Some Truths at the Heart of Distance
I've been with Ben for well over a year now, and for about half of that time, we've lived hours apart from one another. In July, when I travel to New Zealand, we'll be 8,164 miles apart, with most of the US and an ocean in between us. We both know how difficult this type of relationship is, but we choose to make it work everyday because we know that in the end, it will be worth it.
Saying “goodbye” never gets any easier.
It doesn’t matter how wonderful our time spent together has been, and forget the fact that I’ll see him in a few weeks; that final “goodbye” will always bring tears to my eyes. The hour or two leading up to his (or my) departure is an emotional roller-coaster of ups and downs, laughter and tears. One moment, I feel incredibly happy knowing how lucky I am to have someone in my life that is so supportive and caring. The next, I’m in tears when I realize that we're about to drive in opposite directions and be apart once again.
(Note: Believe me. I am by no means saying this for pity and sympathy, because I don’t want any. Ben and I knew what we were getting ourselves into, and we are strong enough to make it through. I'm just hoping to share my experiences with you.) I have become such a crybaby over the past few months. (Truthfully, I've always been a little bit of a crybaby, but I've never known myself to cry this much.) There are times when I miss Ben (and home and my family) so, so much that I just break down and cry. It's as if there are triggers that cause me to burst into tears, like putting on a shirt that he bought me, or spritzing on some perfume that he likes. When I've gone for a long while without seeing him, the tears flow more freely. I feel ridiculous when this happens, but I've realized that I shouldn't have to hide my tears. If I feel sad, I should let it all out and cry. Why do people feel as though showing emotion is wrong? (And as we all well know, sometimes you just feel better after a good cry.)
Communication, whether through text, FaceTime, or a phone call, is absolutely vital.
We try our best to communicate somehow every single day, whether it’s a "goodnight" text before bed or a couple minutes on the phone in between class. We even set up FaceTime dates about once a week so we can talk “face to face,” and sometimes we’ll even FaceTime while we watch the same movie or TV show. It’s important to us to be a part of each other’s day in some small way. I love hearing about his day, whether it’s about the usual, mundane grind or the interesting conversation he had with an elderly lady in her home. I know that he enjoys hearing about what I do throughout my day, too, from chemistry lab experiments gone awry to the Chinese food I ate for supper. It is so special and essential to each of us to have that time together, that moment of connection, especially when we’re so far a part physically.
Trust is one of the strongest aspects of our relationship.
It’s one thing to simply say that you trust someone; it’s quite another to live out that trust everyday, in every waking moment. Since Ben and I are rarely together, we’ve definitely had to learn to trust each other completely. We both know that no matter the circumstance, neither of us would ever do anything to hurt our relationship. (Because let’s face it: if I hurt him, I ultimately hurt us.) I know that Ben cares deeply for me, and would never do anything that would break my heart. At this point in time, we live about five hours away from each other, and neither of us has the desire (nor the time, for that matter) to constantly check up on the other. I trust that he is living his life with my heart in mind, just as I am living mine while thinking of him.
Loneliness happens even when you are surrounded by people who love you.
It always amazes me when I think about how God has blessed me with the best family a girl could ask for, and amazing friends to boot. I don't know what I would do without them! Still, surrounded by people, it is possible to feel a hurt and loneliness that can only be cured by one person. It's not that my friends and family are inadequate or do anything to make me feel isolated; I just miss Ben.
I wouldn't trade any of it for the world.
If we didn't spend any time apart, we wouldn't know the joys of finally getting to see each other after weeks (and someday months) of seemingly endless waiting. I wish I could describe to you the happiness and excitement I feel when I see his truck pull up the driveway on a Friday night when I'm home for the weekend! To risk sounding off a Christian cliché, I am so blessed to have him in my life. I am very thankful that he is supportive of me and my decisions and grateful that he is willing to put up with the distance, all for little ole me. He and I both know that college is in God's plan for me, and with God's help, we will make it through these tough times. While our situation isn't exactly ideal, the good thing about our long-distance relationship is that there is an end in sight: I won't be in college forever, and we won't always have to be separated for long bouts of time. If I had to sum up all of our trials and triumphs in just three words, I would say, "Totally worth it."
The LORD watch between me and thee,
when we are absent one from another.
Genesis 31:49b KJV