Letters to Luthien

Letters to My Future Bride

Sehnsucht: A Longing Undefined

“I just can’t stand being alone.
Gonna have to change that some day.
There’s a restless feeling in my bones and I know,
That at times, it just won’t go away.
One thing I know, that when I turn out the light,
Visions of you, dear, dance in the night.
I’ve been put down, pushed around, apprehended and led down town.
And I can’t help it if I’m out of sight, but I’m restless tonight.”

– Alison Krauss

Dear Darling,

Is it wrong that I want something new out of life…and I don’t know what it is?

I want a moment of clarity or revelation. You know, the kind when everything becomes clear, and suddenly you know what you want most; one purpose shines above the rest and everything makes sense. Whatever it is, elevating, illuminating, awakening…I want it.

I don’t even know what I’d like it to be about.

Sometimes moments are exciting at the time but overall very boring. Sometimes they are boring at the time, but exciting in retrospect. I’d like to find more moments that are exciting at the time and when remembered…a feeling which is sharp and deep, not dull and surface.

There are two words that come to mind to describe this feeling: sehnsucht and zugunruhe.

Sehnsucht is an ethereal longing, an elusive, golden nostalgia for something you haven’t experienced but feel you were meant to experience. It’s a profound desire; a transcendent but transient dissatisfaction. The word is German, introduced into my vocabulary (and many others’) by C.S. Lewis who described it in a book as follows:

“It almost hurt me . . . like a bird in a cage when the other birds of its kind are flying home . . . to find the place where all the beauty came from—my country, the place where I ought to have been born. The longing for home.”

Zugunruhe is another German word for a restless longing, an anxious migratory urge; “a pull of the soul to a far off place, following a scent in the wind, a star in the sky.”

It boils down to a cognitive dissonance, a mental discordance between something my mind tells me should exist and the reality that it doesn’t yet. My faith bids me trust, my body urges action, my mind and spirit bid me be steady. And those around me bid me to change my expectations or my actions. It sets up an internal conflict of sorts. Part of you is at war with another part of you, because part of you (or someone else) is telling you it should be different. And often the question arises, are my standards too high? Should I reach out and take the fruit within reach and cease a fantasy that better fruit exists “out there”? Or should I refuse compromise and “good enough” and wait for the best of the best, trusting it’s worth waiting for?

It’s not just romance, nor even happiness. It’s experience. It’s a desire for something to grip me, to reach down deep inside and meet me where I am, to make me feel…to be involuntarily.

But what? Is it achievement I crave? Love? Joy? Peace? Praise? Accomplishment?

People will sometimes tell me I’ve changed their life, or contributed to it significantly. Intuitively, I know this is true, and yet I fail to internalize it. I’m not sure if modesty brushes it off or pride accepts it as long overdue, but either way it seems somehow not to register fully. It should be a compliment worthy great joy, a soul-filling light of gratitude and satisfaction. And yet, if we stand before the throne and one by one tell our stories to all of heaven with perfected memory about the impact each person on our lives, I know my greatest anticipation is not to hear the things I didn’t know I did, but rather the pride in my Father’s face, to see God Almighty beaming like a proud father saying “that’s my boy.”

It’s my own fault. I’ve tried all my life to become impervious and unflappable, and be the man that kicks into gear when human nature freezes. That’s what I’m becoming, and it seems it comes with a price.

It’s funny how as a kid you look forward to the big things of being grown up, like getting your own mail or driving. Then when you get there, you pretend it’s not such a big deal because you don’t want to gloat or tip your hand. Likewise when something bad comes along, you put on your poker face and don’t show you’re hurting. In fact, when the worst comes along I put a smile on. I crack jokes and whistle. I figure anyone can smile when things are good, but you truly show your mettle when you smile or grin when the world is in shambles. And I know beyond a doubt that it is far more preferable to confront a negative situation together rather than a positive situation alone.

You are no substitute for heaven, Darling, but in a union which itself symbolizes the bond between Christ and His church, I think you’re the closest I shall ever come on earth. I can only surmise that the marriage is what I anticipate the most — both our union here on earth, and the marriage between our Lord and His flock.

I’m exhausted tonight from working two insanely hectic shifts at the hospital. My legs are scarcely restless, except in the literal sense of lacking rest. Even my mind is fatigued. Even so, it longs for experience beyond its own.

Perhaps as the year draws to a close, it is fitting that these thoughts should descend as well.

Love ever,

December 30, 2012 Posted by | Loneliness | 1 Comment

Christmas Then and Now

“I’m looking for you 
I’m looking for — I don’t know what 
I can’t see there anymore 
And all my time’s been taken 
Is this what it seems? 
The lure of a dream 
And I’m afraid to walk back through that door 
To find that I’ve awakened…”

Dear Darling,

How was your Christmas? Did you spend it with your family? Were you apart from them for the first time? Was it as magical for you as when you were young? What did you receive, and what did you get?

Christmas quietly slipped back out into the night, as it does every 26th of December at midnight. It went as gently and silently as it came, leaving only memories behind. It was less joyful and wonderful this year than any other, I’m afraid. Perhaps I am simply too accustomed to all the warm traditions and memories that abide with my family throughout the season.

I’m getting too old. It seems like when I was younger, Christmas lasted an eternity. I was giddy, practically dancing with anticipation for the twenty-fifth, and after breezing through class work, I’d sit around reading books or playing games or watching shows. Bing Crosby and the Carpenters formed the soundtrack to the season, and were ingraining themselves into the neural pathways of my memory. It was okay to be selfish and only the good memories counted.

Now I’m so busy with work or school, and school doesn’t let out until a little more than a week prior to Christmas that I haven’t time to prepare either my heart or my mind or my arrangements sufficiently to allow for the season.

Back then it seemed like snow could be expected a few times before Christmas, if not actually on the day itself. Throughout winter, we would receive at least one major snowfall worthy of snowballs and sledding. The past few years we had nothing more than a few flurries (if that) prior to Christmas, and this year it rained.

Back then, we had family come to visit. Aunts, uncles, grandparents, my great-grandmother, friends. Now no one comes, not even my oldest brother who has removed himself from our lives. It’s just me and my family year after year. The traditions are familiar and comforting, but I begin to crave after something new.

Shopping back then was the thrill of being cut loose in the store for the first time with two twenty dollar bills in your hand and the freedom to make your own purchases. Now, shopping is finding the time to sit down at the computer and order the gift ideas you’ve contrived. (If I do say so myself, my gift ideas have certainly improved.)

Bedtime was being tucked in with a hug goodnight almost every night, and never later than eleven, let alone midnight. Now, it’s being irresponsibly tardy in retiring for the evening, and being too lonely to care.

Then, I was loved by my family and never had a reason to doubt it. They were all I needed, and I seldom thought about needing anything else. Now I’m too aware that I need someone more, someone who isn’t in my life yet. There’s this absence that reverberates throughout my day, and creeps up for a haunting embrace at night.

I’m too grown-up. I couldn’t make it to Neverland if I tried. I don’t get excited like I used to. Life gets complicated, and all these worries settle in. You have to take the reins of your life and worry about routes and steering and directions, even as you cede its control to its Creator.

I think it’s time for me to move on. I need to find a new place. I’m getting a little stale. I need to spread the wings a little bit, do my own thing for a while, push the limits and comfort zone a little. How can I expect to be prepared to provide for you if I don’t know how to provide for myself? Financially I’ll be just fine. I could use a little training in cooking and tending bills and my own place. I’m trying to be sure I’m abiding in God’s will on the matter. It is a leap while enrolled full-time in school.

After I showered tonight, I sat by the woodstove, bare-chested and alone, the darkness illuminated only by firelight. The wind and rain battering the house, and the snapping of burning logs are the only sounds that penetrate the silence. I’m staying up far too late, texting or chatting with friends just because I don’t want to be lonely. Being alone and being lonely are two very different things.

Christmas loneliness and hormones seem to be striking particularly hard this year. I understand how the long years can culminate into moments where, if someone of equal loneliness is in close proximity, weakness abounds. And every so often, that thought creeps back in that I should join the rest of the world in that regard, buy a little temporary pleasure and regret, and stop pretending I’m better than them.

I love you, Darling. I can’t wait to lean in and whisper those words in your ear as I kiss your neck.

Those are the sorts of future memories that keep my heart from freezing on nights like tonight.

Merry Christmas, Darling.


December 26, 2012 Posted by | Loneliness | Leave a comment

This Time Every Year

christmas kiss

 “Greeting cards have all been sent
The Christmas rush is through
But I still have one wish to make
A special one for you 

Merry Christmas, darling
We’re apart that’s true 

But I can dream and in my dreams 
I’m Christmasing with you 

Holidays are joyful 
There’s always something new 
But every day’s a holiday 
When I’m near to you 
The lights on my tree 
I wish you could see 
I wish it every day 
Logs on the fire 
Fill me with desire 
To see you and to say 

That I wish you Merry Christmas 
Happy New Year, too 
I’ve just one wish 
On this Christmas Eve 
I wish I were with you 

The logs on the fire 
Fill me with desire 
To see you and to say 
That I wish you Merry Christmas 
Happy New Year, too 
I’ve just one wish 
On this Christmas Eve 
I wish I were with you 
I wish I were with you.”

Merry Christmas darling. I will meet you in spirit underneath the mistletoe for our annual Christmas kiss, and hope as I do every year that we find each other soon.

Love ever,

December 26, 2012 Posted by | Holidays, Loneliness | Leave a comment

Our First Christmas

ChristmasLoveDear Darling,

What a beautiful time of year this is!

It’s exciting to think one day this season will come alive all over again when I get to share it with you. Everything will be exciting and new; you and I will get to sing the carols together, decorate together, buy a tree together, shop for each other. We’ll visit friends, and serve in soup kitchens and go to tree lightings. We’ll bake cookies and treats, go ice skating, get into snowball fights, go on photo outing, and make snowmen or snow angels.

We’ll curl up and watch Christmas movies together, and spend entire evenings with mugs of hot chocolate or mulled cider, making better acquaintance under the mistletoe.

Somewhere up in heaven, I’d like to think all of these events, and the number of times we share them, are written on a scroll, not binding our actions, but bound by them; a divine spreadsheet, exact in every detail, recording the number of children, tears, fights, minutes together, the number of Christmases and kisses we share.

Sometimes I struggle to draw continual meaning from this season. The songs, signs and even traditions become too familiar. But then I think about how it will all be new again, and how we’ll relish the pleasure of making our own children happy during this season. I’d like to think that our lives will be brimming with joy and happiness to make happiness for others. I hope you and I are financially blessed by the Lord and at Christmas like no other time, we can become our own miniature versions of Father Christmas, making dreams come true and bringing love and warmth to people on Christmas morning.

What fun we’ll have! Your love will be like a fresh snow, painting and renewing our rude, mean world with one simple stroke of the brush and one color. It will softening the hard edges, smooth the harsh shapes and forms of the world with which I’m accustomed. You will gentle my world, and beautify it.

It will be a small reflection of Christ’s own arrival on earth…a wonderful fulfillment of a hopeful but impatient expectation. Half the virtue of the payoff is its prolonged delay, and before the first Christmas, all of creation longed for fulfillment. The Advent of Christ brought it about, and now it’s just a matter of time until the ultimate purification. Advent is a season of waiting and earnest expectancy.

In sharing the Advent season with my family, we read some of the works of Dietrich Bonhoffer, whose comparison and analogy I greatly appreciated:

“Celebrating Advent means being able to wait. Waiting is an art that our impatient age has forgotten. It wants to break open the ripe fruit when it has hardly finished planting the shoot. But all too often greedy eyes are only deceived; the fruit that seemed so precious is still green on the inside, and disrespectful hands ungratefully toss aside what has so disappointed them. Whoever does not know the austere blessedness of waiting—that is, of hopefully doing without—will never experience the full blessing of fulfillment. Those who do not know how it feels to struggle anxiously with the deepest questions of life, of their life, and to patiently look forward with anticipation until the truth is revealed, cannot even dream of the splendour of the moment in which clarity is illuminated for them.

Not everyone can wait: neither the sated nor the satisfied nor those without respect can wait. The only ones who can wait are people who carry restlessness around with them and people who look up with reverence to the greatest in the world. Thus Advent can be celebrated only by those whose souls give them no peace, who know that they are poor and incomplete, and who sense something of the greatness that is supposed to come, before which they can only bow in humble timidity, waiting until he inclines himself toward us — the Holy One himself, God in the child in the manger.

Merry Christmas, my darling, sweet dreams.


December 25, 2012 Posted by | Holidays | Leave a comment

I Miss You Most At Christmas


“The fire is burning the room’s all aglow
Outside the December wind blows
Away in the distance the carolers sing in the snow
Everybody’s laughing, the world is celebrating
And everyone’s so happy
Except for me tonight

I miss you most at Christmas time
And I can’t get you
Get you off my mind
Every other season comes along
And I’m all right
But then I miss you
Most at Christmas time

I gaze out the window this cold winters’ night
At all of the twinkling lights
Alone in the darkness
Remembering when you were mine
Everybody’s smiling
The whole world is rejoicing
And everyone’s embracing
Except for you and I

In the springtime those memories start to fade
With the April rain through the summer days
Till Autumn’s leaves are gone
I get by without you
Till the snow begins to fall
And then…

I miss you most at Christmas time
And I can’t get you
Get you off my mind
Every other season comes along
And I’m all right
But then I miss you
Most at Christmas time.”

Mariah Carey

December 23, 2012 Posted by | Holidays, Songs | Leave a comment

Slowing Down

Lost Childhood

“Where are you Christmas
Why can’t I find you 
Why have you gone away 
Where is the laughter 
You used to bring me 
Why can’t I hear music play 
My world is changing
I’m rearranging
Does that mean Christmas changes too?”

Dear Darling,

Christmas is coming…too fast. It’s barreling at me like a glittering magical freight train at 120 miles per hour.

When I was a kid, Christmas took a glorious eternity to arrive. I couldn’t wait for it to get here, but I had to. That nervous anticipation, that giddy state of childlike wonder cocooning everything in a haze of happiness.

Now I’m all grown up. I’ve acquired patience, or a better share of it. I can wait for Christmas, in fact I wish it would take longer to get here so I can savor it. Sensing a change in my desires, Christmas picked up speed, hurtling towards me faster than I can absorb its beauty. My crazy life going nonstop means even when it slows down, my head is still abuzz. I worked 14 hours the other day and woke up early to do two hours of a radio show. Then I pulled eight hours the next day, and got home and was bored! I can’t refocus. The nonstop motion of a busy life has hooked me into its rhythm, and now life is a blur. It’s moving too fast.

Someone sent me a Christmas letter, and I haven’t even read it. I have 50 unread e-mails in my inbox (I never leave e-mails unread), some of them important, that i haven’t responded to yet. I helped decorate the outside of the family’s house, but I don’t have a tree in my room or any lights, and Christmas is four days away.

Maybe regular life has just become enough for me that Christmas lacks the charm and novelty it used to have. Rather than several hundred tracks consisting of renditions of carols I’ve heard every year for nigh three decades, I enjoy the 1500+ serenades and ballads of love and loss I enjoy during the year.

Isn’t it ironic that the same patience and devotion to waiting for you has cursed me with the ability to await other things such as Christmas so well that they lose their value?

Maybe I’m too inquisitive. I want to learn it all, but being inquisitive often means seeing what things really are, which leads to a loss of magic. You die a little when Santa is confined to the story books, when you see the magician’s trick for what it is and see the Disney princess on her smoke break. Even the wonder of the human body has lost a little of its mystique, and the once-vast world of medicine, doctors and nurses has shrunk almost to an attainable level — “Why! they’re all just pretending to know what they’re doing!”

It reminds me of that poem by Elizabeth Akers Allen, Rock Me To Sleep.

Tonight, as ever, I  have this craving for deep conversation. Somehow when I talk with people, the topics quickly plunge to the grave and glorious. I’m craving that tonight. I’d like nothing better than to sit in a well-decorated coffee bar to the tune of a slow Christmas jazz, or drive around town as snow pours down, talking about the intricacies and depths of life over ice cream and gentle piano music in the background. I want to share desire and philosophy and love and righteousness and solutions to the world’s problems. I want someone to invade my heart with a smile and a host of fresh new thoughts, and share new wisdom and new insight, make me laugh with the beautiful simplicity of truth. Someone who can take my heart out of its shell, blow the dust off it and cherish it.

More engagements and marriages fill my friends list. Well-deserving people, of course, but just more evidence of the ever-dwindling list of alleged peers who pair off one by one and leave me sitting by the fire, taking stock of my life and writing lonely letters to a girl I haven’t met at quarter after two in the morning.

I have situations where I need your advice. I need someone wise and sage, someone at least an equal, with a view either more compassionate and merciful, or less grave, or something. I don’t always want to be the smart one, and I don’t always want to be the giver. Have you noticed most of the world are takers? No one gives. I’m a giver, but I want first to let me give to you, and second for you to give to me.

It’s okay to pursue me a little too. It’s okay to need me…and to show it. Maybe I want you to need me. Maybe I want you to be a little persistent, to feel like I’m worth a little effort rather than giving up in one try. Ask about me. I always want to talk, but I won’t be the guy who goes around volunteering information and self-disclosing constantly. Ask deep questions. I like when people ask deep probing questions. Study me. Remember things about me and bring them back up. Be curious about aspects of my life, just because they’re mine.  People think I’m arrogant, but I’m not so arrogant to suppose you want to hear about me. You have to ask. Please, ask. Pry even. I’ll tell you if you prove too deeply, and until then it’s how I know you care. I am open and honest, and I want to know everything about you.

And the heck of it all is, I have to face another night like this alone. A dead end night, where no one whispers my name goodnight as we drift off, where I can’t lie awake on my back, content just to hear you breathe. I want to wake up and pick up life where we left off last night, with unfinished conversation threads, thoughts about the news, and continuing to learn about each other. Loving each other, living our lives together, and at the end of the day falling asleep in each other’s arms determined to do it all over again the next day. I don’t want any more dead end nights.

So, I’m up late reading memos from work, browsing forums, listening to music, even though I know I’ll be asleep within minutes of hitting the pillow.

The sad thoughts hover close dear, but there’s many happy thoughts yet in store.

Love ever,

“Where are you Christmas
Do you remember
The one you used to know
I’m not the same one
See what the time’s done
Is that why you have let me go?”

Faith Hill

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

Lost Childhood and Other Musings

Dear Darling,

1) There she was again. Friend-zone.

I’ve spent a few weekends looking to see if I might spot her in the crowd, even though I didn’t want to see her. Talk about a complicated emotion. She was among the group of friends that are gradually becoming my friends as well. In fact if memory serves she helped introduce me. And she was sitting with her boyfriend. Ah, so that’s the idiot. He doesn’t look like much. A friend tells me he lives Florida…how is that working out? I shook her hand and congratulated her on finishing the same program which I just began. She squeezed back and smiled elegantly, making perfect conversation as if it wasn’t at all awkward that I’d expressed a definitive attraction and desire to know her better and which she rebuffed.

She didn’t ask about me, but that’s okay, most people don’t. Then she walked away, with him. I walked the other way, fiercely ordering my heart to settle down.

Where does this stupid feeling of attraction and attachment come from? It’s sudden and strong, and abhorrent in its severity. Have you ever spent your whole life becoming something worthwhile, only to be rejected? There’s a sense of anger that comes with it. I don’t give my attentions lightly, and yet they were spurned so heavily.

It’s not like I can’t handle rejection. Heaven knows…! I’ve done my share, as gently as possible. I guess I just wrestle with this concept of killing an involuntary emotion, a desire to be with someone that can’t ever be. Only felt it once or twice in my life, and I hope to heaven that same feeling can be fulfilled by finding you.

Moving on.

2) My visit with my friend yesterday went fine. We had a surprisingly frank conversation, but only about her medical diagnosis. Training in the medical field has made me somewhat immune to shame regarding women’s health…an unwilling social superpower. She didn’t ask about me, but that’s to be expected. People in the hospital become selfish and self-oriented, and rightly so.

I think my gifts went over well. I gave her cocoa butter lotion (“to remind you to take care of yourself”) a deck of cards (“so you have something to do while you’re laid up”) a keychain flashlight (“so you’ll always have something to light your way”) and a small lion statue (“to remember to fight like a lion.”) Naturally, no good deed goes unpunished, I was late for work. But hopefully I was the hand and the voice of Jesus, and that is all anyone can hope to accomplish.

3) Ahh, darling, all I wanted to do was talk with you tonight. I reached the end of yet another day, and I had no one to call. I just need someone to talk to, with no distance, no secrets, no reservations, no fear of being absolutely open, knowing you will listen and love and not question. I’m done with my final exams and I have time now, and no one special to spend it with. I’ve got songs to sing and places to go and food to eat, and I want to do it with you. I want to banish this forlorn letter-writing habit of mine and start having fun with you. I guess you get tired of hearing that, huh?

4) What do you suppose they mean when they talk about lost childhood? I’ve heard the term several times, and I don’t know if it means a childhood that never was, or a childhood they enjoyed which was lost when they grew up. Me, I miss the childhood I grew out of. I didn’t know how good I had it, and like any small boy, I couldn’t wait to grow up. Now I’m here. I’ve got jobs and bills and school, and I want to go back to those simple days, just like any adult does. I’m not sure if there’s a little bit of magic in the newness of being grown-up (or at least playing at it) that the old magic of Christmas loses its meaning, or if the magic itself goes away. I’ve developed this ability to deflect or absorb trouble and sadness and pain without internalizing it. Maybe in losing degrees of capacity for sadness, I’ve lost degrees of capacity for happiness as well.

5) You might get to see your Beren on national prime time television in the next week or so. I’d tell you where, but it’s not assured and I’d hate to be revealed before my time to the few other handsome pairs of eyes scanning these pages.

6) Time for bed, love. Write me a letter of your own tonight, won’t you?

What wonders a kiss goodnight would do for me right now…

Love ever,

December 17, 2012 Posted by | Sundry Thoughts | Leave a comment

Back to a Reason

“Got to get back to a reason 
Got to get back to a reason I once knew;
And this late in the seasons 
One by one distractions fade from view 
The only reason I have left is you.”

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Dear Darling,

Why is it that I always want to start by talking about the weather? Is it because after all these years of writing to you, I still don’t know you well enough to know how to begin? Maybe it’s because I want to set the scene for you, to help you imagine yourself here. No matter. What’s to be said about it? Disappointingly warm, not a hint of snow.

The madness of study is at its end. For now. I’ve crossed the finish line, or at least the first checkpoint. Four more to go, but the next leg of the race doesn’t begin for another month.

There’s a kind of shock about the whole thing; a breathless, stunned, surreal haze of triumph and success. Sometimes when you’re pressing on towards something, when the going gets rough and you tuck your head and plow through, you forget there’s a finish line. Mired in the struggle, pressing like mad with one objective you forget there’s reward, that it will pay off and that there’s more to life than just struggle and hardship.

When you finally get there, you feel a sudden and almost unfamiliar relief from the strain and stress. You feel lost and found all at once. You’re relieved, but so accustomed to the routine that you are conditioned to it.

I’ve got to keep my eye on that finish line.

If you lose sight of that, you lose sight of the whole objective. I’ve got to remember hard work pays off. There’s a reason for what I’m doing, and that reward will be worth the struggle to win it.

I’m doing more than overdramatizing a few final examinations, dear. Much of life is a test, and so far I’m still in the running.

And it is good to be done with finals for a month.

Meanwhile, life goes on. I’m visiting a friend tomorrow. I have to, she’s in the hospital. One of my rules is to visit a friend if they’re in the hospital. It doesn’t change anything that I feel towards her (anger, betrayal, desertion, etc.) but it is in obedience to my Lord. I hope it is pleasing to Him for me to obey Him even when I don’t want to.

Many children died today. It was on the news. I’m not a parent, so it doesn’t strike so near a chord in my heart, but as I see others traumatized by the event and responding with visceral emotion, I am reminded again that my shoulders are broad to contend with events like this, and to be strong in tragedy to better support you, or others who are weak.

And tonight as I lay down my head in peace, free of the worry about tomorrow’s demands, my thoughts turn again to you and the things we’ll do together. Last night there was a meteor shower. That, and music and midnight movie premieres and ice skating in the park are all things I want to do with you. Oh, and gift-giving. I’m helping my parents shop for my siblings. I’m rather proud I came up with some grand gift ideas this year. I’d have a gift for you too if you were here. I actually am invited to two whole parties this year. (I’m starting to wonder if they’ve got the right Beren!) It would be such fun to bring you along…

But most of all, after the day is done, after showers and dinner (and desert) I can’t wait to lay on our backs in the dark, forgetting about the world and just talking together.

Love always,

~”I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8;18~

December 15, 2012 Posted by | Anticipation, Loneliness | 2 Comments

Inner Dialogue About a Stranger in a Restaurant

Well, that was a relief. Get that exam done and get my life back for a few weeks. Or was THAT my life and I’m taking a break from it? Doesn’t matter. I owe myself a hot meal for lunch, and the money I just made selling back some textbooks will cover it nicely. But where? Not in the mood for burgers…tough to find parking for anything close by…

Italian it is. The chicken pesto melt sounds good.

“Here they are,” says the cashier. Oh, he’s not talking about my food. I look behind and a small troupe of 12/13-year-olds have come through the door, clearly an expected party. They’re being chaperoned by a redhead. Must be touring the college or something. Cute.

Soda machine is like something out of the future. One spout, and you pick the drink it pours from a digital menu. Sit in the corner and just try to relax. No more studying. I’m free. …. now what?

Mess around on my phone while I still can. Once the food gets here I don’t want to get my screen all greasy.

Hm, that redhead is rather fetching. She’s what, late-20’s? She couldn’t have more than ten or fifteen years on these kids. She’s being nice, but firm and assertive in seating them. They’re awfully well-behaved for a public school pack.

That’s the rot of fancying strangers out in public. There’s not a snowball’s chance they’re waiting, or believers, or anything close to the kind of character you’re looking for. And anyway, what would I do? Casually hand her my e-mail address or ask her for hers — in front of the school kids? Psh.

Still…she’s pretty. What’s a clever way to find out if someone has any semblance of faith?

What is she…oh. Crossing herself and praying a Catholic prayer with the kids. Well, that’s one way.

Now I’m asking myself, do Catholics and Christians have that big a gap in beliefs? Same God, right? Same Savior? I know they fight wars and stuff, but isn’t that in Ireland? Is she just going through the motions, or does she mean it? She’s kind of got that dainty, merry female thing going on. Wonder is she naive or just resilient?

I think she caught me looking. Keep looking long enough for her to know you’re looking, but not so long you look creepy. Look out the window and smile, shyly but knowingly, like you have a secret.

Don’t be on your phone the whole time…you’ll look like a zoned-out nerd.

Let’s analyze. Face is relatively smooth, so not older than 30. Stylish makeup…not a prude. Boots too. Fashionable but modest. Typical by the world’s standards, but a bit daring for a conservative. She might be a natural redhead, her eyebrows seem the same color as the hair. Who cares anyway. She’s on her phone too, but not constantly. She’s turned sideways in her seat all this time, so she’s very attentive to her school kids.

Caught me looking again. So what? Pretty sure she was looking too. She’s not smiling any…or at least, her smile hasn’t changed.

Now I’m actually briefly considering action. I shouldn’t give her my business card. It has nothing to do with my jobs, and the political nature may be a turn-off. Phone numbers are a little personal anymore, and an e-mail is less intrusive. But do I give her mine, or ask for hers? Ask for hers. But then she can refuse, and in front of the kids too. If I give her mine, she’ll never write me.

Stupid social customs. Why can’t I just walk up to her and ask if she’s my future wife?

Oh yeah, she’s definitely looking. She noticed that I noticed. No obvious interest signals back. Probably married, but I don’t see a ring. Probably involved, either now or before.

Oh this is silly. She’s some random teacher in a fast food joint. She’s pretty and she made the sign of the cross. It’s just a gimmick.

Walk past her to get a refill from this 23rd century machine. If she were alone I might have invited her to sit at my table. I’d like to do that with solo strangers all the time, but it always seemed creepy.

Well. No point in it. She’s got her kids to look after, and 99 chances out of a hundred she’s not who I’m looking for. Done with the food. Time to move on.

Maybe it’ll at least make something fun to write about.

December 15, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How Will I Ever Find You?

Dear Darling,

It was raining again tonight. It’s been raining off and on for two days now. I should be studying, but I worked and went to a frivolous little gathering tonight.

I got home, changed, and showered. I should have gone to bed, I should go to bed now. But instead, I went for a walk. Yes, in the rain. It should be snow, but we’ve no such blessing for our winter thus far.

I asked the Lord if He might walk and talk with me for a while. I asked Him how I should ever find you. Almost any of the girls I meet anymore are too small or too crazy.

Pardon me dear, but most of your gender is crazy.

Oh I know, mine isn’t much better. Most of us are pigs, going around playing at love to get sex, exploiting the women who play at sex to get love. But at least we’re not that complicated or difficult to figure out. We’re pretty predictable.

Your gender is beyond complex. You don’t behave rationally. Even Einstein couldn’t figure you out.

Of course I am thinking of specifics. I’m thinking of D, and R, and M, and J and E and A. I’m thinking even of relatives who behave without a shred of rationality, flying off the handle, or shutting down communication for no reason.

I don’t trust women, but more importantly I don’t trust me. They bring out all the uncertainty and angst in me. I’ve yet to meet one that truly brings out my best side…someone I can unleash all these wiles and smiles upon…someone worthy of my letters.

I hang on to them too long. I start to wonder if it was really as bad as I thought. I rationalize. I want to give too soon, open up too soon, learn everything too soon. I’m starting to be wary of my own judgment about them.

To put it simply…women are a weakness. That is why I place that weakness under lock and key, where it cannot be exploited.

Some girls are nice and polite, and obviously a bit interested. But they’re small. They don’t drive, or don’t vote or aren’t interested in nearly the same things I am. They don’t aspire to be anything. They’re the type that lets life grab them by the horns.

Sadly, most Christian women fit this mold, or at least a lot of the ones I meet. The ones that are outgoing and enthusiastic about life, who make something of themselves, who live life and chase dreams — the kind of woman I seek! — are the ones who also let down virtue along with their hair.

Every so often, I find someone who is a little small-minded but maybe interesting enough to compensate, and then I find no chemistry or spark of attraction. I’m frustrated with myself and my emotions because it’d be so easy if they’d just settle and attach already so I can be happy, but I know I can’t settle for anyone less than you.

It’s a good thing we serve a mighty God, because He’s the only one that could put the two of us together.

Love ever,

December 9, 2012 Posted by | Sundry Thoughts | Leave a comment