August 12, 1998 – Wednesday – 1:10 a.m.

The 11th of August was an amazing day!  I woke up, went for a prayer walk around the campus, and read and studied my Bible until I went to work at the bookstore, where I trained with David.  I went to see Saving Private Ryan, and then went to a girl named Cindy’s house and helped her move.  I came back to my apartment and had an awesome prayer time with Matt, my roommate and two other students named Jeff and Jason.  God showed up, cleansed my heart, and I felt forgiven and fantastic!

Saving Private Ryan was beyond fantastic!

“Earn this.”

Jesus died for me, but no matter what I do, I can never do enough to earn this grace he has freely given me.  It is his to give, not mine to earn.  For some odd reason, I have found favor with him.

And he just told me that I was already worth dying for.

So, he is definitely worth living for.

August 18, 1995 – Friday – 11:58 p.m.

My birthday ended about 24 hours ago.  I am 19-years-old.

And yesterday was an amazing day!

It began with a call from my mother.  Besides her, the only other person to say hello to me was Michelle.  But that evening, the whole Residence Life staff brought me a chocolate cake to me that said “Happy Birthday, Steven Spielberg!”  They surprised me greatly!  Ever since Charlie heard I wanted to make movies, he sometimes calls me Steven Spielberg.

I was given three parties for my birthday this year.  Wow!

The past couple of days, Charlie, my RD, has really been pushing me to get the residence hall together.  He said that all of the others were better, so I worked on decorating and added a few things to make it feel like a home to the incoming students.  Allison and Craig came over and took a look and said it was by far one of the best ones.  Allison and Craig are the two top RDs.  They were married back in May!

Today we all had a picnic at Wildcat Lake!  A great time.

Tonight I went with Kate and Charlie to rent some movies.  We rented School Ties and Legends of the Fall.  I just got back.

Things should be pretty slow tomorrow, but then new students arrive on Sunday!

June 9, 1995 – Friday – 10:00 p.m.

Last night Jonathan and I went to Fayetteville.  He got his nose pierced.  It thrilled me to watch someone experience something I will never do.  I just observed, so thankful to not need anything like that to bring me a sense of identity.  While waiting, a friend of Jonathan’s named Tammy walked in.  They knew each other from Pembroke.  They ran to each other and hugged each other.  She is around 24 and seems fun.

Jonathan shaved Kevin’s head.  He has no hair.  In a way it’s ugly and in a way it’s cool.  I got a good laugh.

Work was very hard today.  Ruth is getting on my nerves.  She threw her keys at me today.  I was angry, but I tried not to show it.

However, when I came home, joy was found in my mailbox.  I received my ticket for The Secret Garden on August 14th, the day I head back home, and a beautiful letter from Emily.  I’ll write it in my journal:

“Jacob,

Well, I am sitting in the middle of Hurricane Allison.  It is a rather exciting experience.  It is common here.  Everyone is taping up windows and gassing up their cars.  You should have seen the sky.  It was pink everywhere, with a sort of orange tint.  The moon was a giant crescent.  It was amazing!  I could see both the sun and the moon at 7 o’clock.  Now it is almost midnight and the air is dead.  I’m sitting outside waiting for the rain to come.  I love rain…it makes everything clean and soft and smooth.  The smell is wild!!  It’s almost like the ocean missed with blood.  Death is in the forecast.  It’s really eerie, but much to my amusement.

School was over May 26.  I’ve been silently going crazy with boredom.  I’m going to Michigan on June 12 and will return June 22.  I really need this vacation.  My sister is getting married July 8.  I’m throwing her a bachelorette party.  The rest of July, all I’m doing is volleyball and lifeguard school.  August is open except for volleyball.  I will be home, but I have practice everyday besides Saturday and Sunday.  If you can come I would be more than happy to make sure you have the best time of your life.  You will probably only want to come for four or five days.  There’s not much to do here and I will be at practice six hours a day.  There is stuff for you to do while I’m at practice though and I have plenty of friends who would be more than willing to entertain you.  I would really love for you to come.

I’m very pleased to hear about Jonathan.  He sounds like a fantastic guy.  I want to meet him some day.  I hope everything at home and work is going well for you.  I pray that you are the happiest person in the world!

I have been doing absolutely wonderful.  My mom and I are great.  My sisters treat me like a normal person again, and my dad is so fun.  My friends are really great, too.  My eyes have been shining so bright lately.  I smile all the time.  I am so happy.  I know who I am, what I want, and how to get it.  It feels good to feel good.  I had a problem caring for a while, but I recognized my problem and now I’m Emily!  Thank God that trial is over.

Don’t you love to smile?  It can change everything between two people.  When you see a stranger and smile they have a better day than if you would have frowned.  Just a simple smile can warm the cruelest of hearts.  It can do so much.  A teacher told me how much my smile made him feel so much better every day, because I was never sad.  He admired my smile often.  He was a good man.  Anyone who flatters me is good!  Ha ha!

Jacob, I love you!  I’m so happy I can just write anything and you will know its who I am and take it for what it is and not try to analyze it to death.  I hate people who over-analyze things and have totally opinionated conversations.  You’ve never been like that.  Thank you so much.  Here comes the rain!!  I have to go dance in it…

Don’t forget to dream of me!

I love you!

Your Angel, xxoo”

I smiled.

Emily?

What will become of you and I?

Some nights when Jonathan is out and Mike is working, I think of who I can call, but I have hardly no other friends I can turn to.

This Sunday marks the 13th anniversary of when E.T. opened in theaters on June 11, 1982.  Spielberg wanted a friend, someone to talk to.  That is why he made E.T.  He made it for himself.  E.T. came to this world by accident and he was eager to leave.  I wonder if after he went back to his home, his planet, if he realized that Earth was the better place to be.

I need my E.T.

I need my friend.

They call me E.T. at work because of my long neck.  Perhaps I need my Elliot, a friend to help me along on this strange planet.  I have one, his name is Jesus.  I love him.

How lovely that Emily’s initials are E.T.  She doesn’t even have a middle name.  We are both aliens.  She is my other red light in outer space.

This E.T. needs to go home.  Siler City has nothing.  Banner Elk has everything.

But before I can return to Banner Elk, it is my turn to see Emily smile.  That is my goal, then I’m confident the rest of my life can continue.

January 21, 1995 – Saturday – 8:00 p.m.

sibling-rivalries-legends-of-the-fall

I saw a movie today.

It was one of the saddest movies I have ever seen.

Jeni began crying about five minutes after it started and she did not stop until the end.  But I did not cry until it was over.

Legends of the Fall was absolutely amazing.  It’s very hard to describe.  I don’t know where to begin, but in the movie Samuel Ludlow was killed in a battle during World War I.  It was a horrible death.  He was tangled up in barbed wire, blind, and blown to pieces by a machine gun, all before his brother’s eyes.  This happens pretty early in the movie and the main story is about how the surviving brother deals with all the trauma.

But after the movie was over, I was watching the credits and I saw a name:  Henry Thomas.

“Henry Thomas,” I said to Jeni.  “That’s Elliot in E.T.”

Jeni looked at me.

“I don’t remember seeing a little boy in this movie.”

Then I remembered a grin given by Samuel Ludlow.

Holy Cow.  E.T.’s little friend had grown up.  I instantly realized that it had been over 12 years since E.T. came out and that two soldiers had shot up innocent little Elliot!  I imagined E.T. seeing this horrific death and my eyes began to water.

Jeni was laughing at me, but I was balling like a baby.  The theater was empty.  The credits were rolling.  The lights had come on, and I was on the front row, crying my eyes out.

I couldn’t stop thinking about it and I cried the entire way home.

Jeni seemed a little embarrassed of me.

Every day I grow older.

And although I have my life planned out, I now see how it can easily change.

I am not my own.

Everything around me is covered with snow.  It is winter here and it can be seen.

But it is not winter in my heart.  It is springtime.  I am still young.  I am growing.

So little I have seen.

So much I never will.

Yet I continue to tell my small story.

I continue to tell my legend.

This young friend of E.T. is also growing older.

There are still some things to do and accomplish.

There is still a world he must save.

April 2, 1994 – Saturday – 9:05 p.m.

Today went well.

I’m sort of speechless now.  You’ll find out why later.

This morning the youth went out with the Bus Ministry to witness and minister.  It was mostly the youth who went.

I wrote Tenielle back and she read most of the letter while I put her clown makeup on.  It was nice being close to her.  She hugged me one time and some of her makeup robbed off on my shoulder.

Jenna was her regular self today; she was active and laughed a lot.  That’s the Jenna I like.

She told me that I was in one of my moods, which I was, mostly because Marcus was getting on my nerves.  But I’m sure that will blow over soon.

A couple of people got saved today!  Praise God!!

After it was over, I decided it was time.  Time to get away and just appreciate my world again.  I only had one evening, but I did it, and I did it alone.  I literally just went to Greensboro, but truthfully, I went to another world.  A world of the past.  I went to see Schindler’s List.

Needless to say, I appreciate my world again.  Everything looks beautiful to me now.

If you’ve seen this movie, then you’ll understand what I’m saying.

“One more person.”

I cried and cried.  After the movie I left the theater in a trance and stumbled into a Subway and into the restroom.  I just stared at myself in the mirror.  I could hardly move.  I finally made it back to my car and I just sat there for ten minutes with my body shaking and my teeth chattering.

By saving one man, you have saved the whole world in time.

What happens to me doesn’t matter.  There are people out there.  Hurting people who need to find just a little ray of hope.  They need to laugh and smile like I have done these past 17 years.

It’s not fair!  This world is all wrong.  But even in the midst of all the wars and all the evil and all the wrongdoing of man, here I exist.

Me.

One person.

Whose lives have I touched out of the billions that exist?  Whom out of those billions have touched my life?

Change the world!

I can only do that with love.

Love.

A love for everyone.

I appreciate this place again.

My life is too good.

So good, that I have plenty of goodness to give away.

So that’s what I’ll do.

I will give it away!

I will save the world by loving every person I come across.

Nothing else really matters.

All I have to do is love.

March 22, 1994 – Tuesday – 12:31 a.m.

The Oscars just went off.  Steven Spielberg’s two movies, Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List, together were nominated for 15 awards.  Ten of those 15 went to his movies.

And tonight Whoopi Goldberg said, “And to the kid sitting at home saying, ‘One day one of those is going to be mine.’ Well, you got it!”

Thanks Whoopi.

March 17, 1994 – Thursday – 10:50 p.m.

Considering I only got three hours of sleep last night, I’m really tired.

So, let me continue with last night.  Jenna was at church.  Tenielle wasn’t.  Jonathan was there and he flirted with Jenna.  It didn’t really bother me, because well, it’s hard to explain.

Something has happened between the two of us.  We’re still good friends, we still joke around.  We still throw each other these looks and lines, but in those looks there is a distance.  A distance greater than there was before.

Why?

I don’t know.

I suppose it is because we both know how we used to feel and how we feel now.

Tonight we had skit practice because we will perform at the youth explosion Saturday.  The whole youth group showed up since we needed everyone.  Jenna and Tenielle were there.  And tonight Jenna looked at me in one of the ways that she does, and she asked me a question, “Jacob, am I your friend?”  I nodded and said, “Yes, you are.”  She nodded and smiled back.

And in that we both knew that what used to be had changed and we are only good friends.  Which is more than I could have asked for.  There is a distance in our eyes now.  So, we are not meant to be.

Pastor Steve handed the skits over to me again.  We did the Mask Skit and the Abortion Skit.  Those are the ones we’re going to do on Saturday.  It was fun directing.  Jonathan kept calling me Jacob Spielberg.

Afterwards, Kevin, Scott, Jonathan and I went to Taco Bell and did crazy things.  Marcus had a track meet.  We had a blast.  I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much in one day.

It is the middle of March now.

Spring is here.

Winter is over.

In the winter of ’92-’93 I went through some complex times with Veronica.  Then spring came and so did Ryan.  My infatuation with her lasted through the spring and the summer and into the fall.  Throughout those seasons, Christi popped up every now and then.

She still does.

Then things changed.

Something happened.

The people who made my life so great went away.  Jason, Anne, Christi, Ryan, and so on.  They weren’t around as much.

The cold winter came and I was without them.  The winter.

But in that winter, I found two roses who kept my heart warm.

All the other flowers had faded.

My grasp on those two roses has loosened, but they’re encouragement is still greatly appreciated.

All they have to do is smile.

But now in the spring of 1994, there is no special flower to which a great portion of my attention goes.  They say flowers grow in the spring.  We will have to see.

In a way, I wish a new flower would grow.  One which I’ve never seen or known before.  But…we all know those kind only grow in the summer.