Today makes two and a half years together. Woo! Unfortunately we’re still 8,000+ miles apart for another 24 days. But the end is in sight! In growing up in three different places, I’ve met and left behind a lot of people. You will always be the hardest goodbye. And my favorite hello! We’ve had quite the past couple of years huh? I think our story is a pretty good one. Met in youth group, led a missions trip together the summer before senior year, started to get to know each other better, went on our first date to the fair right as senior year started. Senior year had a lot of challenges: school, scholarships, college, future plans, family stuff, yet we became best friends and our relationship grew well. Then just a few weeks after graduation, we said our first goodbye as you went to Montana, Canada and Cambodia for YWAM EDTS. Those months were hard, waiting to hear from you, waiting for college. Patience is certainly a central theme! Finally, after adjusting to college life and Grand Rapids, I got to surprise you at the airport after five months of being a part! We had to get to know each other all over again in a lot of ways after all the change that had happened. You were in Ohio, I in Grand Rapids for most of the time, only getting a few days or weeks together at a time on breaks. You started community college. Finally, summer! Four whole months of being in the same place, just imagine it. And then I got the opportunity to do something I’ve always wanted to do for a large part of the summer, work at a summer camp! In Pennsylvania…
Kentucky missions trip- where we planned and led a VBS. Summer 2011
First real picture together- December 2011
Zoo Lights- Christmas 2011
Reunited after 5 months
It seemed like we’d never be in the same place. You were still figuring what came next, job, college, etc. I remember one particularly hard phone call during my one hour off one day at camp. You knew officially that Cornerstone was not going to work financially. I remember the fear and sadness, the thought that maybe we really never would get to be together… But God is good, and kept us through all of our travels, and brought you to Kuyper, conveniently just four miles down the road from Cornerstone! And so, for the first time since graduating high school, we got to be in the same place for more than three weeks. It wasn’t the easiest, but I know our friendship grew in awesome ways, as did our dating relationship. It’s so awesome to have my best friend just down the road during the stress of college! And then, once again in January, it was time to say goodbye as I followed another dream of mine in studying abroad. Michigan and Kenya are awfully far apart, especially for 16 weeks. But, here we are, the end is in sight. In the past 2.5 years, almost exactly half of that time has been spent in different places. Our story has now spread over four states (Ohio, Michigan, Montana, Pennsylvania), five countries (US, Canada, Cambodia, Kenya, Tanzania), three continents (North America, Asia, Africa) and countless time zones, miles, phone calls, texts, Facebook messages, and the ever-wonderful Skype call.
Hiking 11 miles over Spring Break
We have some pretty great memories J. Countless movie nights and Office marathons, family game nights, Zoo Lights, Prom, missions trips, Cedar Point, family holidays. Walks in the Metroparks, hiking, kayaking, watching meteor showers, bonfires. I’m glad we enjoy the outdoors together! Truck rides, fair trips, getting me to like country music. ArtPrize, trips downtown, coffee shop tours, farmer’s market, antique shops, church hopping, Meijer Gardens, exploring Grand Rapids. Our crazy little free trip to Mobile! Cheap movie tickets, Wendy’s dates, Panera dates, any kind of date! Shoepffle Gardens and ice cream. My necklace, my puppy, the care packages you made for each week of the semester, flowers sent to me while you were in Cambodia. Our truck rides to and from school, getting to just talk without thinking about homework. Hours on the phone or Skype when we’re a part. The way we can talk about anything and everything, the way you can make me smile and laugh. I love dating you, and you truly are my best friend!
Jared, you have been so patient and understanding in the times I have gone somewhere without you or followed dreams of mine that haven’t been with you. You have been incredibly caring and encouraging, especially during this hard semester. I know that you’re there for me, no matter where I am, as long as we can figure out some way to communicate ;) Again, thank you Lord for Skype! The more I travel and try different adventure, the more my respect and thankfulness for you grows. I constantly think of you, pray for you, and wish you were here to explore with me. You are a hard worker, and have a true servant’s heart. You desire to follow Christ, and always want to find the next way in which you can grow and know Him better. I have watched you grow over these past few years, and especially in the past two semesters. College has challenged you, and grown you in many ways. I know it’s not your favorite thing, and it doesn’t always go how we hoped, but I am so proud of you! You show integrity in the way you live, and have always shown me, and all girls, respect that is rare in guys your age. You have some pretty neat dreams that I sure hope I get to be a part of. I hope this is the end of our adventures a part, and that the majority of adventures from here on out will be side by side! One thing I’ve definitely learned is that it’s not so much where you go, but who you go with. And I most definitely want to go everywhere with you! “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
24 days my dear! The end is so very much in sight. 3.5 weeks. We have come through 12.5 on opposite sides of the world. It’s time to be together again, to spend time with my best friend, to have fun doing whatever and just enjoy your company. I can’t wait for this summer with you! Though it may not be a grand adventure, I look forward to getting to know you again and making more memories. We have our trip to Washington with the college group to look forward to. And while we’ll both be working to save for college, I know we’ll find and make time to check off as many activities on our list as we can. We’ve come through a lot, and it’s crazy to sit back and think about all God has brought us through. And yet, we’re still together through all the distance, all the change. It’s been hard, don’t ever let anybody tell you being so far from someone you care so deeply for is easy! Because it hurts, immensely and constantly. It has broken my heart to be so far this semester. We have grown up in many ways this semester, and we have learned to appreciate each other more and communicate better. God has used all our hard times for both our individual good, and our relationship’s good. So here’s to the future, to the next couple years of school, and beyond. To classes, jobs, family, friends, and following God’s plan through it all. I believe in us, I believe we have a good thing going. I look forward to things to come, to our future, to our dreams, and to adventures together.
May the Lord bless you and keep you Jared Keith. May His face shine upon you. May He grant you peace in all things. And may you always love Jesus more than anything, or anyone else, including me. Thank you Jared, for the past 2.5 years of your time, for your patience and care, for the time and effort you put into “us” and for all the wonderful memories. Thank you for being so hard to say goodbye to and be away from. Thank you for making me so anxious to be together again. Thank you for wanting to follow God and do His will, even when you’re unsure exactly what that looks like. I hope you always know how much I care about and for you and how thankful I am for you and our time together. Happy 2.5 years Jared!