Letters to Luthien

Letters to My Future Bride

Grief Unbidden

There are some nights, moonless and shrouded, when the darkness reaches in for an embrace. There are some nights when the devil’s snares are laid bare and you tremble, even atop heaven’s gate, for those caught by them. There are some nights where one feeling feeds into another like a caustic mixture, boiling over into words that race breathlessly through the mind, compelling you to rush through a shower just to get to your keyboard and give them their head.

She was nothing more than a business colleague. Not even a business, just a nonprofit. Someone two thousand miles away who began working with me over the phone as a liaison to a large entity in her state. The topics slowly expanded to cover more than just our mutual business. She was hardly unattractive, yet she was professional, mature, competent and ambitious. She even texted at random intervals merely to ask how I was doing or follow up on situations of a harmless, personal nature every now and again.

If a woman’s body irresistibly draws man, a woman who randomly and sincerely inquires after my well-being or remembers to follow up with me about something which should be of no consequence to her irresistibly draws me. Or at least, draws my attention.

And whether out of desperation or simply recognizing the same listener’s ear so many others have complimented me on, she opened up at times about uncertainties in her life. Pains, disputes, challenges, even complications with her boyfriend.

He seemed unhelpful to her in her hour(s) of need, but I was engaged in conversations with someone else and had no real motivation, opportunity, means or desire to truly pursue this girl. So I listened. I offered thoughts. I defended the boyfriend on some occasions, but was also very pointed in noting his flaws, whether they were chronic, and what they would mean for their relationship long-term.

She shared his shortcomings and her frustration about them again. I inquired why she remained involved. I asked the question I shouldn’t have asked, the question I always, always regret asking and yet the lay-counselor side of me needs to know, the lonely virgin longs to know, and the small percentage of prurient curiosity itches to know. Was she sleeping with him? To learn what a man truly is, encounter him when he has nothing to gain, I advised.

Though her story was sad, the ultimate answer was yes.

My heart sank.

In the movies when beloved characters die, the main character(s) always scream “NOOO!” as if their verbal denial could undo the indelible passing of time. It’s called denial, one of the well-known stages of grief. The others are anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

I still don’t know why I take these things personally. A close friend of mine I tried to counsel, strengthen, encourage, also confided she had surrendered her virginity. I withdrew from the online world for several days. Somehow, it always strikes a resonating chord of deep, deep sadness in me whenever someone admits this. It’s even harder when I think it’s someone I would like to know better.

The lay counselor is saddened. He knows this makes things far more complicated, introducing baggage, bonding, and the possibility for pregnancy and disease. He also mourns the loss of innocence, another priceless gift surrendered with regret.

The lonely virgin just needs to know there are others out there, Vow-keepers, beacons of strength, even if unseen. He needs to know he’s not alone. He needs to know he’s not the last bastion of morality and discipline…that his wait isn’t in vain, that someone of surpassing worth will one day look at him with proud, shining eyes and tearfully thank him for the long and weary years of battle against the indwelling desire to surrender. And more than that, he needs to know there are others, with heads held high, standing tall, sharing the struggle and remaining undefeated. He needs to know, like Frodo, that “as long as the Shire lies behind, safe and comfortable, I shall find wandering more bearable: I shall know that somewhere there is a firm foothold, even if my feet cannot stand there again.”

And the pruriently curious one, well, he just feels jealous and left out, wondering when it’s going to be his turn, angrily contending with the fierce and volatile appetite to which he is chained.

So all three, residing in this same man, experience the grieving process. He is in denial, literally shaking, filled with grief over something which is simplest and commonest and yet most profound and bitter. There are no U-turns on that path. One “first” is all any of us are given, throughout all eternity. It can’t be undone. The seal is broken. The fruit is bitten.

He is angry. How could she be so weak? Why must she continue to be appealing otherwise, who has now so quickly and predictably removed herself from the book of possibilities?

There is no bargaining. There may be some depression and acceptance, but the stages of grief aren’t linear. You can’t peg down human emotions into a solid timeline. You can traverse them all in an hour, a day and a year. They are cyclical; they chase each other.

Why? Why mourn a stranger’s choices? Just because they preclude your own? Because they make the flesh envious? Because someone is out there, otherwise a decent and kind person, “getting some” and you aren’t?

I can’t answer those questions. But I do grieve. I grieve for each person who has chosen to leave the path of wisdom, even those claiming they didn’t know better. And there have been so many! Each of them left me a little bit lonelier. Each of them leaves me a little more sad about the world. Each of them makes the quiet side of my heart ruefully wonder if I will either have to join these vow-breakers, or be the only one to arrive to the honeymoon bed with my gift intact.

Choose your actions well, friends. All of you. No soul ever truly knows the impact they will have on the choices, thoughts or peace of another.

January 27, 2013 - Posted by | Loneliness, Purity


  1. I’ve been led to leave you an encouraging–hopefully, that’s the way it’s intended–note regarding this last post.
    I have been following you for quite some time, and like many others, you have inspired me to become the wife my FH will need. I just want to let you know, that you are not alone. I don’t imagine you giving up anytime soon, but I’ll say it anyway. Don’t give up. Your wife is out there, waiting for you, waiting for God to reveal her to you.
    I pray that you know her when you see her.
    The wondering if she exists is tough enough, but to not be sure if you’ll recognize her can be plain scary.
    I, like many others who read this letters, commend you for your respect for God, yourself, the women of this world, and your wife.
    I read somewhere that if every female became a lady and demanded such respect then the world would change overnight. But if the men were the ones who changed, people would just laugh. That rings true to me, because as a lady, I’m not pressured into anything. Nor am I ridiculed or mocked. Mostly because I don’t put up with it, but a lot of it has to deal with the fact I’m female. I think, females are respected in their virginity whereas men are not taken seriously. I can only imagine how tough it must be to be a man, saving himself for his wife. I’ve certainly never met one in person. Like so many people have told you before, “it’s refreshing” but to me it’s not surprising. I knew there were such men out there in this messed up world of boys. I’m honored to say that I now “know” one.
    So this is a thank you. From me, from your future wife, from every other lady in the world praying for men like you.
    And this is also to be encouragement. To let you know that she is out there. Somewhere. And now, I think you’re doing the right thing in preparing yourself for her. I am doing the same until mine shows up. And I have faith that yours will show up as will mine. God is a marvelous God and He knows how much you need to love and be loved. I pray that you take comfort in having your future written by a perfect God. That your wife is probably as patient and as restless as you are.

    Looking back, this is all a bit too untoward because I feel like I know you, but you don’t know me at all. But as I said earlier, I couldn’t let this post escape from my mind or my prayers without having told you all this.

    I hope that your semester has taken off nicely and that you’re enjoying these unseasonably warm winter days in TN (assuming that’s where you are).
    So this is me saying hello and don’t lose hope.

    Vaya con Dios,


    Comment by 1920sass | January 28, 2013 | Reply

    • The beauty of the internet is empowering someone to put themselves totally out there to perfect strangers, whether through letters, or responses to them. I don’t perceive your comments as untoward, it is comments like these that make it worthwhile, glimmers of hope that these letters are more than mere catharsis for a sighing soul waiting on love. They are rare and significant, and I thank you for contributing. I welcome any and all comments in the future as well, and thanks for taking the time to write.

      Comment by BerenEstel | February 2, 2013 | Reply

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