45 Miles

I know those miles by heart now.

All 45.

I know the usual traffic patterns, the grooves in the road, the way it looks during day and night, the markers that tell me about how much longer it will take me to get to him.

As much as I lament the 45 minute each way trip, it gives me time to myself. I use this time to catch up on phone calls or get lost in thought. And I cherish it.

It feels like a mini getaway. I get to leave this town and the world that is familiar and venture to something relatively unknown. I try new ice cream shops, grocery stores, and gas stations. I see different faces — always those of strangers. The faces are more diverse down there. The landscape more desert like. The mountains are still to the west and familiar but the peaks are different.

I’ve started to embrace this world that is not mine. To feel like it’s my secret place. The place where I get to be his and no one else’s. Whenever I walk in his door and he takes me in his arms, my heart takes a breath. Like it has been inhaling but forgot to exhale… until I’m there.

Sometimes we’ll go to the backyard and look at the stars. We’ll trace the outline and laugh as we forget which is the big dipper and which is the little. I ask what he thought about the sky when he was a kid and what he wanted to be. We sigh and talk about the past, present, and somedays. Sometimes it will take me by surprise that four months ago I didn’t even know he walked this earth and now I don’t have a day that he doesn’t exist in, in some way or another.

I think about how we got to this place, of knowing each other. The miles that brought us individually to a place of together. How different our journeys have been but how parallel our hearts tracked. I laugh when I think of where I was a year ago and where he was.

The miles have taken their toll differently on each of us. The weariness evident in separate moments that we’re learning to see. Foreign weariness can be hard to identify when you don’t know what you’re looking for. But we’re learning. Mine will creep out in a conversation and I’ll see glimpses of his in the stillness.

There are terrifying moments where I realize I’ve jumped off a cliff and I’m free falling and the whole time I’m thinking “I DONT WANT TO JUMP! GET ME BACK ON THE LEDGE!” But it’s too late and I know my heart had to jump before my brain realized what was happening. I fall and I know I’m safe because he doesn’t hold my heart but He does. I’ve trusted who I am to the only One who can know all of me while also giving it to one who has gently asked if he can have it too.

And so life has become a beautiful, mysterious, confusing, full, wonderful, raw, scary, awakening experience I’m learning how to live. In a way I never could have comprehended was possible.

I never would have dreamed those miles were leading me to you. And I am so glad you are so much more than I could have dreamt up.

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