When You’re in a Season of Missing

{By Samantha Nicole}

I caught myself doing it again. I searched Pinterest for “Long Distance Relationship Tips”. It’s officially fall.

Paul has been at school for over a month, and I’ve been teaching my new batch of raucous middle school students for just as long. Our lives are awesome. He’s a senior on a small, Christian campus working two jobs and living with one of the best groups of guys I’ve ever met. I’m living on the third story of a gorgeous Victorian and spending my days doing algebra and laughing with teenagers and studying my heart out in a range of topics. We’re both living pretty fantastic twenty-something lives.

There’s something missing, though.

long distance relationships

I first noticed it a couple of weeks ago when I was out with a group of my new girlfriends. We’d all gotten gussied-up and headed out for dinner on the town. And not to be vain, but I was feeling gorgeous. *wink* They were all commenting on their husbands’/fiances’/boyfriends’ opinions of their going-out attire, and I sat nodding and smiling along. I chalked it up to the usual I-just-miss-my-man doldrums and moved on with my night.

After a couple of weeks of new friends, new students, and new classes, I was really feeling like something wasn’t quite right. And then, one Saturday, I had a “lightbulb” moment.

A little background here: I work for a very small school. This year they decided to host their first ever Homecoming celebrations, and they started it all off with a 5K race. Folks, I don’t run. In fact, I kind of hate running. I’ll hike all day long and do crunches until I pass out if it just means I don’t have to run. I’m fit and can run, I just choose to avoid it like the plague. However, a couple of the other teachers had convinced me to come walk the course. Hey, why not? So, Saturday morning, I pulled on my sneakers, grabbed a water, and headed to the track. And then I ran. (I’m sure this is the point that I should talk about how I gave into peer pressure and everything, but that’s an issue for another time.) I ran the whole course, and I came in third place for my age bracket. Guys, I got a medal for my first ever 5K.

I smiled and got pats on the back and hugs and “You go, Ms. Axberg!” chants from my students; but there was a hollow feeling under it all. Paul had just missed out on one of my proudest moments. He didn’t even know about it until it was over.

 I miss Paul.

Missing may very well be the darkest emotion that humans contain. Oftentimes, it’s a physical pain that feels as though it may never heal and an emptiness that can’t be filled. It’s a black hole of memories and smiles and love. Cherished moments that accompany me to work, school, social events, and to bed. It takes up my thoughts, my energy, my desire, my life. I can let myself begin to live in an abyss of yearning for something seemingly unreachable.

But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The date marked on the calendar. The moment I wake up hoping to see. The days leading to it are the longest of my life, and every time it feels as if they’re longer.

The first sight. That smile that lights up my day no matter how dark the nights have been. That wave of emotion that pours over every piece of me. The overwhelming joy. The filling. The void that becomes so full it hurts again; but it’s a hurt I’ve longed for. Suddenly those lonely nights and despairing moments, all those “can I do this?” thoughts swirling around in my head, are but vapors and nightmares fading before the dawn.

There will be a day when Paul and I can randomly run 5K races together (ha!) and cook dinner and model “going-out” clothes.

But, in the meantime, I’m thankful for a love so strong that my heart breaks in the missing.

“Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.” (Hebrews 10:35-36, ESV)

What do you think? How do you deal with long distance relationships? Comment below! 

 

Comments

  1. Taylor Cartee says:

    I feel for you, Samantha! My husband and I were long-distance for seven months of our engagement, and it was really hard for me. In His graciousness, God used that time to remind me that this life is in many ways a LDR: “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face…” (Ironic that that verse comes at the close of the famous “Love Chapter,” I Cor 13)

    In an Advent sermon, Dietrich Bonhoeffer eloquently expressed the ache and beauty of this season. “Those unfamiliar with the bitter bliss of waiting, of doing without while maintaining hope, will never experience the full blessing of fulfillment.” Many blessings to you!

    • Thank you, Taylor! It’s so wonderful to hear of other couples who’ve successfully waded the waters of a LDR. Bonhoeffer has is correct again, and my heart truly years for that fulfillment!

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