Letters to Luthien

Letters to My Future Bride

So Much To Do

Dear Darling,

I miss not having you here right now. Once we start spending time together, I’ve got this great feeling it’s going to be like a dam giving way. I’ve said before, we have so much to catch up on, so much lost time to make up for. If you’re anything like me, when our time comes around, you’ll be ready to blow one last kiss to the lonely years and dive into the years of being together.

And not a moment too soon. There’s so much to do, and we’re missing out!

For example, I recently obtained free tickets to the horse races this fall. I don’t see gambling as a frugal use of resources, but it’s a great excuse to dress up and congregate in the stands and see the manicured grounds on a sunny day.

There’s a lot of fall festivals around. There are 5K’s and marathons to prepare for. There’s stage plays like Wicked or Phantom of the Opera. There was plenty of good movies this summer, and there’s always old movies playing on TV.

There’s fall picnics we could go on…we could make deli sandwiches, or grab a bucket of fried chicken and go to the park. We could go paddle-boating on the lake, or go down to the village and feed the ducks. I just found out there’s a live jazz concert coming up I’d love to take you to. (I love live jazz.)

Let’s go to the orchard and pick apples, or navigate a corn maze. Let’s grab our cameras and capture a frosty autumn morning where the creeks are steaming and the chilly sunlight filters through the haze. Let’s not grab dinner…let’s grab breakfast. I know the perfect little spot to try, and if not, I know the best pancake places. Let’s get up and go somewhere to watch the sun rise, if we’re not both too tired of getting up early.

Let’s try dancing. I’ve always waited for the right partner, since to me dancing is an intimate and romantic thing, not to be shared or enjoyed lightly with a stranger, or even a friend.

Let’s go to antique malls, flea markets, yard sales, fruit stands.

Let’s plan a day trip to the zoo, or the caves, or the settlement. Let’s eat dinner on the restaurant down by the river, or go ice skating, or check out the observatory. Let’s go to the falls, or the capitol grounds, or the wildlife preserve. Let’s go to football games, and basketball games and baseball games.

Let’s catch the parades and festivals and celebrations and fireworks. Let’s participate in them!

When the weather’s nice, we can go hiking, or head down to the national forest, or to one of a few drive-in theaters I know of. We can go bowling, and check out new and familiar foods at all the little hole-in-the-ground restaurants I’ve never felt like adventuring to alone.

I’d like to go with you to all the little downtowns I know of, the quaint little outlying hamlets with shops and diners. Let’s go to the plays and museums…let’s try the dinner train.

We can go check out the state fairs and rodeos. We can go whitewater rafting together, and wall-climbing.

I once had this idea that I should write down my date ideas so I would never lack one after I found you. I think I distrusted myself too much. I’m always spotting new ideas and laying new plans…but shelving them until you arrive. There they’ll lay, love, because they weren’t meant for just one.

There’s lots of things I wouldn’t do on my own. I think we’re all like that. Oh sure, I’ve gone to movies alone, but it’s just not the same without someone beside you. I can’t say it was riotous fun. When you have someone else’s needs to look out for, somehow it’s better. I don’t even put the same effort into the meals I prepare for myself as I would if you were here. I’m far easier to please. I think we all require someone to be better for.

So until then love, I’ll be waiting.

Love always,

-Beren

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September 26, 2012 Posted by | Anticipation | 1 Comment

Spent

Dear Darling,

I have nothing left to give.

Not tonight. I’m empty. Drained. I feel like I’ve given every last ounce of myself to others. I believe it was the right thing to do, and I know that in the giving, others were happy, though perhaps not as happy as I hoped. But now I have nothing left.

I feel like I need a “me” day. Maybe even a week. I need someone to step up at bat for me. I desperately need someone who can get through to me, because I’m losing strength to reach out. The last two or three weeks have been difficult, and I feel like I’ve been fighting them all on my own.

I want to be selfish. For once. I want someone (you) to take my hand with both of yours, grasp it lovingly. You don’t even have to say anything. Just care. Just find a way to make me let you love me.

I need you to be here right now, just someone to help prop me up on my bad days, just like I’ll prop you up on yours.

I need someone to tell me they’re proud of me. Do you know, I think I’m the only one capable of being proud of me right now? Oh, someone told me they were proud of me the other day. He was a Bible study leader, and had no qualms about being direct in his admonishment to stay pure, and call him if I felt weak. I informed him I had waited all this time and had no intentions of throwing it all away now. He admitted he’d done a lot of sleeping around in his time, and very frankly admitted he’d probably slept with a hundred women before he got married and found God. (I can only assume he exaggerated.) Of course, that just gave me flashbacks to my sentiments about being the prodigal brother. Here was a gregarious and outgoing man, successful in his business, and now in leadership over me, who had failed his vows to God and bride dozens of times before finding either of them.

Does God have a habit of choosing the redeemed for his handiwork? Absolutely. Have I failed Him constantly throughout my life? Absolutely. Do I have the time to take on the work that God has called others to do? Of course not. But one wonders, if God delights in changing the lives of degenerates and exalting them in His kingdom, then why obey? The wicked are crowned with honor for the pasts they’ve been brought out of. What is the point of being loyal if the Lord rewards only repented disloyalty?

Would you like to hear what the last two weeks consisted of? I had two difficult exams to study for and pass, 36 hours of class and clinicals, roughly 50 hours of work at my two jobs, WHILE successfully contributing to or being quoted in three national/international news sources and conducting multiple interviews for my unpaid side job as a publicist for a national nonprofit.

As an aside, I managed to squeeze in a two-mile run, donate blood, plan a surprise birthday party, and counsel or listened to at least five friends going through very difficult situations. (Lawsuits, dying relatives, divorces, testimony in court, victims of abuse, etc.)

Darling…no one cares. They don’t ask me how I’m doing. They don’t ask me what I need. They don’t ask me if they can help, or how, they don’t ask me if I’m doing okay. The world is full of takers. No one gives. I seriously doubt many of these people would show up to my wedding, let alone show up to shovel earth back onto my grave if I died.

It leaves me wondering why. It sets up a perplexing dilemma of alternatives: Do I become like them, giving them what they deserve, ignoring them, letting them fend for themselves, or do I expend my energy and resources to give to them, lifting them up and setting them and others an example a better way? The former is not what our Savior asks, but the latter leaves me the way I am tonight. Drained.

No one has come up to me and said I’ve done well, good job, keep at it, or even “I’m proud of you.” No one says “Hey, I saw what you did back there. I just want you to know that it was a sweet, wonderful thing to do. It really made me happy to see that spirit in you.”

I tell people that as often as I can! Last weekend, a woman I know faced a particularly difficult situation, and afterwards I took her aside and told her how she impressed me, and how I gave glory to God because of her. She was extremely grateful to be told that. Is this some mythical gift of affirmation? Or is this just me doing as I wish to be done by? And if it is some rare gift to affirm and encourage, where are the other recipients of this gift for the times when I need it?

Maybe the problem is that a simple thank-you isn’t enough for me. But if I’m being honest, I don’t know what is. I keep people at a distance; maybe I don’t take what they say to heart. I am driven and compelled to earn the praise of others…and psychologically self-conditioned to reject it.

Longer-range, I do reflect on the things I try to do with my life. Missions trip. Donating blood. I remember once, after helping out with a week-long Vacation Bible School program and working with children, I stayed indoors and cleaned up an entire church sanctuary while everyone played and partied outside. Once, I replaced an entire floor for my parents as a surprise while they were out of town for a weekend. (My mother cried when she saw it. Yes, I have video.)

Why is there no abiding memory of gratitude? Do I have a faulty memory, or did no one realize the hard work and sacrifice some of these things required? Is recounting these memories arrogance or just needing to remind myself of the things I’ve done…to remind myself that what I’ve done and who I am matters.

But the question lingers: Who am I trying for? Is it God? I trust He is happy with my service, but it seems He is more pleased with the penitent whose graver offenses are expunged. My family? They are presently far too busy with their own problems to recognize my efforts. Friends? No, I am not earning the favor of anyone who steps up and feeds back into the cycle of encouragement, compassion or support. Strangers? Perhaps. Myself? Perhaps. You? Absolutely.

In the end, Darling, I think only you will be the only mortal who can reward me. Only you will be the immortal beloved whose affections and gratitude will reach into and my core and warm it.

Maybe I seem far too needy or weak to you by this admission. You will have to take me as I am. I promise you will seldom find me thus; worn, broken and spent. It’s like that scene from Superman Returns, where Lois Lane rescues Superman because he’s been wounded and is drifting in the ocean. Rescue Superman, and he comes back to rescue you, and the entire city.

Rescue me, bring me back from the edge of being weary, sad and spent, and I will rescue you and lift you up.

Goodnight, love.

-Beren

September 23, 2012 Posted by | Sundry Thoughts | Leave a comment

#23: Chivalry

Dear Darling,

Chivalry is not dead.

I don’t care what they say. It’s not. It may be rare, hard-pressed and scarce, but you see, I’m still alive. As long as I’m alive, chivalry will be.

I like surprising people with goodness.

I like doing things randomly, just small things, to make someone’s day better. Today a co-worker at her desk grabbed a coke, commented that it was lukewarm and would need ice, and resumed her work. I got up, retrieved a cup of ice and set it by her. A full ten minutes later, she looked over and asked if I brought it. “Thank you!” she exclaimed, a little surprised. Later during a meeting, a woman came late and found no chairs. I immediately stood and offered my seat to her. The other day, I gave up my seat on the bus to a woman, much to her surprise.

It’s not dead because I keep it alive. Maybe the day I die, it goes with me. I don’t know.

Mind you, some of it is me trying to set a witness for Christ to the world. Part of me is trying to set an example, even for the older lads who may have forgotten or not seen chivalry in action. And I’m sure some of that is “stranger kindness.” You know, that outward behavior of cheerfulness you present to people you don’t know? If a loved one calls, you are less cheerful, because you trust them and have the freedom to be yourself; you’re not afraid to show the glum, dismal, less upbeat side.

I say that in recognition of the fact that I’m not always the cunning and noble cavalier to brothers, sisters or family members. Eventually, though it’s wrong, even I let my mother get her own car door now and again. All relationships see that descent into the comfortably familiar, which I daresay ventures too far into the realm of neglect and taking for granted.

You may have to help me guard against that. Because as long as you’re my lady, then I will be your man — a chivalrous man.

When we go out, or when it’s time to leave, I’ll help you with your coat. The man always gets the coat for the lady and helps her put it on.

I’ll pull out your chair and seat you first in the restaurant. Doesn’t matter if it’s the first date or our 500th, you sit first.

I’ll get your door. My mind really doesn’t let me just barge on through a door when a lady is behind me. I won’t hold it open at such distances as to force a lady to speed up out of courtesy to me, but if I pass through first, I’ll at least hold it, or glance back to make sure no one else needs it held. And when it comes to cars, we both go to the passenger side, and I open your door. You are seated first, because that’s what a gentleman does.

I’ll carry your bags. Yes, even the purse when necessary. (Don’t get too excited. I said when necessary.)

I’ll hold your umbrella.

I wouldn’t mind at all if our first kiss is me taking your hand and kissing the back of it.

I’ll try to set an example for the other fellows to stand when you come into the room. Used to, a man rose when a woman came or left the room. This is a tradition which is more out of place than most in modern society, and borders on disruptive. So I’ll use a little discretion. I won’t knock popcorn off the couch standing up just because you ran to the bathroom during a commercial break.

I’ll walk on the outside. Years ago, horses and wagons would fling road debris, street filth and rainwater up, and it was the man’s job to walk street-side and protect the woman from these hazards. It was also more likely for the outside to catch the runoff from awnings and gutters during a rainstorm, and woman’s place was walking beneath the shelter. Obviously, cars still splash, and besides which, I just like the idea of genuine, gentlemanly, old-time traditions of chivalry.

I’ll serve you. I’ll protect you. In some ways, although man is head of the family, I will be yours to command.

Does a modern-day reading of the Bible seem to imply God has commanded woman to “submit” to man as the head of the family. I anticipate you being too secure in your womanhood to chafe at these principles, recognizing their deeper principles. Yet remember Darling, man is told to love his wife with a self-sacrificing, life-on-the-line kind of love; the kind of love Christ had and gave for us. The kind of love that stares down the most efficient and brutal form of torture and death contrived by Romans, coupled with divine rejection and the weight all mankind’s sins, past, present and future — a task so ponderous and immense that our savior sweated drops of blood and required an angel’s hand to stay him.

It is with this love that I am required to love you. Surely if I draw anywhere nigh this standard, you will not think submission so onerous.

It’s not because you’re weaker. No indeed! It has nothing to do with personal estimations of strength, but rather of value. My role, my job, my calling is to treat you as having greater worth. The “better half,” the greater value.

I have always thought of you this way, and I always will. I want to be your knight and uphold that dying standard of chivalry.

I promise.

September 22, 2012 Posted by | Promises | Leave a comment

Alone Among Friends

Dear Darling,

I don’t know what I’m feeling tonight.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m too much of a girl, sitting around thinking and reflecting on feelings and what they mean, and why aren’t they there, and what it means when they are. And sometimes, they all bunch up together and I don’t know where to go with them. I think the majority of confidence comes from deciding feelings are what they are, and although some may be wrong and have to be dealt with, for the most part there aren’t wrong feelings. They are what they are.

Tonight I worked my shift, once again standing and watching hundreds of beautiful young girls file past me into their seats. More than a few of them look my direction or check me out. Some look me head to toe because of my height. Some of them smile. If the place wasn’t a gathering place for newly-joined servants of Christ, or those who don’t take their faith seriously, I might consider this an excellent place to look for you. I’ve had a few ladies convey interest to me here. But so far, I haven’t found you among them.

Afterwards, a group of them invited me out to dine with them. Having passed on the invitation a few times already due to other obligations, I joined them tonight. I sit listening to their conversations, and realize I’m out of place. They all have their jobs and careers and (for some of them) marriages in place. I see no further than the surface, but from that vantage, their lives are playing out in that orderly, linear fashion everyone dreams about. I’m working my two jobs, going to class, writing and balancing everything else in life. My plans didn’t work out so I have to go back to school.

The one girl looks my age, and she’s already a doctor. She’s married to the engineer. Across from me are two teachers. The next table over, it’s two successful business owners. All of them are young, but their lives appear on track. They’re feeling free to be among friends, and all discussing the frustrations of the lives and careers they’ve chosen that appear to be on track.

Sitting here, they all make me feel like I slept through life’s starting gun and now I’m rushing to catch up on the first few laps while everyone else has settled into a steady jog.

No one really asks me the frustrations I’ve gone through, and in an abundance of caution against arrogance to insert myself into the conversation, I stay quiet. This isn’t my turf anyway, and although I do feel comfortable outside of my turf, if it’s someone else’s I stay quiet for a while and watch.

But put me in another crew of people (like my colleagues back at work) and I have to keep quiet about my moonlighting political and writing work, because then I’d feel ahead of them. A colleague at the job I worked tonight asked me how I became so knowledgeable about the Bible, and I answer the question without realizing he just told me I know a lot more about it than he does. Same thing when we get to talking politics.

All the things I feel I’ve put in enough time to be educated about aren’t the things I want to talk about when I’m relaxing with friends…but I’m too quiet yet to join in the humor, which quickly took a turn to the immature anyway.

I just keep wondering where the people like me are, way ahead in some areas of life, and behind (or at least feeling behind) in others.

I wonder where the people are who care about me just because I exist. This sounds like a morose and depressing contemplation, and it’s not meant to be, but I can’t help but notice in the last week or two, I’ve reached out and made genuine inquiries to more than a dozen friends by text or e-mail. I had lunch with one person, and listened to another confide her struggles with abuse, rape and alcoholism.

I don’t remember hardly any of these people doing what I do; folding their own cares up, setting them aside, and saying “well, enough about me, how are you doing?” Or even better, someone who reaches out without prompting — perish the thought!

Just another extension of wanting to find that elusive peer group that says “we know how you feel, we’re there too, join us.”

You ever notice how people have so many self-portraits on Facebook — or pictures of themselves with friends? Don’t know what it is, but I’m not vain enough to take persistent self-portraits, and I don’t seem to have any of those friends who say “hey come here, quick picture, I’ll upload it and tag us on Facebook!”

Do these thoughts sound scattered and jumbled? They are. I’m okay with that. We all get tired and worn and down sometimes. At least this is just a short-term. It’s back to work and studies tomorrow, and that’s the perfect distraction from all these thoughts.

I can imagine the times when you get a little down and frustrated and annoyed, and your thoughts don’t connect well. Maybe you realize it too: “I’m not making much sense, am I?” “No,” I’ll smile, kissing your forehead. “But it’s alright.”

Maybe tonight, I’ll even make myself believe it’s going to be alright.

Love,
Beren

September 10, 2012 Posted by | Loneliness, Sundry Thoughts | Leave a comment

Autumn Is Coming

“Time. Only time, could never take me away from you
And why should it try? Time never cares just what we do
It just sits on a star and gazes down;
Dropping its moments all around,
And if I could wish upon that star,
I would find what you dream and then ask God to grant it.”

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Dear Darling,

There’s something to enjoy about every season. Especially the times in between, the times of transition when we leave the old one behind and move into a new season. It’s new but refreshingly familiar at the same time.

I think the changing seasons keep us from getting stale. Changes keep us on our toes; they make us appreciate the expected and unexpected, and to prepare and adjust even if we don’t like it. They teach us to measure our time and make the most of it because no season lasts forever.

Me? I like it. I like the times when the world reboots and reorients, rolling us over into a new three-month era; we’re caught in between and dragged along whether we’re prepared or not.

But I think if I had to pick a favorite season, it would be fall.

I look forward to this time of year for so many reasons. There’s so many different sights and sounds and smells to take in, so many fond memories triggered. I look forward to the nights that are first cool, then cold. I look forward to pulling long-sleeved shirts out of the back of the closet and sliding them off their hangers, the top button undone and the sleeves rolled up. And then one day, reaching further back for the jackets. I’m strange that way…there’s just something about wrapping a good jacket around me that I like. I also like those evenings when you turn the heat on for the first time. It doesn’t just smell like home, it smells like a warm and cozy home. It’s a pleasant, snug and inviting smell.

I look forward to the bright skies without a cloud in sight, and the stiff breezes that don’t freeze or scald, but rattle the timbers of the trees and bid the leaves to let go and sail to the ground, laying like plump fruits that have baked all summer in the sun and are now ripe for a crunchy harvest.

This time of year means so many things. It means pumpkin chocolate chip muffins and mulled cider. Phantom of the Opera music, auburn skylines and leather jackets. Yankee candles and football, and chilly nighttime walks. It means corn shocks and pumpkins and fresh harvest produce, smoky evenings and cold rains. Fresh air, windows open, the sweet smell of overripe fruit fermenting on the ground. It means clear blue skies, musky glades scented with a coating of wet leaves on the ground. It means crisp dewy mornings, when our breath floats in the air, and overcast afternoons to drive home in. It means those little snack-sized Halloween candies to take home and crumble into a bowl of ice cream. It means sleepy days and cozy nights with a woodstove, and ambient music playing during dinner.

I even like the intervals, the in-betweens when autumn is neither quite come nor quite gone. I like the beginning, when you start to notice the summer’s heat isn’t quite as intense, nor the humidity quite so oppressive. The swimming pool isn’t quite so refreshing, the sweat comes not so readily, and the parked cars aren’t quite as unbearable. I like it when the tips of the trees are just beginning to tinge gold, the warm-up for their rhapsody in red.

I like when fall is in full force, when the clocks roll back and it’s suddenly darker by late afternoon or early evening. I like the rains and the foliage set on fire by the waning sun, as the sands of the year’s hourglass dwindle.

I like when fall itself is nearly spent, when the ground freezes and frost arrives to escort us into winter. I like the early Christmas shopping, the first few flurries, and Thanksgiving.

I like it all.

It’s not here yet, but it’s coming. Maybe it will be the season where I finally meet you. Maybe we’ll begin falling in love by Christmas. Maybe we can watch the parades together. Maybe we’ll get to spend New Years with each other.

Every season carries with it promises both old and new. It reminds us what change is and why we need it. It reminds us what lasts and what doesn’t, and what’s required to do so. It makes us remember, change, adapt. It makes us endure.

Whatever seasons lie behind us or before us…whatever feelings come or go, whatever hard times await us down the road, Darling…I know that I was meant to face them with you. I know that in facing them together, we’ll be stronger together than we could ever be apart. And I know that until then, I will always be missing you and looking for you and waiting for you.

I will always love you and miss you, and I will always be your knight waiting for you to come home.

Yours forever,
-Beren

September 8, 2012 Posted by | Sundry Thoughts | 2 Comments

How Do I Get You Alone?

“You don’t know how long I have wanted
To touch your lips and hold you tight, oh
You don’t know how long I have waited
And I was gonna tell you tonight
But the secret is still my own
And my love for you is still unknown
Alone…”

Dear Darling,

You ever get that feeling you’ve been left behind? I’ve spoken of it before, and there are multiple reasons why. But in this case, I speak of “missing out” on relationships.

There are times (all too often) I glance around at friends or even the few people I’ve had dates with, reflecting on their past relationships, and wonder how I missed their boat?

They’ve had heartbreak, yes, and dearly bought. But they purchased it with the times of complete happiness, trust, friendship, acceptance, love. They had someone to snuggle up next to, who for a time promised to love and cherish and endure. Or even if they knew it wasn’t going to be a forever love, they still felt rested and secure in that partnership for a time. It seems everyone has their sob stories, their tales of previous relationships. They simply accept love and loss as a consequence of life. They’ve had the beautiful agony of having their heart broken — the kind of pain some hearts just can’t wait to earn.

I stand alone quite comfortably (it comes from practice!) but I do catch myself wondering if I missed the boat. I don’t have a laundry list of exes. I’ve never felt the pain of a broken heart and shattered promises, nor borrowed the mortgaged wages of joy and contentment to find it.

People take relationships so lightly nowadays. They have their boyfriends or girlfriends, and of course it goes without saying that the overwhelming majority are sleeping together. And in my position of abstention and curiosity borne of innocence and ignorance (which most people my age gave up a a decade ago), I hear them talking about their “significant other” nonchalantly, and I want to say “Wait, you’re in a relationship? Like, you’re in love? Is it for real? Is it forever? If it is, why aren’t you happier? If it isn’t, why are you still together? Don’t you realize you’re being cavalier about a side of life some of us would give fortunes to obtain?” Or if I learn they’re fornicating, I want to demand why, how, when did that start, don’t they know it’s wrong, why don’t they stop, don’t they know they could create a pregnancy, contract a disease?

Then there are the friends of mine who post those baby pictures on Facebook. Even the ones that did it right, I want to ask them if they ever wake up and realize they’re younger than me, and they’re making babies. They’re actually legally and morally enjoying conjugal relations together (hello envy), and making new humans. They’re becoming parents. All they do is post the pictures, or announce the birth. Don’t they realize it’s a miracle? Don’t they realize people are inwardly mourning, pining, yearning, craving after that?

Somehow…it just seems like there should be more to it.

Maybe in today’s era of not having sex “until you are ready” there is an absence of ceremony which makes any such experiences, whether relationships or sex or marriage or children far less significant.

Is it selfish to want you to be free of all this? Not children, but I mean, the blazed trail of boyfriends and exes? I can mend your heart Darling, but am I lazy to ask that we not require so much time to gather the pieces? Is it so foolish and unrealistic to entertain hopes that you and I can discover love together — not rediscover it? I don’t want you to be thinking about how this is like your last date, or making comparisons. I want to make memories with you, not overwrite the old ones.

Because I have so few ghosts in my past, I hold a dim and sad hope that I can meet an equal in you.

You already know I reflect too much on things, on my life so far. I look back at the things I’ve done for people. Pardon a swell of ego, but I do feel proud of what I’ve done, where people have been and how far they’ve come. God is ultimately responsible Darling, you know that, but friends have told me how much I’ve helped. I feel too young to be a mentor and leader…but I feel too old not to be.

And yes, more and more that selfish side of me is kicking in, frowning at all the withdrawals and none of the deposits in the bank of good deeds, stamping its foot and asking where the person is who will do that for me? Where is the soul who will step up at bat on my behalf, and be there for me, force themselves through my defenses (“Hey, you keep trying to talk about me, I’m asking about you“) just to listen and sympathize and encourage? Where’s the person who will recognize when I need a hug, and give it freely without expectation, and without making me feel like a wimp for needing one?

Brace yourself for another shot of that legendary ego Darling, but…I don’t think you’ll ever find anyone else like me. I can’t find anyone else like me. I know because of the way people react to me…the surprise when I stand on the bus to offer my seat to a woman. I know because they’re surprised when I put their needs first, or when they learn I’m waiting for marriage, and have been saving my love for you.

I know, because I’ve looked. We all look. We want to find someone like ourselves, to share our thoughts and feelings with. Do you disagree? Very well then, find me these men. Tell me where you have any man who dares bare his heart to a watching world, who pours his efforts and energies into prosaic works of writing, humble though they may be, guaranteeing you all of the joys and wonders and promises that await you as my bride? Tell me where these noble warriors are who promise chivalry, virtue, protection, love, music, romance? Which of them are educated, ambitious, tall, healthy, industrious, studious, and serve Christ with a heart that at least tries to be selfless? How many of them are following the quiet path of a higher calling, willing to lead and give you security and comfort to submit? Tell me when you find them — and where. I need companionship, and I know many a maid that needs such a man.

I do hope we needn’t sort through the complications of the various fellows you’ve splintered your heart for. Forgive me if that’s selfish. Forgive me if I hope for too much in seeking someone who can give with half so richly and vigorously as I intend to.

Love always,
Beren

“Till now I always got by on my own
I never really cared until I met you
And now it chills me to the bone
How do I get you alone
How do I get you alone.”

September 6, 2012 Posted by | Loneliness, Purity, Who I Need You To Be | Leave a comment

Our Sundays

“Oh surrender in much sweeter
When we both let it go
Let the water wash our bodies clean
And love wash our souls
Pray that it’s raining on Sunday
Stormin’ like crazy
We’ll hide under the covers all afternoon
Baby whatever comes Monday
Can take care of itself
‘Cause we got better things that we could do
When it’s raining on Sunday.”

– Keith Urban

Dear Darling,

Today’s lazy Sunday afternoon had all the right ingredients. There was heavy, steady rain and a football game. I love rain, and it was the perfect sleepy Sunday afternoon. (I’m not overly fond of sports, but it’s fine to watch a game now and again isn’t it?)

It doesn’t matter; I fell asleep during it, I had to work, and of course, you weren’t there.

So as always, I headed off to work, through the rain, thinking of the ways our lives will change once we’re together and composing this letter in my mind on the ride home.

I keep coming back to this one idea: This should be our time. These lazy afternoons should be ours, to stay inside, talk, laugh, get even better acquainted, take lazy naps. cuddle on the couch, have staring contests. We should be able to huddle under a blanket, watch an old black and white movie, sit on the porch sipping tea and watching it rain. (I don’t like tea, but you get the idea.) We could go for a walk in the rain and get drenched, or stay inside and go through the Sunday newspaper, checking for coupons and price matches.

I feel needy right now, Darling. I don’t want to, but I do. I need you desperately. Not needy as in, “gee I wish there was a girl here to do things for me” but needy as in, that “can’t think about anything but finding you so we can plan our wedding” kind of needy…as in, “everyone roll their eyes because he just made another bitter singles joke about why he’s still single when THAT guy is married.” Honestly, I expect you to be needy too; I’ll be disappointed if you aren’t, because then I’d feel weak and silly, and I’d feel this macho need to button everything back up inside so you won’t see how weak I am.

I need someone to identify with me, because very often I feel like I’m alone in a crowded room — any crowded room. In the world, experience seasons and matures. There are those less mature than you, peers who are roughly your equals, and those more wise than you. Ideally, you find a cross-section of all three with whom to spend time. Yet it seems it’s very hard to find the wise ones, or the peers. Instead, I find so many who are new to the faith, or at least newer. I want to find people better than me. Mentors, people more advanced, people who can teach me. And I simply can’t find them. Does that mean I’m arrogant? “Stop looking to be served and start serving?” is the implication. “Brave little coal, seek not to be warmed, but rather share your heat with the others, even if your own light is dimmed.”

No dear, I need to find others who identify with what it is to be me. I’m tired of being the one always expected to give! There are unique challenges to the lives God has given me, both humble and great, and just because some of them are great is no reason why I should not seek someone who can understand me and not judge, condemn or question. That’s one reason why I need you to be pure. You’ll know what it’s like to face the challenges I do. You won’t hear arrogance if I lament that I feel like the last of the strong, or if I vent my frustration and hurt and anger about people who don’t wait.

I also need you to be proud of me. Oh please, please be the kind of woman who can look at me in my moments of doubt and say “I believe in you”  with shining eyes! Show me I’m special to you. Show me I mean something. It’s going to mean so much to me.

You see, because of the various different experiences I’ve had, I feel comfortable in facing down a lot of situations. I’m accustomed to being the one that takes initiative and does something useful while everyone else just stands around.  With the training and experiences I’ve had, I’ll be the first to admit it’s been built up to a rare degree; people think I’ve got this enormous ego, this alpha complex; “No you don’t understand, how is it that I wound up being this big smart perfect guy that all these girls hit up or make eyes at?” I felt like a heel for having to be only cordial with a young lady who is clearly interested, for whom I feel no interest whatsoever. I was preparing for you Darling, not them. It isn’t worth much to me by itself, and I was never trying to impress a bunch of people. It’s a genuine frustration to be the guy everyone thinks is so cool or amazing or smart or tall and handsome and accomplished. I try to keep it in check, balance it out with humility. I’ll dumb down my opinion if someone asks, because I don’t want to tell someone how much time I’ve spent studying a political, scientific or philosophical issue. I’ll keep silent even if I know the answer, because I don’t wish to presume my knowledge on someone else.  But sometimes, I’ll know when to lead, I’ll know when to step up and say look, I’m your guy, here’s what we need to do, I know how to do this, let’s tackle it together. Sometimes recognizing your own competencies sounds boastful, even if you’re not trumpeting them.

Truth be told, that ego of mine may give a good showing on the outside, but it’s actually kind of frail. I can’t be the one to remind myself I matter…I won’t believe myself. I need you to do that. I promise I’ll never let you forget how much you matter to me.

I know I’ve said this before, but I persistently find myself just wanting someone to talk to. It’s a simple need; just someone to call to unwind, unburden, decompress, debrief, and in turn, listen to someone else do the same. It’s strongest when I get off work. Sometimes I’ll just text distant friends because I want someone to talk to. Because I also care how they are, and because I recognize friendships are give and take, I always lead by asking how they are, how their day was, what they’re up to. Then I get frustrated because they answer and don’t ask about me, or don’t text back.

One or two have learned. (There I go again, how arrogant to “teach” someone to care!) Now they actually text ME at random intervals in a day or week. But they never ask after me very deeply.

I suppose I’m not making much sense to you. The things I write here are in defense or response to a day’s worth of musing over interactions, failures and the comments of friends and family.

I hope wherever you are, Darling, you found time to walk in the rain tonight. That way, at least, the raindrops can do what I can’t…caress your cheek and make you feel happier.

Yours truly,
Beren

September 3, 2012 Posted by | Loneliness, Nights Like These, Sundry Thoughts, Who I Need You To Be | Leave a comment

Various and Sundry Thoughts, Pt. 4

“Just stare into space
Picture my face in your hands
Live for each second without hesitation
And never forget I’m your man
Wait on me girl
Cry in the night if it helps
But more than ever I simply love you
More than I love life itself
And I guess that’s why they call it the blues
Time on my hands could be time spent with you
Laughing like children, living like lovers
Rolling like thunder under the covers
And I guess that’s why they call it the blues.”
– Elton John

Dear Darling,

It’s supposed to be a blue moon tonight. A rare occasion, they say, not to occur again for two years. Blue indeed. I walked under it tonight…or, rather, under cloudlight, with the precious remnants of Hurricane Isaac gingerly patting my shoulders. I mentioned it before, but it’s funny to me how life is intensifying even more. Balancing two jobs, activism, writing, studying and classes while fitting eating, sleeping, family and relaxation in there somewhere. Everything otherwise in life is going well. The only complaint I have is that I can’t find you.

In other words, the only thing missing is everything.

It doesn’t help to watch the TV shows or movies I’ve lately seen about the difficulties with love, or the frustration with being kept apart from your lover.

Every man needs a pretty face to smile at him, Darling. Every man needs someone to call his own…and who will call him her own. To kiss his cheek and remind him she’s proud of him. To hand him her jars and ask him to open them. To grab his tie, pull him in for a kiss and remind him he’s her man, and she’s his woman. To sigh in contentment when he puts his arms around her, and tell him it feels like home. To yawn and say “I don’t feel like cooking, let’s just go out tonight” and then fret because she doesn’t have anything to wear. To put her hand on my bare chest, slowly twirling the hair as she reminds him he’s the only one who will ever hold her heart, or her body. To wake him up with a gently-breathed whisper and a kiss. To make the bed or wash his laundry if he needs it, to make him feel loved and needed and wanted and useful.

Every man needs that.

Sometimes, it feels like all these “leads” have cropped up for me, either girls interested in me, or the ones I’ve been interested in. They all seem to get cut off at the neck, before I’m even afforded a chance to pursue them. Each start seems false, I can’t seem to find that right connection where I feel the spark and so does she, and we both align with our views and our feelings and our personalities. I have a hunch it’s going to be magical when we do, but until then, it’s pretty lonely.

I saw “Friend-Zone” again the other day. She was laughing with her friends and didn’t see me. I wished it was me making her laugh. If she were to return and apologize for being rude, and explain that she was still a virgin and might be willing to go out with me, it would be a welcome warmth on this cold heart.

At the same time, I’m left dumbfounded when reaching out to a woman who is struggling intensely, trying to comfort and be a friend even though she has slighted me. She refuses to show weakness, and instead lashes out at me. She and I could be so great if she simply stopped being, frankly, a jerk.

And then on a side note, I find it amused that someone who claims to be Wiccan thought I would ever be interested in her, even after knowing who I am and where I stand.

Darling, you will pardon me if I sometimes overdramatize these encounters in my mind. I don’t mean to be melodramatic when I talk about the various who’s and what-if’s that have wandered in and out of my life. You may read them and think I’ve been starstruck and crestfallen at each of a dozen fair beauties in the world. In the first place, these requisite but primitive and perhaps premature sentiments impact me on a very deep level. They touch me in a place few (if any) can reach. They are meaningful, and in ejecting them onto a page, I achieve both the goal of processing and sorting it through in my brain, and using my heart as a sort-of paintbrush to tell my story.

There are things that come to my mind every day that I know I’ll never remember to tell you, feelings and memories and thoughts that I have to preserve for you…and for me.

I think I need to stop caring so much.

Just once, though, just once I’d like to find someone who gives me that zing, who I can give that zing to. Just once! We can be mutually attracted to each other, we can talk easily, there’s no drama, and we can relax and be happy to spend time together. I’ve got all these dates and ideas. I see concerts and events, I hear of attractions and movies, and I think about how I want to go with you.

I love you, Darling.

Yours,
Beren

September 1, 2012 Posted by | Nights Like These, Sundry Thoughts | Leave a comment