Letters to Luthien

Letters to My Future Bride

Pride and Despair (Lost in Paradise)

“I’ve been believing in something so distant…as if I was human!
And I’ve been denying this feeling of hopelessness
In me, in me.
I have nothing left
And all I feel is this cruel wanting
We’ve been falling for all this time
And now I’m lost in paradise.”

Evanescence, “Lost in Paradise

Dear Darling,

It’s windy and cloudy outside. It’s one of those moonless nights where the stars are veiled and everything seems darker than usual. The days are getting a little less humid and hot. Even if the calendars weren’t telling me autumn isn’t far off, I can feel it in the air. I go for a walk tonight and struggle to find the words to tell God how I feel. I think He already knows. I probably need Him to tell me how I feel, because I’ve got different emotions all bunching up together so that they get stuck and don’t come out. They all seem to boil down, down to nothing but emptiness and hunger and the ache of missing you.

Sometimes, on nights like these, I feel like crying. Only, I can’t. I can’t cry anymore, except sometimes at movies. So instead, I laugh. It’s a laugh devoid of genuine merriment; it’s more the bitter mirth of the utter and absolute deftness with which life deals the mocking blows of irony. It’s like a cry rerouted because the tear ducts are out of order.

A friend of mine got engaged today. Oh sure, she’s a little nuts, maybe even a lot nuts, but we shared common struggles over lunches and pleasant conversations. She made me laugh a few times. There was a side of me she understood that no one else did, and she was willing to talk to me, and listen. She has sworn off her faith; a fall worse than surrendering her virtue. Yet I still can’t shake the feeling I’m losing a friend…and a friendship.

People accuse me of pride. Sometimes they are kind about it. Yet how can I keep from it? People think knowledge and confidence are pride, but I know my own inclinations as well. It’s difficult to know how much weight to put on critics, especially when God has given me so many different opportunities, so much to learn from. “Be yourself” they say. How do you balance using the advice and opinions of others as a self-check, a sounding board to know how you’re coming off, while still being yourself and not letting others influence you the wrong way? God made me exceptional. He’s taken me through exceptional training grounds. To even speak of these lessons, these sights, these accomplishments is to boast. Thus, even among friends I must remain silent about an entire destiny. It’s like my greatest stories are something to be sheltered and hidden. Oh, don’t mistake me, Darling. I’m sure those moments don’t amount to very much in the grand scheme of things. Maybe you wouldn’t even be impressed. Those who know about them don’t seem to be impressed any longer. Maybe I’ve just set the bar so high that clearing it now is unimpressive. I set out to be the kind of guy that I would be impressed with. Maybe I’m just too easily impressed with my own self.

Sometimes it seems like nothing is real anymore…nothing lives up to its promise to change or excite or please. Do you know, as part of my double life, that I could have been hired on with one of the largest and well-known entities in the nation, if not the world? I could be drawing a very comfortable salary, wearing a tie and working alongside some very wealthy and influential men — building my own wealth and influence in the process. But it’s not real. It’s fake, false, hollow. As I’ve told you, I think work of this kind is in my future, but I think God let me glimpse that work so He could teach me why He is leading me down the path I’m on now. That’s why I chose medicine. It’s real. There are hurting lives every day, living out their worst nightmares in hospital rooms every day, that I can help make a difference with. I already am. It will take more than two years of schooling, but it will put me in a place where I can be real.

So pride, that’s one. Second, despair. Surely you can tell from these letters, love. Surely you can tell the road grows long, the sun grows hot, the burden grows heavy. I want so badly to give you joy and love and warmth. But the truth is, I’m just not feeling it right now. I feel left behind by everyone. It was my decision, and now I feel like I’m fighting this sinking feeling that following God’s will was the wrong decision. It is only a feeling. I know in my heart that following God can never be wrong. But it doesn’t stop me from feeling that way sometimes.

Christians are supposed to face hardships, but good choices are supposed to carry with them rewards. At least, the rewards of God’s will. And how can it be His will to feel this way?

I’m stuck in this horrible balance of fighting my needs and wanting to give into them. There are people I find attractive in some ways. They have most of what I look for in a wife. Yet somewhere in the back of my mind, this voice speaks with this exasperating clarity, saying “That’s not her.” How could you know, I argue. They may not be everything I could hope for, but maybe all my hopes are built up too high.

Yet deep down I know I could never marry someone with that voice whispering “You could have done better.” That would be an eternal injustice to a woman, let alone myself. But my current record isn’t exactly satisfactory on the matter.

The world has left me behind, and tantalizes me with romancing couples, the cries of babies, the carnal lasciviousness of worldly passions gone awry, and the songs and stories of love. Most friends inhabit their own lives, not understanding my thoughts, my goals, my dreams. Even my brothers and sisters in Christ cannot identify with the lonely road I walk to follow Christ, because they took other roads more pleasing to the eye and body.

I wonder sometimes what would happen if I stopped texting the people I know, checking in on them, asking them how they’re doing. (Am I the only one who checks in on so many people so often? Wouldn’t we all give much to have friends who text us every few days or couple of weeks just to make sure we’re doing well?) They only ask me how I’m doing to return the favor. And what do I tell them? My problems are the envy of those who have made worse choices.

I try to set aside my own cares and ask God’s blessing for them at night, but I do wonder if there are (m)any out there that speak my name before the throne.

That’s my problem. I care too much. No, truly! I care too much. That’s why, when friends make stupid decisions, it bothers me more than it should. When they choose to fall, I find it hard to forgive them or view them the same way. But let’s face it, most of these people can’t identify with me, because there’s no one out there like me. (Nay, it’s a lament not a boast!) I think that’s what hell is. Hell is being alone. Hell is isolation. But even if they can’t identify, they could at least try. Truthfully, it is the unbelievers who reach out more than the believers.

I just need a friend. I just need someone to listen and to understand. I’m dying to be that friend to someone. I’m bone-grindingly lonely. I just want someone to talk to. I want someone with whom I can be comfortable, let down the guard, be at peace. I want to be me, thoroughly and completely myself. I feel like I never can be me, the one God created me to be, until I find you.

I want to share your pain, and I want you to share my pain. Every human heart feels pain, my dear. Only in drawing close enough to share that pain can we be close enough to receive love.

Somehow, I can’t help but feel that if I can just find you, it’s all going to be okay. I can’t have found you yet, because God would have told me. So it has to be God’s will.

But it’s hard.

I love you, Darling. I hope somewhere out there, you’re loving me too. Maybe that might make nights like these a little easier.

Love always,
-Beren

“As much as I’d like the past not to exist, it still does
And as much as I’d like to feel like I belong here
I’m just as scared as you
I have nothing left
And all I feel is this cruel wanting
We’ve been falling for all this time
And now I’m lost in paradise
Oh, run away, run away!
One day we won’t feel this pain anymore
Take it all away!
Shadows of you
Cause they won’t let me go
Until I have nothing left
And all I feel is this cruel wanting
We’ve been falling for all this time
And now I’m lost in paradise.
Alone…and lost in paradise.”

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August 6, 2012 - Posted by | Loneliness, Nights Like These, Sundry Thoughts

1 Comment »

  1. […] are the times when all I can do is laugh that laughter of the sad and cynical…the laugh that is borderline madness, because my need is for tears. […]

    Pingback by Trapped « Letters to Luthien | November 5, 2012 | Reply


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