From the beginning of my high school years to the present, I have maintained a long distance relationship with a boy whom I hold near and dear to my heart. No, we did not meet on E-Harmony or Tinder. We were merely acquaintances who found ourselves without anyone to talk to at just the right time, and by "just the right time", I mean when we were 500 miles apart. So we talked. We talked a lot, actually, and it became an everyday thing. He quickly became my best friend, and my favorite part of each day.
Years have gone by, and a friendship that I would have once told you would never become anything more, definitely became a lot more, but some things didn't change. He's still my best friend, and my favorite part of each day. We did all the important things apart. We dealt with many things separately: the friend phase, the "oh crap I think I like you" phase, the "what the heck is this" phase, etc. There was definitely not an instruction manual, so we have been at a loss of what to do many times, and I'm sure many times yet to come. This May, we will begin our sixth year of doing whatever it is we do, and about a week ago as we recounted these years, I did not remember all the crappy things that everyone talks about. I remembered the awesome ones and the awkward ones and the funny ones.
Of course, we experience all the trials you hear about, but the good outweigs the bad by far. Our relationship was authentic and honest from the start because it took exponentially more effort. There couldn't really be a puppy love kind of thing because he wasn't just a boy who thought I was cute and smiled at me in the hall. Even before we were dating, I remember telling boys that I could not be in a relationship with them because I had a friendship that was very important to me and required a lot of my time. Not many people understood that, which is something I have become used to. It is such a peculiar situation that in the first year or two, sometimes people thought I was making him up.
Our feelings had to be genuine because we had to develop an emotional and verbal connection before we were ever allowed a physical one. We live in two different worlds, and for a few years our worlds only collided twice a year. Yes, we have missed out on a lot of things that I would have loved to experience together. In my day, I have openly wept in a few airports. It gets harder and harder every time I leave him behind, but it gives me something to work toward. I worked hard in high school because I knew that the harder I worked, the faster the distance would go away, and it worked. When I went to college, we went from 500 miles apart to 270, and next year, we will sleep a measly 97 miles away from each other. 97. That feels like a drive to the grocery store compared to where we started.
Distance does not always make the heart grow fonder, but it did make us better, and without the distance, I'm not sure our relationship would be the same. In fact, I'm not sure it would have even happened. If you're reading this, I don't want you to hold on to negative beliefs about distance. God gave me one of the most wonderful blessings in my life through distance. All of those miles fostered so much of the growing and maturing we did over the last 5(ish) years, and I look forward to all the ways in which we continue to grow together.