We spent the summer together, all day, every day. It was wonderful, and we became accustomed to one another. It was nearly impossible to let go, that night before I left for college. To be completely honest, I’ve repressed the memory (unintentionally) and it no longer exists.
There is a lot of bitterness stored up in this part of my life…and a lot of strong–hardly harnessed, truly–emotions that had no outlet then. This is essentially their first outlet. It’s something I didn’t share then, and I wouldn’t have thought to share now (until this series came along). The following information is an incohesive cloud of emotions that overlap and work together to create a toxic mess.
It’s funny. You’d think that each goodbye gets easier, because you know how to do it “better” the next time, and that the wait won’t be so bad because you’ll get used to waiting. And every time, you tell yourself that this time, you’ll feel recharged and refreshed after he leaves, because “that’s the effect he has on you”.
But all that happens is another goodbye. Each time…you know exactly how it’s going to feel, and you dread it. And then he’s gone, and you’re left watching all the other couples on campus holding hands, going to class together, and being on dates.You think of how much you wish he were right there, with you, and not hundreds of miles away. You’re left with your school and your music and your coping mechanisms. But not him.
And nothing makes that day come fast enough. The one where he’s coming again. The one where you finally see his eyes and get to be lost in his giant hug.
I think that most people must know how hard this is. That must be why everyone told me that it wouldn’t work. Why nearly every person, when I told them I had a boyfriend back home, responded with that unmistakable pity in their eyes–the one that only says, “That never works out;” or a sneer, or a snide comment. No…I’m not trying to justify their discouragement. I just don’t like to think that I was so alone then.
But I was. And I didn’t reach out, share my heart. People already threw their trash over in my yard. Stinky discouragement trash that reeked of impending failure and flaky support. How much worse would it be if I had actually reached out to someone and asked them for something? I was somehow sure that I’d only be asking for more trash, so I never mentioned it. How much I missed him. How hard it was to understand each other over only a phone or video feed. How important it was that I got to hold his hand this weekend. The problems we had that I could barely carry alone. No one wanted to hear it, because they all believed I was destined to fail anyways–that’s what I convinced myself of, at any rate.
As this story progresses, we are growing ever so nearer to my current struggles–the ones I still battle every day. I don’t quite have all of this part figured out yet. But that’s okay. The neat thing is that it’s Jesus’ responsibility to work all of this out in me (the slow progress, or regression, comes when I try to take it into my own hands).
He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Phil. 1:6)
I admit that I was pretty unhealthy at this point in my life. I didn’t intentionally isolate myself, for pride’s sake, but I was terrified of what someone else might think if I had anything but good to say about our relationship. That’s still something I struggle with. I also neglected my journal (which was a huge outlet) and turned to my school work and busy schedule to quell my emotions. This happened at the same time as all of this. (That’s a link to the article I just wrote for the Good Women Project about being a workaholic). I’d recommend you read that in conjunction with this part of the love story series…it all goes together.
There is one very important thing that I learned from this part of my life: my heart needs other people. I tried to carry all of my burdens alone. But, you see, that’s impossible, because God did not create us for that. There are daily loads, and there are excess burdens. Those excess burdens are what we are meant to share…and this is a way we show the truest love to one another.
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 1:2)
This is a word to those who are in a long distance relationship: hang in there. It gets better. I believe in you, even if no one else does. You are worth believing in.
If you have a story about a long distance relationship, or are in one right now, leave a comment below with your story. Any questions you’d like me to answer are very welcome. And most of all, I would love to encourage you at this time in your life.
Don’t cheat yourself out of support, like I did. Let someone in, because your heart deeply needs it.