Monday, May 2, 2011

Better together

Because a couple that irons together, stays together.

When Will was overseas, one of the things I was most looking forward to on his return was being able to do things together. The basic things, like sharing a meal, or taking a walk.

Separated by thousands of kilometres, and with a seven hour time difference between us, our 'dating' relationship did not consist of movie dates and weekend picnics. Rather we talked. And talked and talked and talked.

We talked about the weather. We talked about our work. We talked about life and love and other mysteries. Sometimes we spoke until the Sudanese sun had set and the Australian sun was about to rise.

We talked until we had nothing left to say, and then we sat in silence. Or we had a video chat dance party to Will's ringtone, depending on the mood.

The thing about long distance relationships is you have to rely on conversation. Conversation without activity. Conversation without interaction with other friends and family. Conversation without body language, if the internet or power was out. Bare, basic conversation with out all the extras that really are so important.

How we both learnt to listen to the tone of each other's voice, to gauge sentences and sighs.

Once when I was feeling particularly disheartened, a dear friend wisely advised me to talk and ask about everything - including, and especially, the trivial and mundane. She too had endured a long distance relationship, and knew the importance of staying connected when distance, time and internet providers seemed intent of making connection impossible.

I can't tell you how many times I asked Will what he had for breakfast, or he asked for a blow-by-blow description of my very ordinary work day.

So there was great anticipation for his return and the opportunity to do things together - to share in something together, rather than just report back at the end of the day. I am so grateful now to head to the supermarket, to go to a friend's birthday party, to spend an evening dining out with friends, with his hand in mine and a smile on my face.

This engagement season has brought so many projects and activities our way, and there is nothing better than working on something together. The phrase 'better together' rings so true.

And while I never want to do long distance ever again, there is a real gratefulness for that season too. I know Will so well because of the hours upon hours upon hours of conversation we have had. We know the value of communication, because we've been in a place where we've had to put so much value on it.

But how I love that a hug and a hand squeeze are now back in the vocabulary.

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