You can't stand in a river in the exact same place twice

“I think we love differently every day. Like the guy who said you can’t stand in a river at exactly the same place twice. Today I love you differently than yesterday, or will tomorrow.”
-Jonathan Carroll, After Silence

With moving boxes still covering the floor of our apartment, still eating dinners together on a blanket on the floor, and still using camping chairs as furniture, we danced in the living room the night before I left for Malawi. I'll never forget this night. I had prepared for our time apart by writing a love letter for each day I was in Malawi, numbering each one, filling his pockets with more love letters before I left him at the airport to board my plane. We cried deep tears, both fearing the distance that would only get further between us the moment I stepped away from his arms. In that moment, I recognized our love for each other. So deep, sincere, and simple. I'll never forget that moment.

I never want to forget how buying a couch this year felt like a huge purchase, how all our earthly possessions fit into a two bedroom apartment, how much I love just being in the same room with him. I never want to forget how good it feels to just hold hands, to write love letters from afar, or what a long morning hug will do for my whole day.

I've learned that there is something long distance will do for your relationship with your lover if you let it. There is a refining effect that happens when you are physically apart for an extended period of time. You grow deeper in love in a way you never could have imagined.

You are forced to use words wisely in the absence of touch. Forced to hang on to those words, sometimes the good and the bad. You realize how important it is to be intentional in all that you say. Each conversation becomes full of moments that you are desperate to drink in, moments of truth that make you feel so alive.

You wonder how you could have taken any of these same moments for granted as you know you have in the past. You would give anything to just be next to him. To drink coffee together in the morning. To drink anything. To feel your heart flutter when you hear him coming through the door from work at the end of the day.

I wouldn't give up this time apart as it's led to a renewed sense of living in the moment, loving recklessly, without reservation, and makes old simple things after seven years seem so new. Almost as if we get another chance to experience life together in a fresh way. I do love him differently than I did yesterday. I can say with certainty that I love him more.