I start work at 8:30 every morning. When I arrive, coffee mug in hand, my morning usually plays out roughly the same way each day. I take off my coat and settle into my office. Often I take a few minutes to read emails, check my facebook, and create my “MUST DO” list in my planner. I visit with the other secretary for a few minutes, and we both dive into whatever tasks we can complete before something inevitably jumbles our plans. Working in a church, that also runs a preschool and a daycare, something new and urgent almost always lands smack dab in the middle of all the other must do’s.
However, since Micah and I started communicating by text message, another regular occurrence has made its way into my day. Without fail, some time between 10:00 and 10:30 each day, I pick up my phone to say good morning. This was not planned or specifically agreed to. It just so happened that I have a natural lull in my morning around that time, and his day usually hasn’t become too busy yet, so it just kind became a habit without warning. Some days he beats me to it, which puts a huge smile on my face. Often, though, I take a mid morning break to remind him how much I care. Its a bit of a tradition now, something neither of us enjoys going without, and it is clearly one of the commitments we have silently made to each other in order to make this long distance thing work.
The other day, I picked up my phone with the intention of doing just that. However, when I started typing, the only words I could think to send were “I miss you.” I typed them in, but my thumb hovered over that familiar send button longer than usual.
It was as if those simple, but familiar, words had stuck in my throat (or rather my editing box). I sat staring at the iMessage editing box for 5 minutes or more, feeling confused and heavy.
Why were these words so hard to say?
These are three true, and presumably harmless, words that I say to Micah more than once in a day. There are times when truthfully the only words I can think to say to him are simply that; I Miss You.
That particular morning though, they seemed to be laced with the full weight of the airplane I would have to ride to get to him, and that was what confused me.
I couldn’t tell if I was feeling heavy with missing him, which is common.
Or if I was feeling heavy because the message implied that I was feeling that way.
As you can imagine, we do a lot of that, missing each other. We both live busy lives, 800 miles apart, and there are days when it is impossible to express what it feels like to be confined to our phones. There are good days when all I want to do is celebrate with him, and hard days when I wish I could be there to hug him and remind him that tomorrow is a new day. We focus on missing each other a lot … more than we probably should, some days.
Staring at that message, it occurred to me that I didn’t want to focus on the ache of distance. I have committed myself to focusing on the good things this year and yet here I was, only days after making that goal public, struggling with how not to focus on the ache.
That feeling of heaviness was a reminder to refocus. It was challenging me to take that loving remark that felt somehow negative, and find a way to say it better.
I don’t want to ignore it. And truthfully, we shouldn’t ignore it. But I also don’t want to force both of us to concentrate on it, either. That’s not how I wanted to start my day, and definitely not how I wanted to start his either.
I wanted to make him smile. I wanted to be intentional about how I addressed him. I wanted to remind him that he was loved and that he could greet the day with confidence that somewhere out there, someone truly wants to be by his side.
So I put a spin on it…
It says the same thing, essentially. I can’t wait until I can be your wife. I can’t wait until we can be together…I miss you.
But its intentional. Its positive.
Its everything I felt in the heavy spaces between the first three words.
The difference is that rather than being a reminder that we are still apart, it is a reminder that we will get to be together soon.