January 18, 1998 – Sunday – 10:30 a.m.

My brother turned 23 yesterday.  Only seven months until I’m 22.

It seems all I think about these days is Sarah, but most of my thoughts are thankful praises to God for teaching me about his love.  I’m happy about it all, I just miss her near me.  But even when we pretended we were together, she wasn’t near me.

The first person I talked to about the whole thing was Abigail of all people.  Emily came up to me and hugged me yesterday, I guess the word has spread.  And last night, I spent nearly two hours with Lindy and told her the whole story.  She was so sweet to me, we were just really good friends to each other last night.

I’m on duty, so that’s why I’m not in church at the moment.

Oh, and guess what?!  Vince and Laura are back together.

Three months, three weeks, and counting.

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January 13, 1998 – Tuesday – 1:01 p.m.

Earlier today while I was praying, and, for about a minute, I really missed my humble home in super small Mt. Vernon Springs.  It really surprised me.

Sarah and I talked over the phone last night at 3:00 in the morning.  I told her I felt I was a burden to her and I felt like she was just ignoring me, for I had spent time with her earlier but she hardly looked at me.  Although she loves me, I really don’t think she needs me.

But I remember asking God to teach me how to love and I think he is using Sarah to do so.  One thing for sure, God is definitely separating me from this place.

Abigail and Ann-Marie came back yesterday.  Abigail bought me my own copy of Hinds’ Feet on High Places.  I had to return Sarah’s copy to her.  I was so thankful to have my own copy.

Oh, Vince and Justin just came in to hang out.  I’m gonna chat with them!

 

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.

January 1, 1998 – Thursday – 8:45 p.m.

This is my third entry for the first day of 1998.  Marcus and I went to see Amistad this afternoon; a very good movie filled with wonderful moments.  I cried when they talked about my savior and described his life in the wonderful way they did.

So, about 1997.

I remember sleeping through the last night of 1996.  I spent the first evening of 1997 with Christy’s family playing cards.  I haven’t seen that family since Christi and Patti were burned back in May.  I remember the smell of Dawn during Children of A Lesser God.  I miss that show.  Of all I have performed at Lees-McRae, that is my favorite.  I remember touching Abigail’s face for the first time and kissing Jeni again and not really knowing why.  I remember my hundreds of hours spent with Dan, Allen, Vince, and Curtis.  They are the greatest guys ever created.  I remember my trip to Ft. Walton Beach, and when Emily lost a bit of her beauty in my eyes.  I remember the box office and Lindy’s funny stories.  I remember rooming with Dan and talking with Marisa.  I remember the orientations and meeting Sarah for the first time.  I remember my weekend trips in September, regaining Abigail’s friendship, and perfect days spent in Hilton Head.  I remember spending hours in The Misanthrope script.  I remember the beautiful girl who took the time to touch me.  I remember my Christmas tree and my love for Sarah growing.

A peaceful year.

So, I’ll begin this one now.

Nineteen Hundred Ninety-Eight.

I give it to you God!

December 15, 1997 – Monday – 10:30 p.m.

Yesterday morning’s church service was awesome, then I sang at Juries that afternoon.  The RA Christmas party was that evening and after that we went to more juries.  Sarah was in four of them.  But despite all of yesterday’s business, Sarah and Jessi and I found the time to watch It’s Only a Paper Moon.

And last night, after the midnight breakfast exam break, and after I made my Christmas tree lights blink, and after Dan and I played Tetris 2, and after Vince and Alex wrestled in my room, I called my Sarah.  We talked for a while; we talked about us.

I told her that I pray to God about us and ask him what this is.  And every answer he ever gives me is through Sarah.  She said once that loving me was not part of the plan.  And I told her that God tells me to simply let our relationship be what it is and to not worry about anything else.

We both know I’m leaving and comfort is found in that.  I doubt I’ll spend the rest of my life with Sarah, but thanks to God, I’m pretty sure I’ll spend a lot of the next five months with her.

Perhaps I have lived life too carefully.  Perhaps I’ve guarded my heart too much.  Sarah is too amazing of a girl to simply pass up.  I do not want to be an old man, and right before I die, realize that I have not lived.

How frail we are.

So Sarah is my girl.  I love her.  I love her as much as my time will allow me.  We’ve only been close for three weeks, and, as we all know, love takes time.

Perhaps we should have left everything alone in that perfect first Eternal Instant on November 22nd, but why have one Eternal Instant when you can have hundreds.

I’m so young.

And Sarah is eighteen.

I just read back on my freshman year recently, and I didn’t know anything back then, but through Jeni and many others, I learned.

I first wrote Sarah’s name down in these Books of Days on June 14, 1997.  I had no idea then that I would repeat that name on these pages, in my heart, and on my lips for the rest of my life.  But it’s clear to me that she has arrived into my life and her influence will fade away.

December 1, 1997 – Monday – 8:20 p.m.

I have been a Christian for a total of 12 years now.  Today is my spiritual birthday.

It’s hard to know what I’m feeling right now.  Let me just try to catch up.

Sunday after church, Josh and I went shopping in Johnson City, TN then we picked Vince up from the airport.  We went to church that night and saw a presentation of the musical Star Queen.  It was so wonderful.

Sarah called me that night and then came over to see my Christmas tree.  We held hands and talked for nearly two hours.  She told me so many neat stories.  She has such an amazing heart and the world is so beautiful through her eyes.

She has gone to see a show two hours away tonight.  I am on duty and miss her greatly.

After she left at 11:00 p.m., Vince took me out to Subway and then we came back here and ate to the light of my Christmas tree.

I got some Teen Mania information today in the mail.  I began to cry as I read over it.  The Lord moved upon me.  I am applying to go on a two month mission trip to either India or South Africa next summer.  I am insanely excited!

There are only two weeks left of classes.  I don’t have any exams during finals week.  In less that 18 days I take the GRE.

Christmas is so soon.  It hardly feels real.

And the wonderful burden of everything changing is resting upon the shoulders of my mind right now.  I haven’t talked to Emily since May.  Sarah and I are telling each other things we tell no one else.  Auditions for the spring show are in one week.  I direct a one-act next semester.  Once the new semester begins in January, there will only be four months left until it’s all over.

Sarah is a freshman.  I am a senior.  Why does the world work this way?

I had to look through some old boxes for a picture negative earlier this evening and I came across a lot of ancient stuff.  Memories flooded my heart and soul.  And I realized how much things really have changed since I first arrived on this campus.  And then I realized how much everything was getting to change even more.

Oh Jesus, you are my one constant companion.  You are by my side no matter what!

Humble me God.

You are all I have.

You are all I’ll ever have.

I need you now.

More than ever.

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.