When You're In A Long-Distance Relationship... With Home

When You're In A Long-Distance Relationship... With Home

Go the distance; you will become a stronger person because of it.
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Approaching month number four in my long distance relationship with home, I've learned a lot about myself, my friends, and my surroundings.

Being in college as a freshman, everything is new. New room, new friends, new experiences, and for a lot of us, new towns sometimes even states. Coming to The University of Alabama all the way from Michigan was the biggest adjustment I have probably ever had to make. I went from having the accessibility of a car, coming home to fresh hot meals made by my mom, seeing my friends all day every day during school to having none of those things.

The first couple months were hard. I was thrown into a huge place with lots of fresh faces... well all fresh faces. I was forced to be independent. But then I realized that everyone is in the same boat as me. It didn't matter if they lived five minutes from home, or in my case eleven and a half hours, everyone was experiencing new beginnings just as much as I was. All I had to do was put myself out there and be the outgoing girl from Michigan I knew I was.

Since that mindset, I have made some of the best friends I could ever ask for, I have learned ramen noodle nights are okay, and that Tuscaloosa is really my home away from home; I belong here. Of course, I miss my family, friends, and my bed, but being so far away makes all of those things that much sweeter when I come home.

With that being said, it is also okay to be sad. Within the first couple weeks, I thought I wanted to transfer, that UA just wasn't for me. My advice: stay strong. Homesickness is a thing and almost everyone goes through it; you're not the only one. Lean on those around you and find things to keep you busy.

As I write this article sitting on the plane on my way home for the very first time, I have realized how fortunate I am to have come to Alabama and the memories I've made thus far with some of my best friends. I wouldn't change those lonely nights when I missed my family or friends because that's how I found the people that truly care and were there for me.

Alabama is my sweet home and I could not be more excited to take on the rest of my time here. So, go the distance; you will become a stronger person because of it.

Cover Image Credit: Ally Lasch

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the beautiful barefoot boy

The goal isn't to live forever, but to create something that will.

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This morning, I did the same thing I do every single morning when I wake up. Before my feet hit the floor, I say a prayer. I thank God for waking me up, blessing me with such a good life, and pray for any specific thing that is laying on my heart. Lately, I have been praying a lot for the same person many people in my community have been praying for- Matt McGregor. I have prayed for healing, comfort, strength, and many other things to happen in Matt's journey, but I also prayed that God's will be done in his life above all else. Little did I know yet that His will had been done.

I remember Matt from school. Every time I saw him, everyone around him was laughing. And I am not exaggerating. He was one of those special people who can literally make anyone and everyone laugh no matter the situation. He was one of those people that the world needs around to make life more bearable and just down right better.

Death sucks. Cancer sucks. Yes, I am glad that Matt is no longer suffering, but that does not really give me a sense of relief because I know his family and friends are suffering. I think about Matt's sisters, and cannot fathom the pain that they're feeling. I could not imagine life without my brothers, my kids not getting to grow up and hang out with their cool uncles, and telling on each other to our parents when we all come home for Christmas when we're 40. I think about his parents, who are having to do the hardest thing anyone could have to do, say goodbye to their son. I think about his friends, who's lives will never be the same every time they do something that reminds them that he's no longer here to share life with. He was too young, too full of life. The worst death are the ones that can't be explained, and this one of them.

That's the thing about life, you never know when it's going to end and that is what makes it so fragile. Someone you know passes away, and you suddenly start to contemplate whether you are living your life "good" enough. You wish you'd spent more time with the one who passed, hold on a little tighter to the ones who are still here, and make sure you remind them you love them. But to show someone you love them is much more powerful than telling them, and that is exactly how Matt lived his life. His life light was beaming all the time and he was constantly sharing that with everyone around him. That is part of why he was so special.

When someone dies, they leave their own legacy that is different from every single other person on the planet. Your legacy depends on the amount of light that you have shed on others. Looking through Facebook today, it is so obvious that his light touched so many people. Matt's death has reminded me of those that I have and will continue to lose throughout life... there is no better way to say it than death sucks. But even though death sucks, it reminds us to live our life to the fullest, and continue the legacy of those we've lost.

On a side note, I found it interesting that Matt was barefoot all the time, so I googled being barefoot in biblical times. Moses and Joshua was commanded to take off his shoes as he was standing on holy ground, and poor people did not have shoes so they went barefoot. But this is my favorite: priests in Israel went barefoot while ministering. They would take their shoes off before blessing their people. It is evident that Matt blessed so many people's lives in his short time on this Earth. Coincidence that he was known for always being barefoot? I think not.

Let your life light shine brightly like Matt's, and always live life to the fullest.

. . .

In loving memory of Matt McGregor Jr.

Then I heard a voice from heaven say, "Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on." "Yes," says the Spirit, "they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them." Revelation 14:13

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Long Distance Relationships Can Be The Most Rewarding

Sure, it may suck... But it may prove to bring you both closer.

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I'm no Dr. Phil. I can't provide statistical evidence, doctorate-level advice, or solid proof that this is an undeniable fact. I can, however, speak from personal experience. In some cases, that can be worth more than any psychological theory.

I'm here to say that long distance relationships can be incredibly rewarding. Take note that I did not say fun. I attend the University of Alabama, and Drew, my boyfriend of nearly a year attends a small school in Montana. If you do the math, we're approximately 1,407 miles away (but who's counting)?? Before beginning our freshman year of college, we spent nearly every day together. Now, I'm lucky if I see him every three months or so. Often, the closest we have to being together is a FaceTime call. There are some days where I would give anything just for a hug or kiss. This sounds horrible right?

Here's the thing. I honestly wouldn't trade this experience. Long distance forces couples to strengthen their emotional, mental, and spiritual bond; without putting effort into this, the relationship will fail. Long distance forces you to develop as an individual through trials because your partner isn't there in person to fall on. Long distance allows you to experience college as an individual in ways that you may not if you were always together. Even more so, long distance develops the relationship itself.

If you do not see a legitimate future with the person you are dating, please do not even consider an LD relationship. I personally date to marry, as does my boyfriend, and if this were not the case, I don't think it would work. There has to be an immense level of trust between the two partners. The temptation is real, always present, and easy to succumb to in college. If you can't trust your partner to not cheat when you're together, why would you trust them when you're apart? I have personally had individuals in LD relationships nonchalantly tell me about their inappropriate escapades and cheating behavior. This consistently damages the image of LD relationships and causes people to believe it could never work.

However, when you truly love someone, it can make your relationship flourish to new heights. When you completely remove any physical aspects, everything has to rely on the emotional, mental, and spiritual. We have come to understand each other better as individuals, and how to help one another in different situations. His understanding of my emotions and feelings has grown exponentially, and vice versa.

We spend more time in the Word together than previously, because we both believe the relationship can only flourish if it is rooted in Christ. We send texts throughout the day and call whenever we can just to remind the other that we're thinking of them. Long distance causes us to truly cherish the time we do get to spend together, and it makes reunions that much sweeter. So, yes, long distance sucks. But, I wouldn't trade the growth we've experienced for anything.

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