christmas Party.  After a while of talking with other people and eyeing Sarah out of the corner of my eye all night, I finally went up to her.  She hugged me and I asked her if she wanted to go for a walk later on.  She said yes.

It was a cold and windy night, but the near full moon, diffused through the clouds, lit the world for us.  Bundled up, we walked to Banner Elk Park.  We had fun.  There was a lot of laughter and a lot of playing.  We were on the playground and she mentioned how everyone in the Performing Arts Department thinks we are going out.

“I’m sorry,” she said.

That made me feel like the idea of us together was a bad idea to her.

“I guess we need to talk about that?” I asked.

“Yeah.”

I went on to tell her how confused I was since I was leaving in five months.  She said she understood.  I asked her to help me in my confusion, but she said she couldn’t.

Wonderful Eternal Instances passed by as we continued to play, but we also found time to be still as we viewed the sky and moon above our small silent souls.

We ended up in a tiny cubbyhole only big enough for the two of us.  And there with her I could be myself.  My soul can go free when I’m with Sarah.

A second passed where I wanted to kiss her, but I felt what we had was going to fade into a lasting friendship and not a romantic one, so I wasn’t too sure if I should kiss her.

She noticed by confusion and asked what was wrong.

I told her.

“Why aren’t you sure if you should kiss me?”

I couldn’t answer.  I was speechless.  I wanted her so badly that I froze.

Forever passed.

“Well here’s my face,” she said.

. . .

Her face is so soft and her lips are so amazing.  I’m not sure how long we kissed, but she had a rehearsal to go to, so we had to walk back to campus.

I returned to my room and three hours went by.  All of that time was spent talking with friends.  Ann-Marie was there, as well as some of the guys.  Ann-Marie stayed until 12:30 a.m. and we talked about the weird and wonderful way we think.

After she left I stripped down to my underwear and jumped in my bed.  Before I even thought about turning off my light, I called Sarah.

Jaminda and Sherlive were there in her room with her.  She said the three of them were having girl talk.  An hour of conversation passed by and during that time Sarah asked me to write down Exodus 23:20.  I could hear Jaminda and Sherlive in the background and they were telling metaphorical stories that made me think Sarah actually wanted our relationship to grow, despite the fact that I would be graduating soon.

I couldn’t handle it anymore.  Finally I said, “Sarah, I’m crazy about you.  I know I’m not here for very long, but I want you.”

A weird sound came from her voice.

“Why didn’t you tell me this on our walk?”

“I don’t know, I lose my mind when I’m with you.”

“Well…”

“Oh no!  I’m freaking you out aren’t I?”

“No, no, no, I’m just really surprised you feel this way.”

“You are?”

“Yeah!!!”

“Well, how do you feel?”

“Well…” she began.

I listened.  And she spoke a series of words that I will never forget.

“I love you Jacob.  And I don’t mean “love” like I love all my friends.  I mean I love you.  I love you.”

I’ve never been shot, but it can’t feel much different.

And I love her too.  I told her.  I jumped out of bed and bundled up again.  We met halfway between our dorms super early on this Thursday morning.  We hugged and kissed at the intersection of the college store and said a prayer before we said goodnight.

When I got back to my bed, I looked up the verse Sarah gave me, “See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared.”

 

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December 7, 1997 – Sunday – 11:00 a.m.

I am on duty, so I couldn’t go to church this morning.  I slept in on this morning and basically just abided in the Lord’s presence and thought about Him and my life.

My how things have changed.

Over the past five years my thoughts have changed from Veronica to Ryan to Christi to Jenna to Tenielle to Jeni to Christi to Syndi to Laura to Abigail to Jessica to Sherlive to Abigail and now to Sarah.

I called Marcus yesterday.  We had a great talk and I told him about Sarah.  He was amazed.

Sarah and I were at the basketball game together yesterday.  We talked about some pretty deep stuff last night.  She has so many stories inside her.  Some sad, some happy, some romantic, some hilarious.  And she is slowly telling all of them to me.

Our relationship is not a “boyfriend/girlfriend” relationship.  It is a “God has allowed us to share our existence together for a short while” relationship.

I am happy and very content.

I don’t see the other girls as much these days.  But like I said, “things change.”

Dan, Allen, Vince, Curtis, and Justin are the greatest guys in the world.  I’m living a wonderful life, and I’m living it for God.  Thank you for my salvation Lord!  Thank you for my life in you!  You are all that matters.

November 26, 1997 – Wednesday – 10:50 p.m.

I am amazingly happy right now.  It is the day before Thanksgiving.  Sarah and I, plus Sherlive, Vince, and Curtis went to see George of the Jungle.  It was so funny.

Sarah and I seem to say more in our silent glances than we do through spoken words.  She is from God.  I know it because all good things come from the Lord.

Marisa came up today!  She hugged me so tight.  I took Vince to the airport in his car, then went to see The Rainmaker.  I love going to the movies alone.  I get there early, sit on the front row, stare up at the blank screen, and just dream.

It was an awesome, awesome movie!  I just praised the Lord the whole way home.  I love good movies and can’t wait to make my own.

I drove through the darkness of the mountains that make up my beautiful home and just felt completely wonderful.  I still feel wonderful.

I have friends, mountains, movies, a church that feels like family, and now there is a girl who looks at me in a way that melts me to the core.

I know nothing about the world.

I just know I am loved.

And I love my God who freely gives all this to me.

September 28, 1997 – Sunday – 1:40 a.m.

I’m in my room again.  The drives to Louisville and back were as much fun as any time we spent there.

I have grown accustomed to my new apartment.  It is now my place, my room, but I couldn’t call it my home.  Lees-McRae is my home, and this is simply my room.

After I got back from Kentucky, I went down to Cannon lobby and discovered that a lot of people were down there singing praises to our God!  Abigail had some friends up and Tracey’s family was there.  I joined in and it was a wonderful time of song.  Abigail’s face was a huge and constant smile.  I could see in her eyes how special those two people were to her.  She was amazingly happy and that happiness had nothing to do with me.  That’s probably how it will always be and how it should always be.

Jeni is going to Banner Elk Christian Fellowship tomorrow.  She is excited about seeing David, I think something nice happened between them while I was gone.

I saw an unbelievable Kentucky sunset a few hours ago.  It really was an amazing drive home.  Dr. and Mrs. Martin told Charlie and I the story of how they met, it was just a couple of days into their Freshmen year of college.

I was reading a little bit out of my older Books of Days.  I read about Jenna and Tenielle and about lost keys and alphabets.  How crazy and different I seemed back them.  But that was me then and it isn’t me now.

It made me realize that very soon all of these girls here at Lees-McRae will simply be stories in My Book of Days.  But they haven’t completely faded from my heart into the pages of my journal just yet.  I still remember Jeni’s long, soft legs and the curves of Abigail’s face.  I still dream of Jessica’s hair, Ann-Marie’s smile, and Ellen’s laugh.  These girls mean more to me than I ever let them know.

Then there are the new girls like Sarah and Sherlive, whose college experience will continue on without me.  Every night I go to bed so thankful, so thankful for an extra day with these beautiful women and my fantastic guy friends.  They are bringing me closer to God.  God is loving me through them.

Lees-McRae is passing and I know I’ll be able to let it go.  These people here are everything to me.  When we reach the other side, I’m sure one of the first things I’ll do is look for them.

I have been here simply to love

To witness and experience joy and fun

Soon I’ll leave calmly like a dove

The way night does when day is done.

September 25, 1997 – Thursday – 4:40 p.m.

Life is good.  I did a lot of research on church drama this morning.  I am now on the judicial committee since I’m an RD.  We saw some students today; pretty rough stuff.

My rehearsals with Emily and Mason are so much fun.  We are going to have the greatest scene ever.

And even in the busyness of this day, I found time to stare at the sky and the ground.  I stopped by Tennessee Dorm where Dan and I roomed together for a month, where Jeni spent a week, and where Sherlive spent a night.  Then I picked a flower and walked towards McAlister.

On the way there, I stopped at the cemetery next to the Presbyterian church.  I walked through slowly and stopped at the gravesite of the founder of this great institution.  There, at the tombstone of Edgar Tufts, I set my flower.

I then sat on a stone and examined the world around me.  I saw a leaf walking along the pavement.  I never knew leaves could walk, but it moved along as if it knew where it was going.  Then I stood and started walking and wondered if I was really walking, or if maybe some great wind was pushing me along as well.

September 7, 1997 – Sunday – 12:49 p.m.

Around four o’clock Friday afternoon I made my departure from the grand state of North Carolina in Sherlive’s red Nissan.  I sat alone in the back.  We drove into Tennessee while Anna, a freshman from New York, sat in the passenger’s seat.

Sherlive has quite an interesting family.  Her mother looks like her eyes are always closed.  She is constantly taking pictures and rambling.  But she is very loving.  Sherlive’s father, with his super deep voice, always begins each sentence with “when I was a boy.”  He cooked enough food for an army, but lives in yesterday.  Then, Mikayla, Sherlive’s 3-year-old adopted sister, clung to me like her long lost brother.  She’s a wonderful little girl and a great new friend.

After dinner on Friday night, we went to an Elizabethton High School football game.  Sherlive wanted to see some old friends and see the high school band, one she used to be a part of.  The game was okay, I was just kinda amazed by the whole high school scene.  I feel old.

Sherlive, Anna, and myself got into some deep conversations about life, love, and relationships.  After halftime we ended up at a coffee shop in Johnson City.  Anna is this cute little 100% Greek girl who feels more like someone’s grandmother instead of an 18-year-old, but I mean that in a cool way.

Dan met us Saturday morning to go hiking with us.  He ate breakfast with us too; a huge amount of food made by Sherlive’s dad.  We went to Blue Hold and then to Red Fork Falls, at least I think that’s what it was called.  They were really pretty places.  I took some pictures.

Sherlive is such a funny little nutcase.  She goes rock climbing in her bare feet and Dan says “Hey is Blue Hole cool?”

“No, it’s cold.” she says.

Dan looks at me funny.  “Okay, well, is it rad?”

“No, it’s blue!”

Dan and I burst out laughing.  Then, after Sherlive has been stuck on the side of the cliff for about 30 minutes, Dan just jumps up and runs towards it and scurries up it like a squirrel.  He reaches the top that Sherlive has been trying to climb to in two seconds.  Oh, Sherlive was so mad, she just screamed bloody murder.

In the middle of all the beautiful scenery, Dan and I just broke free, ran around, and laughed our butts off everywhere we went.  We stuck our heads out the window whenever we were in the car and just hooted and hollered the whole day.  If I wrote down every funny thing we said, oh, this book would be full.

Linda visited me last night.  We sort of got caught up on our Box Office talk.  And Marisa called me last night.  She said she just wanted to hear my voice.

Church was amazing this morning.  I cried.  Heaven is a guarantee.

Abigail and Ann-Marie both come to Heaton now.  Our college age group is so huge.

Friends.  What an amazing concept.  I would do anything for these people.

I would live.

I would die.

September 5, 1997 – 12:30 p.m.

One of the greatest gifts God has ever given his creation is words.

Words.

You are amazing God.

It is thirty minutes past high noon.  Another day has already passed its halfway mark.

I proposed to put the Emmanuel Players old Mask Skit in the Fall Dance Concert.  I had to type up a proposal and deliver a presentation to the Performing Arts Department.  They approved it and want me to do it.  So the Mask Skit will live again.  I will have a completely different cast, but the Emmanuel Players will never die.  The dance concert opens in October.

There are so many stories here.  The new freshmen have such lives, such eyes.  I am slowly being introduced to each one.  They don’t know how much I watch them, how I study their faces and reactions.  I examine each word and expression.  God, you created so many amazing people.

This weekend, or this evening rather, I’m leaving with Sherlive and another girl to go to Sherlive’s house.  Tonight we’ll go to a football game and on Saturday Dan will meet up with us and we’ll go hiking in the Eastern Tennessee wilderness.

Marisa and I still email and write.  She is coming up here in four weeks.  I can’t wait to see her.  Lindy was cast as my love interest in The Misanthrope.  That should be fun.  And Dawn made a proclamation of her faith in our Acting and Directing classes today.  She says she is finally making God her number one.

My horsemanship class is so amazing.  My horse is Bay Lady, she was Jeni’s horse when she took the class back in 1994.

Speaking of Jeni, girls just don’t make a very good god.  Our relationship seems so long ago and I easily made her my number one during that season.  Whatever is number one in your life is your god.

Nothing will ever replace you Father!