This post is part of Owlhaven’s Love Stories for October. Two weeks I wrote about stained glass windows, and last week I wrote about a difficult period in my relationship with Christian.
By at the end of 2006, God was slowly transforming my heart as well as my relationship with Christian. After Christian’s last final exam that semester, he came to South Carolina to stay and (hopefully) work until he left for Germany the following February. God gifted him with a couple with whom to stay and with a temporary job at the landscaping company of a man from my church, and so after a few weeks of vacation, he started earning some money to put aside while he was out of the country.
We had known about Germany since before we were even dating. As the fall semester ended, though, it became more real. I was thrilled that he would be in my city for two months. Before we had seen each other every 5-6 weeks; now we could see each other every day if we wanted to (and we did).
The last few weeks before he left were difficult. I was glad to have him there, but I knew he would be leaving. I had a hard time living in the moment.
But he did leave. On a cold February evening after church, we said goodbye. He left the next morning.
Strangely enough, the anticipation of him leaving was far worse than when he actually left. I thought I would cry. I felt numb for several weeks, but we discovered Skype. In a matter of moments we could actually see each other, which was more than we did when he was in Tennessee and I was here.
Things settled into a routine. For the first month, he was in Munich at language school, living with a host family that didn’t have Internet. He was six hours ahead and got out of class around noon, which allowed him access to the school’s wireless Internet. I had classes only on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so on the other days of the week, I would wake up at 6 or 7 to talk to him through Skype.
Toward the end of March, he went to Bamberg to attend the university there. He had his own apartment, which included spotty wireless Internet, but it was enough. We reverted back to the days of talking on instant messenger, as the connection wasn’t good enough to try Skype. Somehow we got through weeks and weeks of this.
Phone calls were few. There was one on Valentine’s Day. He sent flowers on my birthday.
In March my uncle, who works for an airline, arranged for a cheap standby ticket for me that would take me to Frankfurt. Without knowing what I would do for a job that summer, I set aside two weeks after school got out to go and visit Christian.
As one could imagine, the last days of school were long, but finally, May 12 was there. Amid fears and threats of overbooked planes, I made it to Frankfurt safely after being awake for more than 24 hours.
It was 8 a.m. in Germany, but it was 2 a.m. for me. I fumbled through the airport, trying to find a bus that would take me to the train station where Christian was. I was so scared I wouldn’t be able to find it. And what if I did find it, but he wasn’t there?
My fears were unfounded. I walked down a long corridor of kiosks selling German tourist junk, and as I came around the last one, there he was, leaning up against a railing.
I dropped my suitcase and my purse on the ground, stood where I was and wept.
The next two weeks were filled with German gelato, schnitzel (just like from the Sound of Music song), wandering around Bamberg looking for a place that sold an outlet adapter, a train ride to a beautiful castle near the Alps and sweet and precious time with Christian.
I think it was during that time when I finally realized that this was the real thing. Christian cared about me – loved me, even. He kept saying thank you to me for coming to visit; after all, while I had been without him, he had been without everything. I didn’t know why he was thanking me; I was so blessed to be able to go.
And then, almost as quickly as it had come, it was over. Another long flight back to South Carolina, and then two months until Christian came back.
The time after I went to Germany was much harder than the time before, even though it was a countdown until he came back. But I had seen him, and had been reminded of how much I loved being with him, and suddenly it was the real world. Friends, church, family, babysitting – but no Christian.
It was God who held me up through those last two months. Looking back, it’s hard to believe it’s been close to a year and a half since he got back, but at the time, the hours dragged on.
I think the best part about it was that when he got back, a long distance relationship of 400 miles suddenly didn’t seem so long anymore.
And God healed me of a lot of my fears and worries while Christian was gone. I couldn’t call him whenever I wanted to, and much of the time, there was no way for me to make contact at all. Several times he had said he would be online to talk and something had held him up, and I went into a panic. But at the end of the day, there was nothing I could do. I had to trust the Lord.
And even when I was faithless, He was faithful.