May 13, 1999 – Thursday – 10:37 p.m.

My first year of graduate school is over.  Summer has arrived.  I have four truly treasured moments from the past year.  Kimberly telling me that I made her feel alive.  My aunt Patty singing the song she wrote about my grandpa.  Vince, Lindy, Tracey, and Justin talking over our random meal of chili, fish sticks, and spaghetti.  Finally, the night at the ice rink with all the teenagers.

Tonight I ate dinner with Gina and Chris at Ruby Tuesdays and then came back to watch Titanic.  I cried…again.  It’s good to know the movie still moves me after eight times.  I spent a little time with the girls over at Nicole’s place as well.  And I told Mary Jo about my weekend at Lees-McRae and how wonderful it was to see Sarah.

I find joy in writing her name.

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December 29, 1998 – Tuesday – 9:30 a.m.

It is nearing the end of the year.  I rest in Milton, Florida, USA, and these days force me to look back.

Nineteen Hundred Ninety-Eight.

Thoughts of Sarah, as well as saying goodbye to Lees-McRae, took up the first six months. I still long for that place, but I’m secretly and silently afraid to go back to visit, for I fear I might ruin it’s impact on my life and my heart.

There was a month of transition in the middle of this year through which I visited Texas and South Africa, with brief stops in New York and Miami.  Those were such perfect days.  I wish I could go back and stay in them a little longer, for they were simply too short.

Virginia Beach, Regent University, and Parkway Temple all immediately fell into my lap and my heart.  It seemed as though my collection grew overnight, and now it is the only home I long for.

I am enjoying my time off here, but my parents’ marriage, my stepfather’s need to explain everything, and my mother’s non-displays-of-affection towards her husband and myself still shock and hurt me.  I simply do not understand.  I stay silent.

Emily said she would call yesterday.  She did not.  She reminds me of Sarah.

I just want to do it right.  I want a true and simple love.

The tiny smile of Christin is all I need.

Since my first semester of graduate school is over, it is time to pick the most cherished moments of that time.  There are only two, and I was fully aware they were perfect moments while they were happening.

The first was on November 28, 1998, the Saturday evening I spent with Tracey.  It was the moment during Riverdance in which a gentlemen played a beautiful bagpipe sort of instrument and the entire world stopped.  The music brought peace to the entirety of my days and perfect love to my heart.  I had an old friend by my side and even older memories in my mind.  I had just seen Vince and Allen, a beautiful sunset, and fantastic fireworks.

Perfection.

The next one took place during the early morning hours of December 13, 1998.  My Heart Will Go On played over the credits of Titanic.  Sterling was asleep on one side of me, and Christin was asleep on the other.  Her beautiful face was on my chest and my fingers were in her hair.

Perfection.

And so, a few days of this year remain.

Can 1999 be so close?

What is happening to this world?

Jesus, you are my shelter.

You are all I seek.

Please guide me.

 

May 4, 1998 – Monday – 9:30 a.m.

Can it already be May?

This is my final week.

Saturday night, I went to see Titanic again.  I went with Summer from our Bible Study, she hadn’t seen it yet.  We had a wonderful time, and she cried her eyes out just like everyone else.

Yesterday I said my goodbyes to the church.  I cried during communion, and gave a little speech.  I told many families that I loved them dearly.

Sunday night, last night, Sarah and I, plus Lindy and Ann-Marie, went to see Les Miserables.  Not the musical, just the movie, but I didn’t really like it.  There’s no way you can fit that epic story into a two hour movie.  It didn’t even have Eponine.  The first half was okay, but the 2nd half was too vague.  The others liked it, but they haven’t read the book.

I’ve begun talking all of my eagles and such off of my walls.  I’m slowly packing up day by day.

Seven days.

It’s already come down to just seven days.

 

April 12, 1998 – Sunday – 10:12 p.m.

I’ve been working on my Titanic paper all weekend.  It is really good, possibly better than my first draft that sunk into the Atlantic.  I’m excited about sharing it during my Omega presentation.

Sarah left Friday morning to go home.  I miss her.  Today I went into her room to bring my paper up on her computer to work on it since my word processor no longer works.  As an RD I have a master key to everyone’s room on campus, but she said I could be in her room without her there.  And, well, I kinda did a bad thing.  I found her journal and I read some of it.  She hasn’t written anything since February, but it helped me understand where she was coming from.  I do love her so much.  Most of her entries about me were simply her amazement that I could love her as much as I did.  She stood in awe of our relationship because there were no lies and no games.  She also wrote how she was afraid that I was very sexual, for it appears she wished we were going further physically than we have been.  I think perhaps Wednesday night may have proved her wrong, of course there was no sex, but…oh Sarah is simply amazing!  I now wish I hadn’t read that part, for I want so desperately to stay pure until marriage.  I fear this new knowledge may give me permission to let my hands wander.  Oh, what if Sarah and I tried this whole life together.  How much fun would that be.

Oh God, be with us.  Help us.  Bless us.

Reading her journal was such a blessing because it show me how God was using me to bless her life just like he was using her life to bless mine.

I think we really do make a lasting impact on those we are with, for I talked to Shirley, Veronica’s mom, yesterday.  Everyone seems to be doing fine.  Veronica wasn’t there for me to talk with her, but her mom did say that she was telling her current boyfriend about me and what a positive force I was in her life.

Every moment matters.

April 7, 1998 – Tuesday – 11:00 a.m.

My senior thesis on Titanic sank into the abyss of an erased disk last night.  I was totally upset, for I was almost finished with the dozens and dozens of pages I had been perfecting all semester. Sarah tried to comfort me, but instead ran off to Dairy Queen and didn’t even invite me.  Why am I with this girl who treats me like crap?  Why do I love her so much?

Anyway, I should be okay, but I talked to Doc and Steve and they are going to extend my deadline and allow me the time to rewrite everything.  Thank you God.

This is not my life, it is yours.  I’ll just show up and worship you.

Thirty-three days remain.

Oh Jesus, you are all I have.

March 7, 1998 – Saturday – 11:00 a.m.

Things have changed.

Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”

The time has come for Sarah and I to end the type of relationship we have.  She doesn’t know how she feels about me.  I need to let her go.  I am a burden to her, not a refuge.

My world is getting ready to change.  I need to guard my heart so it will be prepared and ready for Regent University.  I also think I will have a more lasting impact on Sarah if I let her go.

I love her.

And when you love someone, you know the truest part of love is when you let them go.  And when you love someone, you can easily see when the time has come to let them go.

I believe it is now that time.

It is not a sad time.  It is simply a time.

Exactly when this will happen…I’m not sure.  I have a long rehearsal this afternoon and I’m going to a Third Day concert tonight.  My brother is also here visiting.

Sarah’s show and my show both open tomorrow.  She is in a one-act and I’m directing one.

I have a little over two months left.  I see Sarah and I in a lasting friendship.  She is one of the best things that has happened to me here at Lees-McRae.  God has used her to teach me so much.

I went to see Titanic again last night with Mason, Ann-Marie, Jessi, and a guy named Teddy.

Exodus 23:20.

I always thought I would be the one bringing Sarah.  But I was wrong.

My Sarah has brought me.

And that is all I need to know.

January 12, 1998 – Monday – 1:00 p.m.

It has begun.  My final semester.  All of my close friends are back now, except for Curtis, Abigail, and Ann-Marie.

Charlie and Kate and I went to see Good Will Hunting.  It was amazing, but man I think it had more bad language than any movie I’d ever seen.  Yuck!

Church was nice on Sunday.  Crystal has decided to not go back to school in Asheville.  She is going to stay home and work.

Saturday night I called Sarah from Dan’s room and we had a nice conversation.  We just caught each other up on our week and all that has happened.

During a meeting on Sunday night, I met all the new freshmen for the semester.  Sarah came in around that time and it was so good to see her.  She gave me a letter, a beautiful, beautiful letter.

I think perhaps you, the reader, should read it:

Dear Jacob,

Hi. I want to share some things with you. Let’s start with the fact that I am really really happy right now. You know how different times in life have different feelings? Well, for now, I am happy and I feel like I am waiting. God has brought me here, but am I making a difference while I wait? I’m just trying to live from the Him that I feel burning inside me.

I’ve never been good at getting my feelings across in words or on paper; if I could I suppose I’d be striving to be a lawyer or an author, but God wants me to do something. I know this because he saved me so many times; in this we are alike. You feel your wings itch inside and I feel something as well.  I want to rejoice in my life and how it leads me to live. I can see your wings Jacob, I know it’s true! I think I have chosen the wolf as my animal because they see and hear everything. This is the gift that God has given me that both delights and scares me. I see and know things that others can’t and what many overlook. These are pretty deep thoughts, thoughts that I share with no one because I’m afraid they won’t get it.

I am a sinner. We all sin, that is the part of our legacy as humans. I wish it weren’t so, but even the best of us do.  Most of the time we do it without even thinking about it.  I know that some of the things I do are not what you would call good, but they are part of who I am, a part of my past, a part of my life. I dedicated my life to God long ago and I gave him all of me, even my weakness, along with my joy, fears, love, pain, and stress. My life is his. I learn everyday. I’m trying.

Part of what I’m trying to explain is that… well, I love you and I don’t want to scare you away from me. For the next few months I need to soak as much of you up as I can, so that no matter what happens you will make me a better person just by being you. You understand don’t you? I love you. As I said, I wasn’t planning on falling in love with you, but this unexpected love for you excites and scares me. Except for my family and the few friends I have at home, all of my other relationships with people seem to turn sour. Please don’t let me scare you away. I don’t know what will happen, but I do know that we must learn from each other. I have found true love in your heart. Unfurl your wings and fly away.  

I love you.

Forever.

Sarah

It’s hard to know what to write after reading that.  But God is doing something.  After reading her letter, everything around me became more beautiful.  As I walked across campus today and had great moments with Vince, Justin, Josh, Sherlive, everyone; I realized that all of us were on the Titanic, Sarah too.  There is an iceberg ahead and it’s sole purpose is to separate us from each other.

But although the thought made me want to cry, I became full of so much joy because I know God has given me Sarah for this short while to help bring me beyond the iceberg.

I can survive this storm if she is with me.  I told her as much when we had a few moments alone last night.

After saying goodnight, I went to see Vince.  He read to me a long poetic story he wrote after he saw Titanic.  It dealt with Laura.  Man, one movie is ripping all of us open.  He saw it over Christmas with his family and he said he couldn’t believe how his mom and stepfather reacted; they only talked about the special effects! But Vince said he was dying inside and wished I was there so he wouldn’t feel so alone.  He didn’t want to be alone last night, so he came over and slept on the floor here in my apartment.  He got up in the middle of the night and threw up in my bathroom.  He said it was over Laura.

It’s good to have Vince here to talk to.

This morning we went down to the Jehovah Petra, the cross we built on a huge bolder in the middle of the river, but the storm and flooding that happened over the break must have washed it away.  Our place to pray and worship was no where to be found.

Oh, these days; my mind seems to be overflowing.  Of all those things, number one is my Lord, number two is Sarah, number three are these wonderful friends.

It’s so hard to see Sarah when other people are around. I want so badly just to hold her and talk with her about things I barely tell myself.  It’s difficult to see her everyday because I love her so much.  I don’t know how to be a couple with her, I just know how to love her and give her my all.

Every day is an amazing new day.  Every new day is the best day ever.  Are these the best days of my life?  Am I living them now?  God is so true and alive and real.

I love others.

And that is the greatest of all gifts.