Letters to Luthien

Letters to My Future Bride

In Anticipation of…Driving

“What a day you had today
It took your smile away
I think we ought to get away
Let’s run away

Take me out under the sky
Counting diamonds all through the night
And the moon in the morning light
Out under the sky

And it can happen any day
Everything goes astray
But the starts do us okay
Let’s run away…”

Dear Darling,

It’s getting hot early this year. I don’t care so much for the sweltering summer afternoons.

But aren’t summer nights amazing? I was driving home on one of them tonight. It seemed like every field I passed was a picture unto itself. Something about the golden sunlight repaints the landscape for us, the same way snow or fog does. It’s a comfortable kind of warm, even drowsy; passed the peak of midday heat, drifting into the edge of evening.

Nights like these were meant for more. They were built for you and me to go driving — for putting on happy, upbeat songs and rolling the windows down. For you to kick off your shoes, maybe even hang your pretty little painted toes out the window if you’re into that. They were made to put the sun roof back and let the wind play havoc with your hair.

They were made for warm, gentle love songs as the sun sets and the stars slowly come out to shine.

I can’t wait to spend these evenings with you. I can’t wait to take you down all the country roads I know…the back roads where few people drive, past rolling farms and pastures, down by old churches and towering trees. by gentle streams where the deer come out to graze. I can’t wait to take you down by the river, to explore new byways even I haven’t traveled yet.

I like driving together. It makes us each other’s captive audience, where we can watch the passing scenery, and either relax and be content to just be, or to talk about the deepest of subjects. I so look forward to the times when we actually can find our own places to go alone, to get out and walk together, to go camping and stargazing, or have a private picnic and watch the sun set, to relax and unwind and hold each other under the moonlight…..to make all the songs come true.

We’ve got a lot of driving ahead of us. Vacations. Business trips. Visiting relatives. Quick jaunts down to disaster-stricken areas. (Oh yes, I’ve often thought it would be awesome to coordinate a posse of volunteer workers, with dump trucks, bulldozers and other construction equipment that can just roll into a town and start cleaning up like nobody’s business when tornadoes or other natural disasters ravage whole cities.)

I have to warn you, I’m not so good on long car trips. I get restless and have to stop and stretch my legs. I’m not keen on the idea of big long coast-to-coast roadtrips. But if you’re with me, I daresay it will be almost tolerable. We can go out to Yellowstone and hike through the back country taking pictures and spotting wildlife. We can drive up the coast and see the legendary cliffs and lighthouses of New England. We can cruise down to Florida and smell the sweet perfumed air of orange blossoms. (Oh Darling, have you ever smelled that in early spring? I have. One whiff is pure, dizzying paradise.) We can drive all the way across the flat plains of Kansas and the deserts of Nevada and explore California together. We could drive through the wilds of Oregon and visit rainy Seattle. I’ve always wanted to drive that legendary Pacific Coastal Highway.

I could do all those things now you know. I mean, as time permits, I could pull those kinds of vacations as some kind of home-boy road trip. My gosh, I could do almost anything I’ve written about for the past seven months by myself if I wanted! The moments I describe are just my foolish, prosaic descriptions of the same ordinary, every day moments any one of us could pursue independently if we wanted.

The only thing missing is you.

What’s it worth alone? We’ve got a whole life to start on, and I can’t even find the starting line.

Ah, well now, don’t fret. We’ll get there, you and me. We’re storing up all these memories to cut loose when we do. We’re just waiting to be amazing, even in the mundane. In the meantime, hang in there and keep smiling. If loneliness hurts you as bad as it hurts me, maybe it’s just best not to let them all know.

I love you, and always will.

-Beren

“When all is said and done
Darlin’ we are the only ones
There’s only you and I
Out under the sky.”
Heart 

May 27, 2012 Posted by | Anticipation, Nights Like These, Songs | 1 Comment

The Same Moon

“If you choose a time, I’ll catch the moon
I’ll see you there
From wherever I am, wherever you are
We’ll find somewhere.
I see the same stars in the same sky
Shining down on you,
I’ll be looking up from wherever I am
And it’s you I’ll see if you’re looking too.

There’ll be days that’ll seem much longer,
Some nights will seem so cold,
And it’s gotta come soon – please don’t be too long,
Don’t be too long.

If you choose a time, we can catch the moon
I’ll see you there
Whenever it is, from wherever you are
oh we’ll find, yes we’ll find somewhere.
Are you looking at the same moon?”

Phil Collins

May 24, 2012 Posted by | Songs | Leave a comment

Worth A Thousand Words

I found a place that compiles the key words from websites into collages like this.

Wow.

May 22, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

In Anticipation of…Walking With You

Dear Darling,

So the other night I wrote about my long walks in the dark, and my anticipation of one day sharing them with you. Then I got to thinking about all the different walks we’re going to take.

We’ve got lots of them ahead of us…we’re going to go everywhere together.

It’s going to start with one walk in particular. You’re going to be wearing a beautiful white gown. I’ll be in a tuxedo hearing that glorious music heralding your arrival. I might be grinning like an idiot, or crying like a fool, but either way, I wouldn’t assume I’ll be big on composure.

It’s going to be your last walk alone. You’ll finally reach the end, and put your arm in mine….never to part.

We’ll turn and face our family and friends as they announce our new names and life together, and we’ll walk down the aisle as husband and wife. We’ll walk — run, really — from the rice being thrown at us (why do they do that anyway? Doesn’t matter, I still like the idea) and head off into our sunset.

Why, we might even find time to walk together on our honeymoon! But even afterwards, as the road of life we’re on rises up to meet us, we’ll have a lot of walking to do.

We’re going to hike mountain trails on vacations far and near. We’re going to go strolling down neighborhood sidewalks or rural driveways together.

We’ll drive down moonlit country roads and find a stream to walk beside. We’ll hike back into the woods, in and among tall cedar forests at dusk. Maybe we’ll find a secluded lake or pool and go skinny dipping. (I dare you!)

Let’s do the long walk on the beach too. Let’s curl up together and watch the moon come up glimmering over the water.

We’ll go walking on silent snowy nights. We’ll walk arm and arm through the grocery and the mall together. I’ll have my arm around you and pulling you close as we leave the movies, and I’ll hate to let go of you even when it makes our steps awkward and uneven.

We’ll walk through the valley of the shadow of death.

We’ll walk side by side through the days, weeks, months and years to come, on our way to growing old together.

Right now it feels more like a marathon, and I the exhausted runner. The finish line here is invisible. Hope flickers and fades at times, and it’s difficult to see the wounds of others and to know they are not mine to bind up.

But I’ll keep walking. Or running. Or crawling. Over broken glass if I have to. I know you’re there at the finish line, and wherever that is, no prize could be greater.

Love always,
-Beren

May 22, 2012 Posted by | Anticipation, Our Wedding | Leave a comment

A Clear Spring Night

Dear Darling,

It’s a little easier to think about you at night.

I just came in from a cool, inviting spring evening. I would write this letter outside, except the glare of this screen would so rudely disturb the darkness.

But it’s beautiful out there. The crickets maintain their steady chant, and somewhere off in the distance is a bird cheerily chirping away, as if he doesn’t know it’s night and no one is around to listen. God bless that little tyke, and thank God for creating him to sing like no one is listening.

A few early fireflies hover and blink in the shadows of the trees, and in the far distance I can hear a pack of coyotes. They’ve come too close on a couple of occasions.

Otherwise, it’s still and peaceful.

There’s a moonless sky, as full of stars as it ever has been, tantalizing, tempting and breaking the hearts of its beholders since time immemorial. Venus smolders on the horizon. Ironically, she is the namesake of the Roman goddess of love.

Late in the night, if it’s clear, you can even see the spiraled arm of the galaxy, reminding me that we’re still just tiny ants perched on a small blue marble suspended in space.

I love coming out here. I’ll bet I’ve taken a thousand of these walks. It’s easier to get out away from the noise and lights, breathe in the night air and listen to the stillness and noises of the night. It gives me just a sliver of that peace I crave, time to get away to pray and think.

How many of these walks have put me in mind of you, and how many times I have knelt before the Throne of Grace to ask the Lord’s blessing for you, I cannot even try to count. Many times I have imagined you taking my arm and our shadows gliding along the grass under a full moon, and even foolishly offered my arm to the empty night.

I’m hurting too, Darling. As usual. First, I was very rudely treated by one young woman who reminded me of you so much that I desired her better acquaintance. Second, I learned that a friend who I’ve known since I was very very young, but only recently reconnected with, got married without inviting me. I previously brought poinsettias for his house and fiance, and all seemed to be well, so I’m uncertain of the reason, particularly when a good friend of mine was invited. Third, I was spoken to unkindly by another woman who reminds me of you.

Oh I know, you needn’t say it. Men aren’t supposed to complain about such things. It’s life, not a soap opera. But I’ve told you before, many men maintain the tough and confident exterior until they step behind closed doors. The spell is broken, we are unmade, and we discover we’re not as strong as we think we are. There is freedom and relief in acknowledging this, but maybe some shame as well.

I try to make it a habit to check in with friends. To give them encouragement, to remind them to keep plugging away and focus on the positive. I don’t know that I do very much good, but everybody needs somebody. You know how so many people use Facebook as a covert cry for help? I answer those cries. If someone says they’re feeling sick, I text to see if they’re okay. If someone says they need someone to talk to, I chat with them or text. If someone needs prayer, I pray. If someone is nervous about a life event or circumstance they are facing, I text them to ask how it went.

I’m not bragging. It’s nothing less than what we are expected to do.

But I can’t be that guy anymore. Not all the time, not like I have been.

I get tired and spent. It can’t all be one way; I need people too, people who will take in hand the task of looking in on me. I need recharging. Right now, my unbelieving friends are kinder and friendlier than those who claim Christ.

Nietzsche was a dangerous philosopher, but he once wrote “In his lonely solitude, the solitary man feeds upon himself; in the thronging multitude, the many feed upon him. Now choose.”

He’s right.

Oh Darling, I’m sorry. It seems every time I sit to write of my love for you and romantic thoughts of our future, it’s overshadowed by the tragedy and vulgarity of present day life. I’m sorry I’m like that. I’m not always.

One day you really will be here and everything will be alright. You’ll take my arm as we go strolling. We’ll relish those private, awestruck moments, counting stars, finding planets and constellations, spying meteors.

I should trade even the nightingale’s song to hear your voice on the wind tonight.

Until then, I remain

Forever yours,
-Beren

May 20, 2012 Posted by | Loneliness, Nights Like These | 1 Comment

100: We’ve Only Just Begun

Dear Darling,

I’ve already written you nearly two hundred letters in the last four years. About seven months ago, a lovely young flower from the other side of the world lit an inspirational fire with her poetic beauty as she addressed her future husband, prompting me to begin documenting my letters for the rest of the world to see and be cheered.

Now I’ve arrived at the first of many penultimate milestones, to have published one hundred promises, anticipations, songs, things other guys won’t do, and descriptions of who I need you to be.

I’ve only just begun.

Life has been preparing us for each other since it began. I know it feels like the preparations should be done by now, and that we should be ready for our Lord to introduce us. Maybe we’re right around the corner from that. You know how clouds that have lingered the entire day suddenly break apart, or the sun reaches their edge and suddenly shines through? It may well be that our clouds are about to clear away.

I think there will still be days we each doubt that we’ve got it as good as we do. Isn’t that what lovers do? Feel so happy that “it must be a dream”? It’ll just keep getting better too…we’ll fall deeper and deeper in love, we’ll finally realize we get to spend our lives together, we’ll finally hit that wedding day, we’ll finally leave the crowd of family, friends and well-wishers and drive off into the sunset, and into our new lives together.

Stay strong, my darling beautiful bride. We’ll get there, and it will be worth it.

We’ve only just begun.

Love always,
Beren

May 16, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tired

“Sometimes I feel like I’ve never been nothing but tired
And I’ll be walking till the day I expire
So sometimes I just lay me down, no more can I do
But then I go on again because you ask me to.”
Patty Griffin

I’m sitting out on the front porch in an unusually cool May afternoon. It’s overcast, but the clouds are toying with the idea of letting the sun glance through. The wind is gently swaying the trees and rose bushes. Every now and again, a humming bird zips by, tiny and oblivious to my presence. Off in the distance, a mourning dove is cooing, either at the departing rain, or the rain still forecast. The yard needs mowing again.

I’m tired today. Exhausted really; weary. It’s been a long week, and I finally have some days off. I’ve worked a lot of hours, and now it should be time for a break and a rest. But there’s always so much to do. I have an added class to prepare and study for. I finished my Bible study over breakfast, and I’m kind of glad tonight is the last one for the summer. There’s bills to pay and e-mails to catch up on, and checks to deposit and errands to run.

I don’t feel like doing any of it.

I want to close my eyes and rest, complete and utter relaxation and peace…but without feeling like I’ve slumbered the day away.

The problem is, if I’m not active and busy, I don’t feel fulfilled. Simply put, if I’m not doing, I’m not happy. And yes, you’re right, that’s no way to live. You’ll always be hectic and frenzied for the pursuit of happiness, or you’ll be resting but restless. The idea of peace can be elusive sometimes, can’t it? There just aren’t many shelters left in the world to shield us from darkness and worry, to give us that safe harbor, the security and freedom to let go completely. Don’t misunderstand, I am peaceful in the sense that I know all things are ultimately in the hands of our Maker. I trust that He will work things out in His good time. But I don’t always feel that internal peace and security that allows me to fold my hands, close my eyes and lay back, content that I may be idle and yet not wasteful.

I want to be content just to be, without the striving and stress of doing.

I think that will accompany your entrance into my life. As adults, I think there isn’t a time we can remember where we weren’t at least slightly tired. Life gets tedious, especially as a principled but lonely son of the Kingdom. Someone recently asked me if I might perhaps be depressed. “No,” I responded. “People are just wearisome.” And it’s true, isn’t it? As Christians, we want to look to others as peers, to carry us when we are tired, if we will carry them in our turn. I’m tired of being the best person I know. I want to find Christian fellowship that isn’t tainted by inappropriate language or the knowledge of past or present compromise. I seek the kinship of depth and perseverance. Failing that in the world, I rest my final hopes on you, that I may find just one soul remaining in the kingdom that can share my life, struggles and all.

This will be one of the ways we’ll find each other, I think. We’ll each be so tired that when we finally discover who we really are, we will collapse in an exhausted heap in each other’s arms.

There is someone I’ve just begun corresponding with who seems to meet that definition. She is facing just as many trials or struggles as am I, if not more. It reminds me anew how much I long to make you brave, take away your tears, give you strength and comfort you. I hope only that you can return the favor. My hold is strong, but at times it quivers with fatigue and strain. It is a joy beyond reason to contemplate the day you come into my life as a helper and comforter.

May 14, 2012 Posted by | Loneliness | Leave a comment

In Anticipation of…Mothers

“The Hand that Rocks the Cradle
Is the Hand that Rules the World.” 

I’ve already promised you I will be a father to our children.

But today is Mother’s Day, and it puts me in the mind of things that lie just beyond that bright sunrise of our love and marriage.

I’ve had plenty of experience with younger children, as much as one can with younger siblings. Burping, feeding, rocking, clothing and changing of infants, babies, toddlers and on up is firmly ensconced in my repertoire. Although I should like some time just for you and I to be alone, we must not be selfish or remiss in our obligation to “be fruitful and multiply.”

That’s right. Whether you and I like it or not, eventually we’ll just have to get busy and make some babies.

It’s going to change us so much. I think it will not be a difficult transition, since I feel that I often put others first, but for some parenthood changes their entire lives. For the first time, they have to be unselfish. For us, it will be the first time you and I have seen flesh of our flesh, a child borne forth from our union. Part of us, living and breathing, with little fingers, toes, arms and a beautiful, fragile little head. Have you ever smelled a baby’s head? I can’t quite describe it, but it’s beautiful.

We’ll be parents. It’s going to be a shock when I stop just being me and become your husband — your man. You’ll be my lady, my wife. But then we’ll become parents. You’ll be a mother. I’ll be a dad. Our transition to adulthood will be complete.

What do you think sounds good to start with? Three daughters? Triplets if you like. We can name them Faith, Hope and Charity. I’ve always liked those names.

Those little kids are going to grow up, and we’ll get to celebrate all the things you do for us as a mother. You’re going to be an awesome mother, I just know it. We won’t let you forget it. We may do the stereotypical “breakfast in bed” number. I never much saw the attraction of that. Too much relaxation, too high a risk for spilling or making a mess. But if that’s what you like, we’ll make that happen.

But don’t forget, we’ve each got mothers too. At least, I hope they’ll both still be alive when we marry! There’s no telling what yours is like. She could be crazy. She could be batty. She could no longer be with us. Or she could be a perfect angel that I’ll be happy for our kids to call grandma. Either way, I look forward to impressing her. I look forward to you meeting my mom. She’s great. You’ll get along nicely together I’m sure.

Did you ever stop and think that no matter how many wonderful things have happened, life just hasn’t quite begun yet?

May 14, 2012 Posted by | Anticipation, Holidays | Leave a comment

More Than A Feeling

“The moment I first truly loved my wife is when she asked me to do something I didn’t want to do, and I did it anyway.”

I attend a weekly men’s Bible study. I’m pretty sure I’m the youngest guy there which is fine; I’m used to sticking out in a crowd. But it’s become apparent I’m in another minority — bachelorhood. One fellow has only slightly jokingly offered to set me up with some people he knows, but he’s never followed through on it.

At a recent study, another fellow “encouraged” me by telling me marriage and love were wonder feelings I could well look forward to.

Ya think?

I’m not prone to giving in to my feelings. I believe I’ve written to you before about this, my proclivity to keep them on a tight rein. Passion is a fickle governess, and she has led far, far too many of my brothers and sisters away to treachery. (God forgive me that I feel some grim satisfaction that they must bear the consequences of their actions. Yet if a man as hungry as me can stay true to my future spouse, no one else has much of an excuse.)

Far too many marriages are based on nothing but feelings. I recall catching a televised wedding ceremony a few years ago, and instead of “so long as you both shall live” they vowed “so long as ye both shall love.”

Love has to be more than that.

Love is a verb. Love requires will. And toil. And effort.

I won’t always feel like loving you, nor you me. Although I think you will always be precious and wonderful to me, there will be days where you won’t like me and I won’t like you. There will be days you may be less attractive when you roll out of bed in the morning, with your hair everywhere, scratching and blinking and yawning. (I’d pay any price just to see you now, even in that state.) There will be days I’ll be sweaty and grimy and hot, smelly and gross and you won’t want to come near me. There will be the times we argue and fight and hurt each other. There will be days when I’m tired and cranky and stubborn, and the golden has tarnished all off of my Golden Rule.

There will be times I won’t feel like loving you.

That’s why it has to be more than a feeling. Feelings come and go, but mostly they go. Love can’t depend on that, marriage can’t depend on that. I don’t know how well that’s going to work in the end, because I haven’t been there. A man never knows until he’s been tested. But forewarned is forearmed — I do see those days coming, and I’m doing what I can to prepare for them. (And I darn sure don’t ever see divorce as an option.)

When necessary, I’m going to try to love you in spite of feelings, not just because of them.

And yet…oh, and yet! For a man who restrains his feelings and keeps this heart of stone under lock and key, the promise of those feelings holds untold wonder. There is an anticipation and knowledge that the promises and pleasures of the future are so great that the anticipation is nearly unbearable, and to dwell on them is to torture one’s self.

As I was riding the bus to work the other day, someone sat down next to me. (Funny how each double row will fill to just one occupant before we’ll succumb to sitting side-by-side.) She was totally unaware that her sleeve was rubbing my arm, and although I did not even draw close to sinning, it simply put me in mind of you, and what it will be like just to sit on the couch together and watch a movie, with you cuddled up next to me, nestled in my arms.

Wow.

May 12, 2012 Posted by | Things Other Guys Won't Do, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Alone You Breathe

“You were never one for waiting
Still I always thought you’d wait for me
Have you from your dream awakened
And from where you are what do you see

Which of us is now in exile
Which in need of amnesty
Are you now but an illusion
In my mind alone you breathe

You believed in things that I will never know
You were out there drowning but it never showed
Till inside a rain swept night you just let go

You’re thrown it all away
And now we’ll never see
The ending of the play
The grand design
The final line
And what was meant to be

In the dark a distant runner
Now has disappeared into the night
Leaving us to stand and wonder
Staring from this end into your life. …”

Savatage, Alone You Breathe

May 9, 2012 Posted by | Songs | Leave a comment