Letters to Luthien

Letters to My Future Bride

TOGWD: Holding Hands While Driving

I always wondered why my dad drove left-handed.

Then it hit me.

Ever since then, I’ve driven left-handed in preparation for your arrival.

You know, I never did see him hold hands with my mother while driving…

March 31, 2012 Posted by | Things Other Guys Won't Do | Leave a comment

Who I Need You To Be #3: An Encourager

“My daddy was a wild one when he was younger
Everybody told my mama he’d be hard to tame
Full of himself he said ‘sir’ to nobody
But you ought to see him come running when mama calls his name

Where would we be without the love of a woman?
Standing behind her man even when he’s wrong
The true pure undying love of a woman
Makes a man a fool to think he can make it alone.”
Travis Tritt 

Have you ever walked up a flight of stairs with someone pushing you?

Try it some time. Get behind someone, tell them to lean back as you push them up the stairs. Then have them push you up. You can try it on hills too. It’s a strange feeling. It’s easier even than walking…it’s as if someone stepped in and denied gravity for you; there’s no work to it at all.

That’s what it’s like to validate someone. Their burden is lightened, and a simple but sometimes-daunting task suddenly proved not just doable but perfectly effortless.

Most of us say we don’t care what people think. We insist we’re independent of human opinion and have our own worth outside of the perceptions of others.

We all lie to ourselves that way.

The reality is that a single positive word can lift us completely out of a depression or sorrow, and a single rude comment can completely tear us down. It’s just the way we were built. (That’s why I tremble at the thought of how you’ll be able to hurt me.)

I suppose none of us takes the time to validate or encourage each other like we should. Encouragement is such a magical gift. It’s just words, but you can bless someone’s entire day with them, brighten an entire outlook with them, create a lifelong memory with them! We all need to be validated. And no one can validate a man like a woman.

I’m not going to lie. Sometimes it feels like I do a lot and no one appreciates it. I guess we all feel that way most of the time, but when I step back and look at the amount of effort I put into a lot of things I do and projects I tackle, it’s amazing that people just look past them.

Darling, I hope you’re not like that. I really, really need to be able to count on you for validation. Can you do that for me? Can you be a rock and pillar of support? Can you look at me even years down the road, and say with loving eyes and sincerest devotion how much you appreciate everything I do?

Please, oh please just remember to do that. I’m weak that way. If I feel like what I’m doing isn’t appreciated, I begin to wonder why I do it at all. If I feel like you don’t take what I do for granted, then it will all be worthwhile. Heck, if I get that smile and that thank you, if you can rub my arm, hug my neck, find those ways of expressing your gratitude and rewarding my efforts, I’ll be walking on air.

Believe me, I can get things done. I’m working two jobs, applying for my second degree, balancing my own personal errands, helping my family with all of their needs and practically running a non-profit organization all at once. I’m running at 60% efficiency, maybe 70% on a good day.

As I’ve said before, I thrill to think of how much I could get done if I had someone as lovely as you to motivate me.

March 30, 2012 Posted by | Who I Need You To Be | 1 Comment

The Blessing is a Curse

Sometimes I wonder if the people in ancient times didn’t have the better idea about certain things. Take marriage for example.

Okay, so maybe I wouldn’t exactly be thrilled to have an arranged marriage, but at least there the rules and roles were laid out in black and white, and you didn’t have all this vagary and angst in relationships.

Back then, they also had initiation rites for becoming an adult. The transition was stark and absolute: Today you are a man. (Or, woman.) The duties were clearly understood, and all in one ceremony, you assumed them. There was no confusion about roles, stages or identity.

That time usually came around the ages of 12-14, and with it came the ability to marry. Seems pretty weird to us, and I still think the average teenager, barely out of adolescence, is prepared to cope with being a true adult, let alone a married one.

But one thing you can’t deny, God in His wisdom ordained the human body to mature at that age.

Suddenly, along with every burden we must suddenly carry, every awkward growth we must suddenly cope with, we bear sexual characteristics as well — and worse, sexual desires.

All at once, a secret and sacred fire bursts into flames deep inside a heart. The fire is not yet understood…but burning all the same.

The church says very little to youth during this time. We’re too busy distracting them with games and activities, and we’re too embarrassed and ashamed of the subject and our own shortcomings to deal with it directly. We hand them a “thou shalt not” or two and that’s the end of it. The world is waiting in the wings to whisper the “real story” in our ears as our eyes grow wide. If we give any encouragement, validation or promise to these burgeoning adults, it’s with a stern “wait for marriage” edict. We give them a destination without the slightest hint of a map to get there.

Our society tends to view marriage at the ages of 18 or 20 as too soon. People who marry in their low- to mid-twenties are generally assumed to be doing it right.

If you do the math, that’s well nigh an entire decade where God expects us to carry and subdue these flaming, raging desires and urges. Adversity produces strength, I know, but clearly this is a test that even fewer people pass than I thought.

There is little help for the burning heart. There is even little acknowledgement of it from the church, particularly the married couples who might — if they try — be able to recall the misery and mournfulness of living under the burden of that blessing twice cursed. If they can, they (might) just pat your head condescendingly, reflect on distant days of loneliness shrouded by decades of marital bliss, and tell you you’ll get there. Thanks a lot.

The world bids you eat. They wave all manner of tempting odors before you, and your stomach murmurs and groans in hunger. All your friends either dive in or give in.

And there some of us are, sad, hungry, frustrated and thoroughly alone.

Sexuality is one of the only gifts of God I know of which is a curse before it becomes a blessing.

March 30, 2012 Posted by | Loneliness, Purity | Leave a comment

Haven’t Met You Yet

“…And I know some day that it’ll all turn out
You’ll make me work so we can work to work it out
And I promise you kid that I give so much more than I get
I just haven’t met you yet

I might have to wait, I’ll never give up
I guess it’s half timing and the other half’s luck
Wherever you are, whenever it’s right
You’ll come out of nowhere and into my life

And I know that we can be so amazing
And baby your love is gonna change me
And now I can see every possibility

Somehow I know that it’ll all turn out
You’ll make me work so we can work to work it out
And promise you kid I’ll give so much more than I get…

I just haven’t met you yet.”

Michael Buble

March 29, 2012 Posted by | Songs | Leave a comment

#19: To Fight With You

Ever wonder what our first fight will be about?

“What a strange question!” you might respond. No, not really. A strange promise, then? Perhaps. After all, who would give the woman he loves a guarantee of conflict?

But don’t you see? That’s the hallmark of true love. How could I promise anything else? That’s what lovers do. They fight. They argue and squabble. Familiarity breeds romance, love and, yes, contempt.  It’s actually a sign that we care because otherwise, why would either of us waste time?

Oh darling, I hate to think of it now, but we’re probably going to get into all kinds of arguments.

You’re probably going to be one of the very few people that can get underneath my armor and really hurt me. As the years progress, you’ll get to know me better than anyone else. You’re going to learn how to hurt me. You’re going to say mean, horrible things to me in a fight. Or maybe you’ll just freeze me out and give me the silent treatment. You’ll make me feel empty and bare, like my universe is caving in and my world is ending.

The funny thing is, right now I would give anything to trade places with that me. That future me would probably rather gladly accept the trade, but to have someone that I care about so much that it hurts would be an improvement.

And ah! what fun we’ll have making up!

Now, mind you, when I say I promise to fight, I don’t just mean arguing with you. I may even mean that I’ll fight you. Not physically (never!), but maybe the day will come when you don’t accept yourself for who you are. Maybe you don’t feel worth it. Maybe I’ll have to remind you of your value, maybe I’ll have mount the walls you’ve put up, invade the towers, break through your clouds of despair and darkness and pull you out into the sunlight…or bring sunlight to you.

If I have to, I will fight you for yourself.

I can see it now when we have those married fights, or even those couples fights before we’re married (when it hits us that this is how bad it hurts to be without each other), and we finally have that moment where the tension releases, and the tears come down your face and maybe mine as we fall back into each other’s arms and heal the rift, so relieved to find how tiny it is compared to our love.

You know I’ll never leave you. Our love will have to be deeper and stronger than the winds and storms, even the ones we create.

As much as it hurts to think about now, I know you’ll matter so much to me that we’ll eventually fight.

I’m sorry for that. But I know that love can hurt and be volatile if it’s true love. And that’s the kind of true love I’ll always have for you.

I promise.

March 25, 2012 Posted by | Promises | Leave a comment

Do You Dream Of Me?

“Dreams…within the still of night
On wings of hope take flight inside of me.
There upon some distant shore
We want for nothing more than what will be.

And you and I, here we are
I wonder as we’ve come this far…

If I could only read your mind
Tell me the answer I would find
Do you dream of me?
And when you’re smiling in your sleep
Beyond the promises we keep
Do you dream of me?

Love has found a magic space
A deep and hidden place where time stands still.
Now I hold you in my arms
You know you hold my heart and always will.
And you and I, here we are
And it’s a wonder that we’ve come this far.

And after all that we’ve been through
You’ve leaned on me, I’ve leaned on you
Do you dream of me?
And when you’re smiling in your sleep
Beyond the promises we keep
Do you dream of me?

If I could only read your mind
Tell me the answer I would find
Do you dream of me?
And when you’re smiling in your sleep
Beyond the promises we keep
Do you dream of me?
And after all that we’ve been through
You’ve leaned on me, I’ve leaned on you…

Do you dream of me?

Michael W. Smith

March 21, 2012 Posted by | Songs | Leave a comment

#18: To Grow Old Together

“Remember when
We said when we turn gray
When the children grow up and move away
We won’t be sad, we’ll be glad
For all the life we’ve had…
And we’ll remember when.”
Alan Jackson 

Did you know your grandparents?

I never did. Not really. One set of grandparents was mean and unkind and distant. The other died when I was too little to appreciate their presence and influence in my life.

I don’t know what it’s like to have extended family that cares, that can fill that loving, indulgent role mythologized by movies and comics. I don’t know what it’s like to go over to the grandparents’ for Christmas, or to have Grandma fix a plate of cookies. I’ve never had someone to model that “aged love.”

Yeah, kind of sad.

But aren’t old couples wonderful to watch? Don’t they give you hope and restore your faith in a love that lasts? There’s plenty of old couples I run into, especially at church or work. They fascinate me, and I get along with them better than most of my own peers. Old couples are like living history. Their memories reach decades into the past, to a time which you and I can only read about in encyclopedias.

There’s nothing more beautiful to see than an old couple still in love: wrinkled lips that still kiss affectionately, wizened hands that still reach for each other, every little action and gesture that has weathered the storms and found to be true by test of time.

Who wouldn’t want that kind of love?

That’s what I want our love to be. No one can promises how long we’ll walk the earth. Truthfully dear, I’m inclined to burn up this body and this life in bright service for the King. I may arrive in my coffin a little earlier than most, and perhaps a little more worn, but that is not mine to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. All I can do is my King’s bidding.

But I promise you now, that for whatever span of years God gives us, I will spend them with you.

I promise we will grow old together.

In the eyes of the world, time will wear away whatever beauty you or I may have had. That’s why they say beauty is only skin-deep…the skin wears out. Our hair will thin and turn gray, our bodies will grind down from the years’ decay. That’s why it’s been so hard to find you, my darling. If I looked no further than the surface, it would have been easy. We have to be able to look past all that, even when beauty glows brightly. We have to be sure we have loved more than just that which fades.

“Deep hearts, sage minds, take life as God has made it; it is a long trial, an incomprehensible preparation for an unknown destiny. This destiny, the true one, begins for a man with the first step inside the tomb. Then something appears to him, and he begins to distinguish the definitive. The definitive, meditate upon that word. The living perceive the infinite; the definitive permits itself to be seen only by the dead. In the meanwhile, love and suffer, hope and contemplate. Woe, alas! to him who shall have loved only bodies, forms, appearances! Death will deprive him of all. Try to love souls, you will find them again.” – Victor Hugo

I’m looking for the soul that burns straight and true, the soul I can find again, whose unending devotion and service will not dim with the passing of years, and who is not afraid to step into life’s twilight if she walks with her Lord and with her husband.

For the measure of grace our Lord gives us, I will indeed walk those years with you.

I promise.

March 19, 2012 Posted by | Promises | 1 Comment

How You Inspire

“You inspire me; when my eyes begin to glaze
You inspire me in so many ways
When I’m on the ground
You seem to know how to pull the blessings down
And spread them all around
You inspire me…”

Engelbert Humperdinck 

Even now, you’re inspiring me. Did you know that? You are.

You’re inspiring me to write these letters to you. At present, I’ve written almost seventy, and I have another forty-two drafts.

I keep getting hit with thoughts and ideas to share with you. I keep a pen and paper handy so I can write them down and remember them.

Somehow when I daydream about you, I become a better man. The thoughts and feelings which surround you in my head inspire me to be better, and to want better, and to do better.

Woman has been inspiring Man for thousands of years, you know. You make us better. You make us want to reach for more when we would be content with less.

I’ve heard people often say they want to get married because they love the person they become when they’re with their spouse-to-be. I’ve felt a corner of that inspiration before in real life. I once wrote a poem. And it was easy. It just came to me, my thoughts written in verse and rhyme.

That’s not typical. Not for me.

That’s what makes me look forward to when you and I actually come together. It may be selfish, but I know I’ll feel that renewed drive to shoot for the sky and push myself to be better and do better, for you. I know you’re going to make me a better man.

Until then, I’ll just keep writing, thinking…and dreaming.

March 18, 2012 Posted by | Wonderfully You | Leave a comment

In Anticipation of…Tears

“I would rather see a single genuine tear than a thousand faked smiles.”

Lurking behind your beautiful eyes, there is a treasure just waiting to be wrung out of them by tragedy.

We’re going to experience a lot of those tragedies, you and me. Life is full of them.

Our parents will grow old and eventually die.

Our friends will get sick, and some will die.

We’ll have to attend funerals together…maybe for our own family.

I can’t bear the thought of this, but Darling, let’s face it, sometimes I’m going to be the cause of those tears. One day, you and I will have arguments. We’ll both get mad and angry and upset, and you’ll cry. There’s going to be a lot of storms that we’re going to have to weather, and many bitter tears to share between us.

But not all tears are an evil.

Don’t forget, there will be tears of joy too…the ones I’ll be disappointed if I don’t see when I drop to one knee and give you a ring. What about those tears of joy and pain when our first baby is handed to us? Smiles, kisses, hugs and other princely rewards may abide, but I think those involuntary tears of joy will be the rarest of rewards I will treasure.

Did you know, you’re lucky you can cry. In fact, if you weren’t the crying type, I would wonder what is wrong with you. I’m really not able to. I can be vulnerable, but even on my own in moments of sadness, my tears are few and far between. It’s my own fault. I trained myself not to react, to be impervious and unflappable in the face of danger, pain and surprise.

In a way, and forgive a foolish thought, these letters are my tears, each one a drop imprinted on the page; an ambassador of the pain I’ve felt and lived with for so long…ah! so long.

Never be ashamed of your emotions or your tears. They make you who you are, a woman who wears her heart on her sleeve even when she doesn’t always want to. Crying doesn’t mean you’re not tough. Maybe more so, because you can feel; you can have that release and still face down your day, your world, your life. They relieve that pressure from the inside out. Who hasn’t felt even a little bit better after a good cry?

I can see it now, that first time I see you cry. That first time I am to be trusted with your vulnerability and sadness. You may not exactly be sobbing, but one or two of those beautiful droplets of sorrow will brim up, roll over your eyelid, off your eyelashes, down your cheek. You’ll think it’s something to hide, but Darling, the truth is your tears will be so precious to me…I will count myself honored to cradle these symbols of your sorrow in my hand.

I may not always know how to fix the hurt. But I will be there to wipe those tears away. I can’t wait to be there to wipe those tears away! I think, to be the shoulder for you to bury your head in will be one of my greatest callings; to softly stroke your back and hair, to whisper “shh, it’ll be alright” and just hold you and love your tears away…

What a breathtaking adventure to cherish and await.

March 16, 2012 Posted by | Anticipation, Loneliness | 1 Comment

I Don’t Know How

The only way I know how to stop hurting is to love you less.

I don’t know how to do that.

March 15, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment