12/5/10

Long Distance


Blake and I have done the long-distance relationship.

Correction: we've beaten the long-distance relationship to death, resurrected it from the grave, and did the long-distance relationship all over again. For those of you who are currently in a relationship that requires inordinate gas expenses, minutes of simply staring at each other to appreciate closeness and far too many goodbyes, I feel for you.

Blake and I met my freshman year of high school (Blake's junior year) a few months before my fifteenth birthday. As I wasn't allowed to date until I turned sixteen, our relationship toed the line. It also pushed the line, flirted with the line, and eventually crossed the line when my parents permitted a first date the month before my sixteenth birthday. I was a very good girl, enduring any reference to Blake up to that point as my "friend". Do friends exchange goofy, awkward love letters in school? Do friends spell out "I like you" in Twizzlers on the driveway? Probably not. But he was a boy and I was fifteen, so it was off-limits.

As soon as our relationship was within the limits, it became long distance. Blake graduated and headed off to Providence College, while I had two years left of high school. (Wisely), my Dad would not let me drive through the city of Providence to go see Blake. And so began the years of calling my now Mother-in-Law to see if she wanted to make the trip.

Two years later, it was my turn to go to go off to school. Gordon College is about the same distance to Providence as our hometown, but in the opposite direction. For the first month, Blake drove up to visit twice. That's when the long-distance came to a screeching halt. I was silly, young and done with what had become not only pedestrian, but also taxing. Now in college, I was convinced that relationships shouldn't be so hard.

Wrong. Relationships are always hard. They're hard when you're sitting there, arguing with each other about Chinese food, and you realize that this may be the dumbest argument in the history of arguments. They're hard when you're not as interested in Arvo Part as he is, and you're sitting through a four hour concert on a Friday night. They're hard when you budget differently. They're hard when you clean differently. They're hardest when saying goodbye happens far too often, and each minute that you're together is much too important to be wasted on Chinese food arguments.

Life without Blake is far more painful than any goodbye I've ever said. While true, that's not why we got back together and that's not why I married him. Blake and I decided to continue our long-distance relationship for another two years because we knew that God's plan was bigger than our own, and He had led us back to a place where we could trust that completely. Sometimes, if you're lucky enough, you meet someone who compliments your soul even before you realized that souls were created as companions. When you're blessed with something that special, you hang on to it.

I was reminded of such grace yesterday. We drove down to Providence College for the senior recital of one of Blake's friends. We spent some time Christmas shopping and going out to dinner with Blake's best friend, Dave. On the way back to Massachusetts, I turned to Blake and said, "we don't have to say goodbye." Unlike so many other trips that required a goodbye at the end of a long drive, Blake and I fell asleep next to each other.

That, my friends, is worth waiting and driving for.

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