Letters to Luthien

Letters to My Future Bride

In Anticipation of…Hair

Dear Darling,

What’s the first thing you notice in a guy?

Is it his smile? His height or weight? His style, his manner of walk, or his eyes?

For me it’s hair. It’s not the only thing, but since I can safely say that 80%-90% of what I notice right off is what’s going on above the neck, hair is a big deal.

Maybe it sounds like a weird thing to dwell on, but I don’t care, I’ll say it anyway. It’s one of the first things I notice about a woman, any woman. Maybe because it says so much about you.

If you dye it, does it mean you’re less content with the way you are? Or always wanting to change? If you cut it short, is it because you don’t want to be bothered with maintenance, or you’re not comfortable being a feminine?

Hair is such a crown for women…it mystifies me that so many of them hack, crop and cut it so short.

Of course, there may be any of a thousand reasons why you have it short, or dye it, or whatever. I’m not criticizing. We all have our preferences about appearance, and this is one of mine; hair long and wonderful for me to adore. To have license to run my hands through it, to come up behind you and breathe in the fragrance you use (some off-brand conditioner you couldn’t name to save your life could quickly become the scent of adoration), to caress it against my face.

I can brush it for you sometimes, if you like. Maybe you can even teach me how to help you put it up.

I already know it’s going to be beautiful. I wonder what will it look like when I first see you. Will you have it put up? Will you let it down to blow freely in the wind? Will I even remember? You know there’s nothing quite so attractive as a woman letting her hair down, nor yet, a woman whose hair dances in the golden splendor of sunset.

I used to think I had a preference on the color. Such a trivial matter in the end, really. I’m partial to darker, richer colors like black or dark brown. But if you’ve blonde or auburn hair, what does it matter? I’m good with just about any of them. (Depending on the blonde, it tends to be overused nowadays.) Curly or straight? Again, when it comes to our actual meeting, the matter will be too trivial to care, but I always liked the straight and smooth look better.

You will pardon me my dear, and I don’t mean this suggestively in the slightest, but I can see me “petting” you a great deal in our early months. When finding a treasure after such a long search, any man would keep it nearby, and sometimes reach out just to touch and remind himself it’s still there. How much more would I not reach out to cradle the beautiful head of my bride against my chest, and stroke your curls softly as you close your eyes, snuggle in to the warmth and listen to my heart beat or my voice reverberating through my chest. Your hair is just one of a thousand charms that make you so unique and wonderful…one of a thousand simple questions that remain unanswered in your absence…one of a thousand traits whose discovery I’m anticipating.

Love you dear.

-Beren

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April 10, 2012 Posted by | Anticipation, Wonderfully You | 2 Comments

All I Have to Give

“All of me, why not take all of me?
Can’t you see I’m no good without you?
Take my lips I wanna lose them
Take my arms I’ll never use them
Your goodbyes left me

with eyes that cry
How can I get along without you?
You took the part
that once was my heart
So why not take all of me?”
Michael Buble 

In case you haven’t noticed by now, I want to give you all of me.

Not the rest of me. Not me plus the pieces I gave to ten other girls. Not me plus the two or three girls that I slept with. Not me and the one girl I thought was the one, so I went ahead and cheated. Not me and the one moment of biological weakness, overcome by the heat of passion and raging chemistry.

Me. Just me. All of me, wholly and completely. All the skill and life and love and talent and memories and blessings I’ve been given, every lesson learned and every path traveled, every thought, every song, every letter. Since I can’t invest in you, or us, I’m investing in myself to make sure what you’re getting gets better every day.

I’ve tamed the beast of passion and subdued it for a time, the better to honor and cherish you upon your arrival.

And I don’t understand why the world despises me for it.

It’s almost as if the message is “don’t bother trying  to become better; the world will hate you and envy you for becoming better than them.” Don’t misunderstand, I don’t entertain thoughts of superiority. I’m a sinner, plain and simple. But I’m a sinner who, first of all is saved by grace, and second has decided to shoot for becoming a better person through prayer, through education, through study, through perseverance, through hard work. It’s like the athlete who added to his training a backpack full of rocks, and on the day of his race, he outperformed his jealous cohorts. Rather than rewarding hard work and effort, they cursed his ability and excused their lack, even though they could have done the same.

Can you imagine if you spent hours, days, years working to become something? Strong, funny, intelligent, resourceful, educated, equipped to provide, whichever…and someone says “not good enough!” and slaps your face? Few of us would be unmoved if we were to witness a child spending a week painstakingly drawing a picture for a beloved vacationing teacher, only to present it to her and have her tear it up because it wasn’t good enough.

That’s what it feels like. It’s difficult to see people reject me, or turn their nose up at my efforts, not just because they’re MY efforts but because they’re supposed to be for a woman seeking more than the average jerk. They represent something higher, something I don’t see very often. They represent a standard that I felt obligated to uphold because no one else does. I see men, countless men abdicating their God-given duties to be a husband, a father, a leader. I see them mistreating women, using them, abusing them, breaking their hearts. In response, I roll up my sleeves, set my jaw and determine to be the exact opposite — to get it right. To lead without dominating; to be courageous yet cautious, benevolent but not gullible; accommodating but not compromising; strong but not overbearing, gentle but firm, tender but not weak.

The joke’s on me, ha! Turns out women like the jerks they run with. They spurn the “good guys” in favor of the rush and thrill of a “bad boy” who domineers them (a false and distorted view of a man’s role to lead) and only after having their fun do they seek the man who isn’t corrupted.

Did you ever wonder why they call it “cheating”? It’s because man and woman were designed to be happy with one another, but only with one another, and only in the confines of marriage. To find that fulfillment any other place “cheats” the proper paths to the abundant pleasures God has created.

And they all cheat.

It’s almost despair enough to flush out those elusive tears of mine.

Oh Darling. I know it seems like I ask for much, but I can put up with so much in return…really I can. Do you have trust issues? Big deal. Were you abused as a child? Piece of cake. Former druggie? Nothing I can’t handle. Were you raped? Doesn’t make one bit of difference to me. Struggling with the weight? Hey, don’t we all. Crap like that I can fix — I can love you through it. I told you before…God gave me broad shoulders and thick armor for some of these struggles.

But I want all of you. I’m giving you all of me, can’t you do the same?

I’m all I have to give. I may not be much, but it’s the best I could possibly give.

It’s all I have.

April 9, 2012 Posted by | Loneliness, Purity | 2 Comments

Tough

“You’re out of luck 
And the reason that you had to care 
The traffic is stuck 
And you’re not moving anywhere 

You thought you’d found a friend 
To take you out of this place 
Someone you could lend a hand 
In return for grace…”
U2 

I have to let you in on a little secret. Men aren’t that tough.

Maybe you already knew that, or thought you did. Maybe your mother or a relative already told you a woman can handle three illnesses at once, while a few flu germs will lay a man up for a week. Not in my experience, but, ha ha, whatever. Me, I get sick maybe once a year, and not even laid-up-in-bed sick.

No, what I’m talking about is facing down the world. It hit me again today, another bad day, and I found myself longing for you again. I just need somebody on my side, who can look at me, and immediately know (and ask) what’s wrong, and not to give up until you’ve dragged it out of me.

The world troubles me. I’m probably carrying more than my share of it, but it’s heavy. People will ask me how I’m doing, but they don’t mean it. So I smile like we all do and tell them things are fine. By the way, I’m not going to break down and tell you what’s wrong the first time. You’re going to have to show me you can see something’s wrong and you want to know.

When it comes to lifting heavy loads, performing grueling manual labor, facing the odds and fighting danger, sure, we’re tough.

But when it comes to just the simple, stupid things of everyday life, things are different. I work with several police officers, and the toughest, biggest, strongest one of them admitted he was weeping while pumping iron when he thought of his unborn baby daughter.

We’re not as tough as we look sometimes.

There was a girl I thought profoundly worthy of further inspection and acquaintance…one of the first of whom I’ve thought so well. She immediately rejected my interest, explaining that she had some things in her past that made her put most people in the “friend zone.”

I don’t know why it hit me like it did. Rejection? I’ve felt that before. Frustration? Sure. Like She Who Never Called Back, it seems that any girl I view with some interest immediately views me with disinterest. Meanwhile, I’m assailed with uninteresting women who would love to have a piece of me but have nothing to give in return.

You know by now I’m joyfully anticipating every moment of our lives together. And we build up those hopes, don’t we. We start building a house without ever asking somebody if they’d like to live there. You think you’re close to hot meals, warm conversation, loving eyes and tight hugs; all the creature comforts that have eluded me for so long. To think you’re close to all that and then have someone slam the window on your hopeful face…well, it hurts.

They say you shouldn’t idolize marriage. It’s not going to solve every problem, it’s an imperfect arrangement between two sinners. But look, I deal with sinners all the time, myself included. I can put up with a lot. Somehow, I just don’t see the curses that come with marriage possibly outweighing the benefits…just as I don’t see the blessings of solitude outweighing its universal curse.

And who are they to tell me not to idolize marriage, that institution that the world drones endlessly on about in song and verse, music and poetry, movies and novels, stories and conversations and anything and everything in between. You can’t rave about the honey and then warn the starved souls about the stomach ache. You probably shouldn’t have been raving about the honey to begin with.

Anyway darling, I consider myself pretty tough. That’s not to say I won’t break down when I think of our children or you, but I think once we’ve got each other to lean on, there’s no reason why we can’t both be tough together…even through the tears.

April 9, 2012 Posted by | Loneliness | Leave a comment

The Bucket List

“I want to cry like the rain, cry like the rain
Shine like the sun on a beautiful morning
Sing to the heavens like a church bell ringing
Fight with the devil and go down swinging
Fly like a bird, roll like a stone
Love like I ain’t afraid to be alone
Take everything that this world has to give;
I want to live.”
Josh Gracin

You know, God didn’t put us on this earth just to be full-time missionaries.

The trees and sky and flowers and mountains and rain weren’t put here to please the unbelievers while we try to evangelize them. For whatever stock you put in the Westminster Confession and all that, the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. He made life for us to enjoy, and there is no guilt in doing that.

There is so much life to be lived!

There are all kinds of exciting things I want to do before dying, things I’d like to share with you.

I want to go hunting, caving, fishing, hiking, snorkeling, mountain-climbing, kayaking, hang-gliding, sailing, and go horseback riding down the beach.

I want to get a pilot’s license. I want to go on cruises. I want to go backpacking in hill country, wilderness where no one is around for miles and we can cuddle by our own fire.

I want to hop in the car and take road trips when we can, and singing songs together with the windows down. (You are a windows-down type of girl, aren’t you? Stick with me long enough and you will be.)

Missions trips are in the plan too. In fact, you know what I want to do? Remodel a small country. No seriously. Find big-time financiers, find some way of creating a usable export and educating the natives on how to manufacture it, and then selling them (the exports) and helping to revolutionize a small country, making it an example for other investors. Sure they need water and food and rudimentary things to survive, but what are they living for? What are they hoping for, what can they pass on to their children?

I don’t find my calling to be on the mission field, mind you, but to some mission trips, and to use the skills, gifts, talents and resources God gives us to change the world. Ah, how many people talk about changing the world. How few of them try.

I told you before I want to burn up my life brightly in the service of the King. There’s no reason why we can’t have fun and enjoy ourselves while doing that.

Do you think you help me have fun again? In many ways, I’ve forgotten how. How to have fun, how to laugh. If you meet me, then you’d never believe me, but I don’t really have fun or laugh on my own. I do things I enjoy, like exercising or writing or reading or cleaning. Is it fun? Not really.

Anyway…I hope that wedding gown of yours comes with a seat belt. It’s going to be one heaven of a ride.

April 6, 2012 Posted by | Anticipation | 1 Comment

On Stormy Nights

“The rain beats hard at my window
While you, so softly do sleep
And you can’t hear the cold wind blow
You are sleeping so deep

Outside it’s dark, the moon hiding
By starlight only I see
The host of the night-time go riding
But you are safe here with me…”
Secret Garden

Dear Darling,

The raindrops are still faintly tapping on the roof tonight as I sit here writing to you. Aside from the various whirs and hums that modern society learns to ignore and perhaps a distant rumble of thunder, everything is quiet.

Everything is quiet.

It’s not unwelcome, and yet it is. It’s been an enormously busy week, and now I’m poised on an island of silence, enjoying the respite of darkness before taking another breath and plunging back into another day.

I feel like there’s still something left to do before I turn out the light…like there’s an unfinished task I haven’t discovered.

I think of the times when the inferno of our love settles down to a steady blaze, when we become comfortable in each other’s company and the sacred and wonderful times of sharing our thoughts become commonplace.

We’re going to have so much to talk about, you and I. We’ll have an entire lifetime of thoughts, hurts, loves, dreams, hopes and memories to catch up on, and all while we’ll start making more of them in our lives together. That’s going to be one of the things that tells us we’ve found each other you know, when hours of conversation feel like minutes, when we connect and click on so many levels in so many ways. Maybe that’s when we’ll start to realize a greater power was at work to make us for each other, and we never had anything to worry about.

Times like tonight will be the times I’ll appreciate the most. Okay, so I’ll appreciate all of them, but those drowsy quiet times when our day and our minds are slowing down and we can enjoy that peaceful bedroom conversation will be full of comfort and belonging.

There’s a simple and beautiful contradiction in the words “alone together.”

Can’t you see it? There’s one or two lamps left on by the bed. I might be reading a book and you might be brushing your hair. Maybe we’ll both be reading books. Maybe we can read to each other. Would you like that? I enjoy narrating books and dramatizing them. I’ll be fine with watching some nighttime television, but I never want to have a TV in our room, or make that our nightly routine.

We’ll sort out our problems, and the problems of the world. We’ll agree about things, and disagree about others. We’ll work out schedules and details, we’ll share new secrets about our lives in sudden moments of vulnerability or tenderness.

And then, we fold up the books, pull up the covers, turn out the lights, a goodnight kiss (or two!) before snuggling in and just listening. Listening to each other, or the crickets, or our slow breathing as we drift off to dream, or….or perhaps the rain on the roof.

Those will be the moments where we are perfectly content just to be alive and in each other’s company…the moments when life will be complete. The greatest of joys, from the smallest of pleasures.

‘Tis a a bitter and cruel comfort for one man to sleep in a bed meant for two. But I smile fondly with thoughts of our future, and send you all my love from our past.

Love always,
-Beren

“So, while the world out there is sleeping
And everyone wrapped up so tight
Oh, I am here a vigil keeping
On this stormy night
I promised I always would love you
If skies would be gray or be blue
I whisper this prayer now above you
That there will always be you.”

April 5, 2012 Posted by | Anticipation, Loneliness, Nights Like These, Songs | Leave a comment

Heartbreaker

As she stood before Aragorn she paused suddenly and looked upon him, and her eyes were shining. And he looked down upon her fair face and smiled; but as he took the cup, her hand met hers, and he knew that she trembled at the touch. ‘Hail Aragorn, son of Arathorn!’ she said. ‘Hail Lady of Rohan!’ he answered, but his face now was troubled and he did not smile.

Dear Darling,

I’m sitting here at the end of another busy day (actually, a busy week — come to think of it, the month has been rather frenetic too) and reflecting on my “history” in relationships. It is a shallow pool, Darling, but perhaps you will think it wide. I find my own encounters with the opposite sex, no matter how brief, to be amusing and fraught with lessons. Most striking to me is my own apparently different approach to women, and to relationships, a subject I have written on often, and meditated on longer.

For one thing, they say a man mentally undresses a woman he is interested in within seconds of meeting her. As a man, there are things that do not escape my attention, but I am careful to guard my thoughts and protect the honor of any woman I am interested in.

For another thing, I am saddened by how many women are attracted to me. Such a complaint may be found amusing by men and arrogant among women. But it is true.

Darling, I’m not perfect. Not even close. Not even ballpark. Not even “fly-ball-shot-out-of-a-canon-in-the-dugout” ballpark.

But as you’ll recall, we already discussed the idea of “perfection.” Unfortunately, there’s a lot of people who come across me and they think I’m perfect for them.

I said before, I’ve worked hard to be that way, and I’ve built distinctions in several different areas, developed diverse skill sets. To complain that people find me “too good to be true” would seem like the epitome of so many brands of arrogance. In truth, I find myself instinctively defending myself when people think I have it so good. I instantly want to prove to them that hard work and the Lord favor me, not fortune. I’ve had grown men twice my age look at me and confide they wish they’d been as tall as me. I’ve seen the jealousy in the eyes of colleagues.

I’d like to think all I’ve done is make the best of the opportunities God has bestowed.

I know I’m looking for someone special to share that kind of life. But as I look for you, I run across a lot of other girls who would love to have someone like me to take home. The arch-typical conversation goes something like this:

“You’re great. You’re pretty much exactly what I’ve been looking for.”

“Oh my. Thank you. Are YOU?”

[Girl bows her head, averting her troubled eyes. “No,” she whispers.]

When I first meet you, I think one of the first questions I’ll really want to know is how many guys you’ve known or gone out with in the past. In so desiring, though you may find it foolish, I may as well return the favor.

I’ve had my heart wrung, though not broken, and I have dealt my share of pains, though not always willingly.

There was one girl who I met on the internet. (I shall call her “Rachel.”) Rachel and I enjoyed very close conversations about anything and everything, and traded long e-mails back and forth. We even met a few times when it became apparent we were such good friends. But this was when I was in my late teens. You don’t know what life is about at that age, much less love. There are three areas of compatibility in relationships: friendship, faith and romance. I felt kinship as friends and in our faith, but when it became apparent I had no romantic inclinations, she told me she felt it best that we discontinue discussions. We were always honest about not leading each other on, but I fear she did let me too far into her heart without telling me, and I’m afraid I hurt her very much in a parting which did me no injury whatsoever. I spoke with her again years later, and only then did I realize the extent of the damage. To get over me, she burned a bunch of our e-mails and letters. (Wow.) She is happily married and has children now. I should have known she’d beat me to the altar.

There was one special girl for whom, I’ll not deny, I still hold a fond memory. (I will call her “Jaime.”) I did not intend to fall for her. She merely befriended me, and our friendship extended to phone calls. She was warm, caring and compassionate, more than most of my Christian friends and certainly more than any girl I’d known. Once again, both of us told each other we weren’t interested in a relationship. I was torn because she was not yet devout in her faith to the Lord, and hadn’t waited. Perchance, it was the first compatibility of both friendship and romance which lacked the faith. As feelings developed, she was the first girl I hurt because I was continually compelled to try to talk out my concerns, which she interpreted as me throwing them in her face. She was the first person to make me feel special simply for being me, and I think in departing, she left a much-needed wound which allowed me to feel. I’ll be honest, Darling, against some measure of logic, this could be that “first flame” which they say never really goes out.

I went on a few dates with “Kelly”…I’m afraid she liked me very, very much. I felt friendship and faith, but once again, no romance. (How does one quantify these so-called biological concepts such as “chemistry” in the view of God’s word? Is it the leading of the Holy Spirit? Is it true chemistry, the biological processes of our world conspiring either to oppose us or enhance us?) After just three dates, I felt there was little to continue on. I asked that we remain friends, but I know her hopes were high and our friendship is a delicate one.

“Katie” was a wonderful friend, and this prompted me to wonder if there was anything more. She, too, invoked pain and bewilderment by having not waited. She was also several years my senior. (I don’t know why dear, but I’ve always disliked the idea of you being older than me. It’s probably just pride) The strange thing is, the nature of our friendship changed very little while we dated. She felt like a friend and only a friend. She came from many dark experiences and had still emerged very polished for her troubles, but her faith still wavered at times. I asked that we return to being friends and friends only, and she absorbed the blow with flawless dignity. It’s not supposed to work to be “just friends” upon exiting a dating scenario, but it has. For that, I am grateful.

“Mary” is hardly worth a mention. She and I connected on the internet, she finding my writings and descriptions perfect for her expectations, being that her search only led her to men that expected her to lead the way with her faith. She inadvertently stepped into that minefield of purity and when I commended her, she sadly informed me that my commendation was not undeserved. I admitted this troubled me, and she then asked to discontinue discussions.

So you see Darling, I’ve never been rejected by a girl I found myself very fond of. They’ve all been sad to be turned down by someone they admired very much. Do you know how hard that is? Knowing the dismal state of manhood these days, I should like to find them a man like me, because I know I would take care of them if they were mine.

But relationships are the one area where I get to be selfish. This is the rest of my life we’re talking about — the rest of our lives. I have to be happy too, or else I can’t make you happy.

As relationships go, I come with very few strings attached. I’ll even admit it, I’m jealous of people who can fall into that warm and loving relationship so quickly. I assume the grandeur is mingled with grief when such relationships break off, but I’m also the jealous kind. I don’t want to have to share you with anyone else, even your memories. I hope you’re picky. I hope you’re as wonderful as I think you’ll be.

And I hope you’ll get here soon.

Until then, I’m waiting, hoping and searching.

Love always,
-Beren

April 1, 2012 Posted by | Loneliness, Purity | Leave a comment