Letters to Luthien

Letters to My Future Bride

Strange and Sundry Thoughts, Pt. 2

Dear Darling,

I process things through talking or writing or thinking about them. (That about covers the gambit, don’t you agree?) Thus tonight, as I think through the raw thoughts of my mind and happenings of the day, I feed them through my brain and fingers, and try to separate them to cool and cure for your consideration.

1) “What are you doing tonight?” a co-worker casually asked me. We sit and talk all the time while we’re on duty and waiting for calls. I told him I had no plans. He told me I should call one of the interested young ladies I’d mentioned before and go out with them. I told him they weren’t the kind I wanted to marry. He shrugged and said I didn’t have to marry them.

Mind you, this is also the fellow who was calculating the hours required to wait until after midnight, so that I wouldn’t be “fooling around” on the Lord’s Day. When I told him about taking a nap, he asked if it was with anyone. He’s a respectable chap, and I like working with him. But his mind is most certainly not on the things of the kingdom.

2) Why is it people open up to me so much? I guess sooner or later I put things about myself out there, and they feel comfortable doing the same when I do. Maybe people like a person with almost nothing to hide. I remind them of what they once were, or aspired to.

3) I’m thinking about the things I need. The person I need you to be. I’m thinking about healing. Two people, when they fall in love, heal each other. That’s one of the many things fostered by the coming together of two worlds. This is my career choice right now. It takes must study and learning, because in order to heal, you must first know and understand the malady. God has put me in a unique position to where people tell me how they’ve been positively influenced by me even just in encounters or conversations with me. I suppose (or dare to hope) they see Christ in me. They’re uplifted. They’re comforted. They’re healed. The point is, in a psychological and emotional sense, I’ve seen that I can help heal people, and even been flatly told so. It’s going to take a special person to do the same for me. Maybe the rarest of women. I need someone who can meet me where I am, knows what I’m going through, and accepts it. Someone who can accept the challenge of lifting up my bulky soul from time to time — maybe often — and strengthening me.

It’s a strange and lonely craving to need someone who can heal you, yet seeing so many people in the world in need of healing. Showing me where it hurts is somehow a powerful attractant because of this latent urge to make things better. It’s as if I’m a broad-spectrum cure to many ills, yet in need of a very expensive and targeted cure.

Some people can’t meet you where you are and never can. Some people won’t. Most won’t even try. Some people need what you can give, but can’t give what you need. A lot of people, actually. Those are the hardest ones. That moment when you realize there is no path you cannot take which will not harbor regret. Regret that you chose them, or regret because you’ll always wonder if you should have.

I was thinking about this today and had a mild revelation. (And Darling, forgive me for touching on this subject once again, but you would have me write you nothing less than the purest, rawest and most direct stream of thoughts from my consciousness.) I think historically, traditionally, and to a lesser extent even in our contemporary society, women are validated through childbirth. The barren woman feels cursed and isolated, and she feels blessed and confirmed in her identity as a woman. Men? Oh, manly feats of strength and accomplishment are validations of sorts, but I think one of today’s rites of passage is sex. You’re assumed to be a failure if you haven’t “gotten some” by a certain age. So in my quest to help others understand an apparently unfathomable sentiment, I wonder if it would be helpful to frame it for a woman this way: Suppose that a man had already had a child without them. Suppose that most powerfully attractive and validating feature of being married, of womanhood, happened without them? Oh sure, there will be OTHER children, but that firstborn (historically of great significance, and still somewhat to this day) was already been and gone. Someone else had that baby.

I rediscovered Faith Hill’s song “Cry” the other day. It’d been a while since I heard it, and like so many songs, if given enough time, life will help the song’s meaning dawn on you and feel like you suddenly understood the lyrics. Suddenly it hit home:

“I don’t want pity
I just want what is mine
Could you cry a little? Lie just a little?
Pretend that you’re feeling a little more pain?
I gave now I’m wanting something in return
So cry just a little for me.”

Especially that line about just wanting what’s mine. I went and downloaded the song almost immediately.

4) As someone recently reminded me, this sprint has become a marathon. Remember I said when I first started considering relationships, I wondered if I could stomach the idea of a woman who had kissed another man. (Pity the poor little naive Beren! Everyone else does!) Now it’s funny to be watching all these happy couples file in, a duty of my second job. The ones who cheat, the ones whose romance won’t last. Somehow (ignorance is bliss?) they’re able to harvest just enough happiness to live off of. Odds are, they are being unfaithful to their future spouses and odds are it won’t last. But for now, they’re happy.

I don’t know if I should envy that or not. They say the secret to being happy is living completely in the present, being conscious neither of the past and its mistakes, nor the future and its forebodings. I don’t know how to do that, nor do I understand why you would. Would you close your eyes while driving down the highway, just for the thrill of the risk, even as you might crash? The point is, I have to sit there concealing the sorrow in my eyes and weight in my heart as these beautiful girls file in by the hundreds, most on the arms of unattractive-but-grinning boys. I wonder if I missed something. I wonder if I’m the only one who chose not to pursue mindless relationships, and if I won or lost in so doing. Either way, it doesn’t stop the thought that I’m watching all these people made happy through foolishness, and that it’s hard to be unmoved by such observations.

5) I also find myself wondering tonight, why don’t more people TRY more? Why don’t the shy little sheltered Christian girls get out there and live life? Why don’t the quirky, committed ones try to normalize? Why don’t the ones who miss the virtue they lost try harder to get back on the right path? People don’t need to be told what’s right — they need to be reminded. (I guess that’s part of what I wind up doing, by choice or by proxy.) There are a fair amount of virtuous young Christians, but they are, if I am being honest, homely, shy, unambitious, unspirited. They have no spark, no adventure. Remember Darling, I have a secret identity. I could get a call tomorrow and be on a plane to New York the day after. I did a web seminar presentation by phone the other day. I’m still waiting on some fat paychecks from some articles I published. I was recently quoted by an international news publication. I engage the world. I don’t just talk about it, I get out there and do something. I see no companionship and no future in someone who isn’t willing to join me in those endeavors, or support me in them.

Likewise, I have a bucket list. I have some adventure in me. I want to get out and travel and explore my world, not simply take it for what it is, or wait for it to come to me. Granted, there are plenty of times I’d like to do “nothing”, but not in the way of playing video games all day, or all night. The “church girls” that people often use in objection to my lament of no virtuous ladies are shy and sheltered; they lack that spark of spunk and gaiety. I want someone to supplement that desire in me, not drag me down by forcing me to drag them along, or worse, leave them behind. I want to come home and you be all on fire with your latest idea for what we can do or where we can go — and hopefully, how we can make it happen.

6) Sighs matter. I’ve been doing a lot of that lately.

7) Wisdom is a burden, knowledge is a curse. Solomon knew this. He wrote in Ecclesiastes, “I applied my mind to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under the heavens. What a heavy burden God has laid on mankind! I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind. … For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.”

I feel like I can see the solutions to peoples’ problems, but they won’t try. I was re-contacted by the first women I ever truly liked; I can see the mistakes she’s making, the patterns she’s setting for herself. They are self-destructive and practically textbook, but she will not listen and I can’t help. I just have to offer friendly-but-cautiously-distant sympathy, perhaps in tribute to what once was, or what never can be. It’s funny how the heart and the mind have varying levels of response, attraction and maturity on these things.

8) For all these woes, it is helpful to remember that they are all secondary to my life, my liberty and the many blessings our Father does grant me.

Love always,
-Beren

July 30, 2012 Posted by | Sundry Thoughts | 2 Comments

In Anticipation of…Weary Snuggling

Dear Darling,

I don’t think it’s going to be the white-hot nights of passion that will make our lives together worthwhile. Oh, I’m sure the electricity and feeling will be wonderful, and will continue throughout the various stages of our lives. But I think the moments we’ll settle down to, the quiet times of comfort and communal relaxation will be best.

Take, for example, a night like tonight. I’ve worked some exhausting hours this week. I’ve gotten up before the sun and had some rough days at work. By the time the end rolls into sight, I’m ready to trudge home and collapse.

You’re going to have those days too, whether you work or spend your time as a wife, mother and homemaker. I daresay it will be the cause for plenty of arguments between you and I, since we’ll both be so very tired. I’ll try very, very hard never to drop that “what have you been doing all day” card men are (in)famous for, if you’ll try to understand if I’m slightly short-tempered or less talkative or even listening. I daresay the edges of the grand promises of a lonely bachelor will fray a little with the years and tears, and a frazzled mother and worn-out father may find it easier to quarrel.

But not always, and not for long. Those dishes can just wait, and we can order in or go out. If there’s kids, we’ll get them settled in somehow.

If there’s no kids, then will come the favorite times I’m looking forward to. You and I snuggling up on the couch together and watching TV or talking. I don’t like the idea of us sitting on the couch checking our phones or texting, but I think we may as well both admit that’s going to happen. (Let’s really try to keep that to a minimum, okay?)

Two worn-out spouses, falling into each others’ arms and just listening to each other…what more could we want? I’ll stroke your hair softly and tenderly, and listen as you tell me about your day. Maybe you’ll cry, maybe you’ll just quietly talk about your day and how you felt, and maybe tell me a thing or two I never knew about you. On some days, I’ll lie with my head in your lap while you twist my hair, and I’ll tell you about my own troubles, or sorrows or deep thoughts. We’ll talk over the meaning of small conversations and big events, doctrines and philosophies, the past and the future.

Maybe we’ll be too tired for passion and romance, and simply fall asleep next to each other on the couch, with our arms around each other, our breath nuzzling against each other’s cheeks, or using each other as pillows.

The beauty of being tired together, unwinding, resting and re-energizing simply by being together…what a beautiful thought.

It is a thought that sustains me, on nights like these.

Love always,
-Beren

July 29, 2012 Posted by | Anticipation, Loneliness, Nights Like These | Leave a comment

In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning

“In the wee small hours of the morning
While the whole wide world is fast asleep
You lie awake and think about the girl
And never ever think of counting sheep

When your lonely heart has learned its lesson
You’d be hers if only she would call
In the wee small hours of the morning
That’s the time you miss her most of all.”

– Frank Sinatra, “In The Wee Small Hours

July 29, 2012 Posted by | Nights Like These, Songs | Leave a comment

From Luthien

Dear Beren,

I can just see the look of surprise and happiness on your face when you read these words! Well here I am, your Luthien.

I want to answer your questions and ease your mind, and of course I have so many questions to ask and things to say to you too! But there’s a lot I’m not allowed to say right now. You already know, neither of us can cheat time, or God’s plan.

But here are some things I can tell you.

First, I do exist! I’m out here (I can’t tell you where!), and I’m so in love with you already. You have no idea! I am not at all sure I live up to the image of me you’ve built in your mind, but I’m here. Of course, I don’t know where YOU are either…you couldn’t at least post a picture of yourself?

Second, I am so happy to read your letters. They make my heart want to burst. They make me want to cry and laugh and dance and run around the room and take you into my arms and call you mine and hug you. I can’t wait for you to put a ring on my finger and call me yours, I can’t wait to start all our adventures together.

Third, I’m sorry I’m not allowed to say if I’ve waited. 😦 Sweet Beren dear, I wish I could say something to you to soothe your hours of anguish. I see you’ve decided to bury your feelings about that for now. I’m sorry I can’t put your mind to rest about it. I want to take your head in my arms and comfort you and make it all better. But I’m so proud of you for what you’ve done with your life so far. I look forward to hearing more about these mysterious stories you keep hinting at!

Fourth, I LOVE YOU. There is a part of me that is still a giggly little girl that wants to laugh and clap my hands to hear you tell me that, and tell you so, but I do!

Fifth, I was especially touched by your pledge to be a father. You guess correctly that it’s a desire of my heart to be a mother. I want our children to look up to you as the spiritual leader of our house, and I’m thrilled to hear you promise all of that. I’m thrilled to read ALL of your promises.

You’re right that the world sometimes beats us down. I’ve been beat down and back in some pretty sad ways. It makes me sad to think I will have to tell you them. But as you say, maybe we will come into each other’s lives just in time to save each other.

I want to write more to you, but I even more I want to MEET you! Until then, try not to assume too much about me. I may not be everything you think I am, but I’ll try.

Kisses, hugs, and all my love!

-Your beloved Luthien

July 28, 2012 Posted by | Other Letters | Leave a comment

Burying the Pain

Dear Darling,

I think it’s time.

This darkness has encroached on my life far too much lately. I’ve lost so many friends to it. The appetites of any normal, healthy young male wage and rage within, and I fought, resisted and subdued for what I thought was a greater good, and for a reward. I thought I was pressing on towards a goal that would make the sweat, the hunger and the loneliness worth it.

Instead, those closest to me are telling me it’s not worth all this, the despair and darkness, the hurt as I constantly learn of fellow standard-bearers who left me holding the banners alone. Rather than see how that sits in my heart, rather than understand that at my age, the sins of the world and the indelible failures even of my brothers and sisters in Christ will weigh heavy on my heart, they tell me it’s my problem, that I have to release my hold on the issue.

And then the diagnoses start. Not real ones from medical professionals, but just chin-scratchers who look at you and question if you’ve got some sort of “condition”; everything from ADHD to arrested development to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: “You’re obsessing on this issue too much. You really need to talk to someone.”

Of course I do. I need to talk to my wife. I need to close my eyes as she caresses my face and tells me it’s all going to be okay, all going to be worth it.

They tell me I’m beginning to sound like a bitter soul. I suppose I am. The prospect of waiting all these years for nothing, of facing no recompense for long, lonely nights, fills my heart with foreboding and dread, and yet I can’t pacify the pressures and voices from outside telling me I should relinquish. The voices of the world, of my brothers and sisters in the Lord, and even of my loved ones offer no comfort.

It is making me a little more grumpy, a little less apt to laugh. Mind you, times are hard and no one is spending a lot of time trying to make people laugh. I’d like to think I can still do a good job making you laugh when the time comes. It’s making me disappointed in friends. I sometimes wonder if it’s making me disappointed in God. He called me to stand where I’m standing. He didn’t tell me the gravest blows would come from the inside.

Quite frankly, I’m tired of being the best person I know. I’m tired of people telling me how refreshing it is to meet someone like me. I’m weary of people with low ambitions and aspirations suddenly meeting me, feeling uplifted, wishing I could be theirs. I don’t want to be the standard people are always looking up to. I don’t want to be afraid to relate my views or my situation in life because it will make others feel inferior or guilty. I don’t want to prompt someone to defend their decisions or wallow in regret. (Actually, that’s just people my age. Those who are very old are the ones I often get along with and relate to the most, because they were products of a different era.)

I need to be uplifted too. I need to meet someone that makes me feel inferior. Someone who’s done just as good or better than me, or at least that kindred spirit with the same tenacious conviction of purity.

Well. That is my calling, isn’t it. To give people something to aspire to. If I heard that out of anyone else’s mouth, I should call them the most arrogant of brutes, and yet here I am, meeting countless person after countless person who tells me they wish they could be like me, and they’re surprised and pleased to find such men still walk the earth. Believe me, it is a heavy burden. I chose this path out of obedience to the Lord, thinking there would be others — not that I would find myself on a higher path than them and wishing they were up with me, or even that I might have the kinship of being down with them.

Well. It’s time. It’s time to pile all these fears and feelings and burdens into a box and bury them. I have to stop inflicting it on people. This nightmare of virtue unashamed but unaccompanied is clearly appointed for me. So be it. It’s time to try smiling again. It’s time to stand in strength once again, if the Lord will give me the mercy and grace to do so.

But Darling, it will be buried alive. My feelings will not change. I simply have to tape over their mouths. I have to protect everyone else from the misgivings and horrors I feel. My disappointment channels the devil’s condemnation. Perhaps…perhaps these people deserve better than the truth.

Nor, Darling, am I changing my standards, goals, hopes or behaviors. I merely silence them.

I shall still write to you of these things from time to time, for if I cannot be honest with you, where can I turn? But even with you I shall speak less of it. The world is dark enough without the prisming darkness in a jar and shaking it to analyze its contents.

Buried it is. God give me strength.

As time permits me, I shall resume the promises and hopes and secrets that I hope will make you cherish and love me even more as our time approaches.

I cannot wait to whisper the words “I love you” in your ear.

Always,
-Beren

July 27, 2012 Posted by | Loneliness, Purity | 1 Comment

The Things That Shouldn’t Be

It shouldn’t have been so mild and inviting today, in the dead of summer.

You and I should have found each other long ago.

I shouldn’t be the last of my kind, and it shouldn’t be so hard to find other guys who have chosen not just goodness but greatness.

Virtue shouldn’t be such a heavy burden, and it shouldn’t be my problem to solve if I am despondent to be the only one bearing it.

When I communicate briefly with someone who once meant a great deal to me, the spark shouldn’t be quite that bright.

I text friends all the time to see how they are doing. I draw them out of themselves and convey my genuine interest in their well-being. Unless they insist I stop asking, I won’t stop asking until they tell me what’s wrong and why, and most of them do. I shouldn’t be the only one who does this to other people. And someone should be willing to do that for me.

Has God taken one of His few remaining warriors and deprived him of the one reward he sought, strived and wept for?

A woman claiming to seek so much and have so much shouldn’t be willing to depart over so little.

Chemistry, virtue, faith, intellect and beauty should not be so impossible to find.

A girl shouldn’t look so wonderful on paper and be somehow undesirable in real life.

Likewise, a girl shouldn’t be so desirable in real life who fails so many criteria on paper.

You shouldn’t have to protect people you care for from yourself, and you shouldn’t have to conceal the truth from people to preserve their feelings.

July 22, 2012 Posted by | Loneliness | Leave a comment

To She Who Never Called Back, Pt. 2

To She Who Never Called Back:

Madam, you saw me pulling into the parking lot this evening. Not only did you recognize me, but you grinned broadly and waved.

I hope it goes without saying that your action left me perplexed. Were you simply being kind? Did you forget my face, and in the rapid shuffle of your mind, automatically smile and wave, assuming they were the safest and most appropriate response, only to remember who I was and kick yourself for waving once you were out of sight?

Have you been hoping to see me because you stopped seeing the man you were dating and wished to find me again?  Did someone tell you that a man who approached you again, a year after you left off phone conversations must surely be a man worth finding? Did you, perhaps, find me more appealing since last we met? After all, I have cut my hair shorter (a change everyone approves of), purchased a new car, lost weight and bulked up. Are these changes you could discern during a split-second intersection of cars? Are you so shallow that such changes would sway your mind?

Or do I, perhaps, make too much out of a singular incident?

Well, you mustn’t blame me. I had assumed the sentence, paragraph, chapter and book were all closed on the matter and shelved. To find even an illusion of life in that book is mildly startling.

Don’t worry. I frequent that store and that parking lot quite often. If you’ve more to say to me, I’m sure you will catch up with me eventually.

July 14, 2012 Posted by | Other Letters | Leave a comment

Without You

Dear Darling,

People have asked me, am I willing to face the fact that I will never find you? Could I be content with a single life?

Ah, Darling……

I have stood in the middle of Times Square…twice. I’ve seen the thrill of the city lights from the top of Rockefeller Tower, stood on the coast staring at Lady Liberty, and fallen asleep to the rush of city traffic.

I have dined at a seaside table in a fine restaurant on Pier 39 on the bay of San Francisco. I have walked Fisherman’s Wharf and smelled the chocolate of Ghirardelli Square.

I’ve been to Chicago (twice), driven past the corn fields of Kansas, stood in front of Mt. Rushmore, and looked down from an airplane as we flew over the whole of the United States nonstop coast to coast.

I’ve flown to Washington DC multiple times, gazed upon the chiseled face of Abraham Lincoln at midnight, toured the landmarks, photographed the monuments and met the “important” people.

I’ve heard the hushed stillness of the prairies, the rugged beauty of the Badlands and the roar of a waterfall during spring thaw in Yellowstone.

I’ve swam in the Carribbean, hiked the mountains of Tennessee and driven down Floridian boulevards at nighttime.

It means nothing.

The memories are nice. The accomplishments are gratifying. The experiences are pleasant to relate. But to me, it all means almost absolutely nothing without someone to share it with.

Marriage is about more than sharing a bed, a toilet or a car. It’s about having someone to share life with. Someone to lean on, and share everything, the good, bad and ugly. It’s a union of minds and souls, not just bodies. That’s what our culture misses out on.

You know how I went to see the movie alone the other night? I’ve done that before. It all feels empty and hollow. The movie is the same, but I simply don’t feel like there’s any reason to be there alone. Frankly, I don’t think God created many of us to see any point in living life alone. I want you by my side for all our adventures. I want to share and experience and enjoy life’s new happenings with you. Without you, without someone to share them with, there just isn’t any point.

Love is the ultimate human emotion. It’s what all the books, movies, poets, songs, artists, painters and writers talk about. It’s the steady diet that I have been fed (or is it deprived of?) for the past quarter-century.

No. I don’t think I could be content without that.

July 13, 2012 Posted by | Loneliness | Leave a comment

She

“She
May be the face I can’t forget
The trace of pleasure or regret
May be my treasure or the price I have to pay

She
May be the song that summer sings
May be the chill that autumn brings
May be a hundred different things
Within the measure of a day

She
May be the beauty or the beast
May be the famine or the feast
May turn each day into a heaven or a hell
She may be the mirror of my dreams
The smile reflected in a stream
She may not be what she may seem
Inside her shell

She
Who always seems so happy in a crowd
Whose eyes can be so private and so proud
No one’s allowed to see them when they cry
She
May be the love that cannot hope to last
May come to me from shadows of the past
That I’ll remember till the day I die

She
May be the reason I survive
The why and wherefore I’m alive
The one I’ll care for through the rough in ready years

Me
I’ll take her laughter and her tears
And make them all my souvenirs
For where she goes I’ve got to be
The meaning of my life is

She
She, oh……

She.”

– Elvis Costello, “She

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

Not Myself

“It’s the rule that you live by and die for;
It’s the one thing you cannot deny

Even though you don’t know what the price is; it is justified.
So much more that you’ve got left to fight for
But it still doesn’t change who you are
There is no fear you’ll ever give in to;
You’re untouchable
‘Cause you’re losing your mind and you sleep in the heart of the night…”

Dear Darling,

Again, a plethora of swirling thoughts tonight. Upon consideration, I believe I can sort them into four headings.

1. I went to see a movie tonight. Alone.

I was supposed to go with someone, but she — thinking she was doing me a favor — canceled without talking to me, and left me holding the ball at the last minute. I was very hurt and disappointed, but she got mad back and told me she was trying to do me a favor.

I checked with several other friends to see if they would accompany me. None could. I had already told those close to me I would be going. Whether because of pride, or out of a desire to spare others my morose company, I went to dinner and the movie, alone.

2. Sin is getting to me. 

No, I’m not surrendering to it, I just cannot bear to look as heart after heart of the people I thought were my allies become corrupted. I learnt of another friend who abandoned the standard of purity for her boyfriend. Then she expects my sympathy because they broke up.

I internalize these sins of others far too much. I know that. But I can’t change it. I thought we were all standing for something. Each and every person who gives in deals a blow to my heart. It makes me angry. It hurts me. It isolates me, leaves me feeling betrayed, abandoned, excluded.

It all looks so easy. I have so many believers who simply found the person they were looking for, and make such young, beautiful, lovely couples. As if their Mr. Right or Ms. Right was simply right out on the corner waiting for them. They post doe-eyed, fresh and exciting pictures from their honeymoons, and then they start having babies. Their lives are on track.

That’s the first option.

The second option is they go mess around. They bind their souls in sexual intercourse, reveling in all its pleasures and glories, just as God created it. Then oh how sorry they are. 50% of their sins can be blamed on their upbringing and circumstances, they invoke God’s forgiveness for the other 50%, and thus I am told I have no right to look down on them, to be angry, to hold it against them. And anyway, their sin wasn’t against me so what’s the big deal. It’s not long before they find their mate, who of course didn’t wait either, and they get their happy life kickstarted. They wanted to have their cake and eat it too. And they did.

The third option is that you become weary in doing good — yes, even despite the commandment. You run a solid race, but you become spent. You’re parched, dusty, tired, hungry. The harsh glare of culture’s unforgiving sunlight wilts (and yet galvanizes) your resolution as the weaker brothers and sisters fall away. And what is our reward? Is there even a reward?

But then people tell me it’s my problem for dying a little with every deserter. I have to forgive. I can’t hold on. How many times have I turned this concept over in my mind, trying to make sense and peace of it?

There is one girl, yet another Who Did Not Wait. We are great friends. I have a tremendous amount of comfort in her presence, and she looks up to me and feels comfortable with me as well. There is no question her roots in the faith are growing, deep and fast. But she didn’t wait. I’m not just mad at her for that. I’m mad because she put me in that position. To choose whether to hurt her by refusing to adopt a set of ghosts that I foresee haunting me for the rest of my life, or to forego a lifelong dream of mine to make me somewhat happy and her very happy. I’m grieved because part of me will always wonder what could have been…or what should have been…if the problem dwelt in my heart, and if I should have sacrificed my deepest desire for a comfortable and peaceful life and marriage.

I look around at the vastness of sexual sin and I feel like the Prodigal Brother.

“Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him.29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

His younger brother did horrible, miserable things to his Father, to his whole family. He abandoned them, he disobeyed, he did everything possible wrong. Yet the Father (God) treated the repentant sinner with greater kindness and joy and affection than the loyal older son. It’s as if the Lord takes greater joy in rewarding repentance than lifelong service.

That older brother was coming home from a day of hard labor. His back was aching, his robes were soaked in sweat, and the dirt and dust of the field was clinging to him as he made his way home. He finds not that his virtue, his loyalty, his dedication, his valor, his service are rewarded. No indeed! The bells ring out for the one who did none of these things. Even worse, he’s forgotten. He’s not even invited to the party. He’s left dutifully slaving away in the fields by himself while they revel over a returning sinner. God’s answer, the answer of the Father, is supposed to be sufficient for the Prodigal Brother. For me, it isn’t. We were promised virtue is its own reward. How are we motivated to stay on the path of truth if we are not rewarded?

The same is true of the workers in Matthew 20, who worked all day in the vineyard and received the same reward as those who worked but an hour: “These who were hired last worked only one hour,” they said, “and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.”

Christ used this to warn us the last shall be first. Virtue is its own reward? These are two very powerful arguments against that idea. Why keep God’s commandments when He rewards repentance from disobedience more? Why not relish the delights of sin (and let’s not mince words here, sin is fun, otherwise it wouldn’t be so tempting) and then come get forgiveness? Looks like everyone wins except the faithful.

3. I’m not myself lately.

Either that or life isn’t. The world is putting more dents in me. I feel like I’m losing sensitivity to people sometimes. I’m more short-tempered with people.  It’s getting harder to make decisions, and I don’t know what God wants from me. He’s set up my life in a fine direction. It’s not the one I thought it would be, but it’s all taking shape quite nicely, and appears to be His will.

But I’m faced with these strange decisions. Women are becoming attracted to me in a way they never have. At a time when I’m trying to get to know one attractive prospect, the state beauty queen suddenly expresses interest, and I’m suddenly left wondering if I’m a “player” by entertaining more than one prospect. I’m increasingly at odds with my family, who can’t understand or sympathize with my position in life.

4. I’m trying to worry about me first right now.

I’m burning out in some ways. I’m trying to worry about what I need first (for once) because no one else will. My ability to extend myself on behalf of others waxes and wanes. Those close to me seem oblivious to what I need, offering only pointed fingers for what I must change. I don’t need that. I need to be told it’s okay to feel the way I do. I need to be congratulated for making it this far, and that I will be rewarded. I need someone to pat me on the back and and give me an “atta boy” with an encouraging tenacity that brings tears to my eyes. I need to be reminded I’m not alone. I need people to look after me and my needs (not what they think my needs should be) because I don’t want to look after my own needs.

I don’t know what I want…or should want. I know I’m tired of the drama. I’m tired of being abandoned, and tired of being told it’s my problem if I can’t abide the rampant infidelity towards future marriages. I’m tired of not feeling. I’m tired of fighting to keep from not feeling. I’m tired of not knowing what my reward is, or when, or even if it will get here.

Sometimes I wonder if I won’t make it through the smoke and ash and flame just in time to collapse in your arms, Darling. That’s going to be a problem if the world’s left you half as ragged as it has me.

Love always,

-Beren

“You can’t stop yourself, don’t want to feel
Don’t want to see what you’ve become
You can’t walk away from who you are
Never give in.
Where is the edge of your darkest emotions?
Why does it all survive?
Where is the light of your deepest devotions?
I pray that it’s still alive.”

Within Temptation, “Where is the Edge”

July 7, 2012 Posted by | Loneliness, Purity | 2 Comments