Letters to Luthien

Letters to My Future Bride

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