Hearts are stronger than distance

I love people and hearing their stories.

And I really love when their dreams come true.

My dear friend Crystal (I call her Peltz) is someone who has become one of my favorite people over the years. I met her during my first year of teaching, and I’m pretty sure it was destiny that we were meant to be friends. You know those people who just get you? Peltz is definitely one of those people for me.

We coordinated our outfits on my birthday one year.

We used to take what we called “upstare” pictures (which are basically us staring off into the distance) every Wednesday. I don’t even know how exactly they got started, but they became something fun we did on a weekly basis, and we occasionally even coordinated our outfits for them or had themed pics. We tried to come up with something fresh and creative each week. Was it silly? Probably. But we didn’t care—it was our thing.

Peltz is one of those friends who is genuine through and through and will drop everything in a heartbeat to help you when you need it. There was one day during a teacher workday when I started having unbearable pain, and some of my coworkers insisted I go to the hospital. Peltz immediately stepped in and said she was taking me there, no questions asked. She stayed with me the entire time (and kept me highly entertained, obviously) and even called my parents to make sure my family knew what was going on (and of course they showed up and to this day still ask about her and go on and on about what a great friend she is). She had so much she needed to be doing to get ready for the new school year, but she didn’t even act concerned about any of that—her main focus was making sure I was OK.

I had a ruptured ovarian cyst, so it was a long day in the hospital. She stayed the entire time and ended up taking me back to my car at the school later. Understandably so, she was pretty hungry and stopped at Chick-fil-A for a grilled chicken sandwich, and she gave me her extra Chick-fil-A sauce. I love that stuff, and I’m pretty sure I told her it’s so great that I could drink it—thus, a challenge was issued. So, in the front seat of her car, I downed that sauce on its own. I can’t say it’s something I’ll do on the regular anytime soon, but it’s a moment with Peltz I’ll never forget.

Then once she tried to trap me in a science lab.

I’ve known for years that my dear friend wasn’t planning on staying in Texas forever. Her heart has always been in Maine, and I was filled with joy for her when I found out that her dream is finally coming true. She’s found a wonderful job and home for her family to live in her favorite place on earth. The selfish part of me is already heartbroken that she’ll be so far away, but the other part of me knows this is exactly what she wants and what she needs.

The thing is, though, distance can’t ruin those true friendships and relationships that are meant to last. People sometimes leave, but the bonds don’t—they remain for as long as you let them.

Life is full of people and possibilities. Some people simply pass through our lives, and we only have limited time with them. Others are there for the long haul. Either way, they can impact us in so many ways and change our lives in what seems like a mere matter of seconds.

I have stories of heartache to prove it.

Change isn’t easy, and it’s not always embraced. But I don’t think it’s something that should necessarily be feared. It can be good for our hearts in ways we could never imagine.

She bought us tiny pink hats. THE BEST.

Peltz is gone from Texas, but I know she isn’t gone from my life. (Plus, we have matching necklaces that say “love” and matching tiny pink hats, so we’ll always have a special heart connection.) I love that she’s chasing her dreams, and I can’t wait to see what else is in store for her.

There’s a lot that happens in a single lifetime. There are adventures and dreams and hopes and opportunities and wins and losses and broken hearts and celebrations and so many other things. But it’s the people who make all of those things worth it.

And it’s those people—people like Peltz—who remind you every day why it’s so important to love and to live as big as you can.

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