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I often find my heart torn between many worlds. I’ve written before about how I’ve left pieces of my heart in different places, with different people, and I’ve never fully gotten any of those pieces back. Some pieces, despite the pain, I’m glad to have scattered; they keep me connected to those I hold dear. Others, I grieve the loss of, wishing I could have those precious pieces of myself back.

At this time in my life, I find my heart being mostly torn between my hometown of Greencastle, PA and Philadelphia. When I am home, my heart beats with my family and my partner and there is nowhere else I’d rather be in those moments. When I am in Philly, my heart beats with my church family and community and I feel a sense of belonging and purpose.

My boyfriend and I have been in a long distance relationship for over a year and while the distance is relatively short (3 hours) in the scheme of things, it is still nearly unbearable at times. We try to visit each other every few weeks, him driving up or me taking the train down.

We often talk about how we wish would could just do mundane things together whenever we feel like it– he’ll do the dishes while I’ll fold the laundry, we’ll peruse grocery store aisles for meals to make together, we’ll laze around on the couch in the evenings.

When we do get to see each other it’s always a whirlwind weekend– go here, visit there, make the most of every possible second. Then, a train ride or car drive later, it’s over and, in the silence of my apartment, the familiar lump rises in my throat and my heart feels as though it will burst.

It’s like whiplash, just when I have settled into place I am jerked back into another and my heart never really has time to heal. It aches and yearns and loves and longs and sometimes I just wish it would cease. But isn’t this part of life and part of love, the longing, the aching, the embracing? If not for the whiplash, the sense of grief and the sense of rapture, I would never know how deep and rich love truly can be. And that, my friends, is beautiful.