Letters to Luthien

Letters to My Future Bride

TOGWD: Time Off

Dear Darling,

No matter how wonderful our life will be together, no matter how much we love each other or our children, there comes a time when everyone needs some time away. Life will stack up in all the wrong ways, and you’ll need a break before you break.

I can’t promise I’ll always see those times coming. I can’t promise I won’t have my own frustrations and struggles that blind me to yours. But I can promise that when I do, I’ll intervene on your behalf. I’ll take that screaming baby out of your hands and tell you to go outside and take a break. I’ll see the frantic glaze over your eyes if the house is messy and the kids are arguing and you’re working over a hot stove with hair stringing in your eyes. Though you’ll feel like it’s your fault and your responsibility, I’ll order you to stop and go breathe somewhere. Just breathe. I got this. You’ll come back and (I hope!) the kids will be calmed,the pasta is served and maybe even the dishes washed, depending on how much time you took to breathe. I hope you’ll feel better, and grateful, and I dearly hope I can earn your admiration by having restored order and given you a moment’s peace.

There’ll be days even I’ll get on your nerves. Maybe I’ll be home too much. Maybe I’ll be gone too much. Maybe my political work will get the better of me and I’ll suddenly realize I’ve neglected you for a few days. I’ll call a time-out on work and spend a day with you. We can just have an all-day date together, sleeping in, going to the zoo, going sledding, going to a movie, going to dinner. We can cook together in the kitchen, or grab a picnic basket and head for the hills. We can light some candles, and turn off the lights. We can turn some music, and each other, on as we dance in candlelight.

There’ll be days where life just stacks up for both of us. We both approach the breaking point, and need a retreat. That’s when I’ll suggest we take a weekend trip, or even just an overnight. I’ll find tickets to a show a few hours’ drive away, or a concert. Or we can just throw a tent and some sleeping bags in the truck and rough it. (And when I say rough it…) Maybe we can just overnight to New York City. Or some night when you’re thinking about dinner, I’ll say “you know what I’d like? Dinner at Delmonico’s.” And you’ll laugh and say “yeah, right.” And I’ll say “I’m serious.” “But that’s in New York City!” And I’ll shrug and say so? We’ll go check airline prices, and you’ll laugh incredulously as I tell you go to pack a bag, we’re spending the night in New York. I can be spontaneous that way, and I’m working towards earning enough that it won’t be a wasteful or frivolous use of our resources.

I’m trying to be aware. I’m trying to anticipate, because the experts all say wonderful things, even marriage, can eventually wind up taken for granted. I love you and miss you so much right now it hurts, and it’s hard to imagine that. But I’m trying to think with my head, not my heart. I’m trying to understand that you and I won’t always be on cloud nine of perfection, that sometimes love has to be intentional.

I’m trying to be aware that occasionally, time away from me is one of the best ways to show you I love you. And if in the end I’m big and dumb and clueless, just wave the flag (or smack it across my face) and tell me you need a time out.

Like I said. Sometimes love has to be intentional.


February 2, 2013 Posted by | Things Other Guys Won't Do | Leave a comment


Dear Darling,

What right have I to hurt?

That’s the first question you might ask if you spent a day inside my head. Why is there blood and no wound? Why pain and no injury? I’ve grown up in a good home. I’ve not faced any vast life tragedies or setbacks like so many that I know. I’ve had supportive parents and good family. I’ve been blessed with many opportunities beyond my wildest dreams. I’ve rebounded from some hard times, but not so bad by comparison. So why is there pain?

Why are you running? That’s the second question you might ask. What are you running from…or to?

Because I am. I’m running. There comes a time where you learn to appreciate moments in life where you recognize things about yourself, and that’s one of them. I’ve talked myself into this frenetic life, so much so that I’ve begun to realize I almost don’t have time for you! I keep commitments going. Jobs and volunteering and writing and working out and studying. I play music to drown out my thoughts.

Explaining yourself TO yourself doesn’t seem like it should be a hard task, but sometimes it is the hardest. Sometimes it’s a challenge just to figure out what questions you should ask yourself. I think those two questions were ones rising above the other ones in my mind the last few weeks. Other questions have accompanied, like, who am I? Who am I meant to be? Is it possible to botch God’s will for my life, or is it inexorable? Are I settling for too little? How much longer will I have to wait for you? How will I possibly know it’s you? Could I ever botch that area of God’s will for me? Could I ever forgive a woman who gave herself away to another man first? Should I? Am I at fault for being proud and unforgiving? Why do the sexual sins of others grieve and frustrate me on such a deep level? Do I know how to be happy?

So why do I hurt? It comes from listening to hurts. God gave me broad shoulders and a compassionate heart. It is a gift with which I look forward to serving you. I was meant to rise burdens, and I’m not bad at it. But I’ve spent a lot of time doing it, and sometimes you don’t realize how it’s all stacked up. You go through experiences that weigh you down. Holding patients and their families while they cry, watching someone die, calling up someone just to let them cry to you. I have a good bedside manner. I listen. I help broken hearts. I lift burdens. I talk. I advise. I hurt for them. I wish desperately I could have been there for their plights. People don’t understand why an unbroken man could carry so much hurt, or why. I know what it is to mourn because I have mourned with or about others.

And then there is the hurt that comes from loneliness. The times I find people that remind me so much of you that it hurts. The times of bowing my head, feeling defeated because I feel like the last person to uphold a command, then having trusted friends tell me I’m the problem because I can’t forgive. It comes from feeling the weight of those sins, feeling an eternal loss, grieving something that was never mine, feeling betrayed, feeling envious, feeling alone, longing for the same release. It can be an involuntary pain. Sometimes I have this hero complex when people tell me their sad story of how they came to give themselves away. I wish I’d been there, and think about how it would all be different.

I hurt because I see. I see because I look and ask. But seeing is painful. It’s no gift; I want to see things as they really are, but it’s never positive. What has been learned cannot be unlearned. Sometimes I can’t blame people for preferring ignorance.

All of them, literally only a few exceptions, even the Christian girls, give themselves away. “Get them young,” advised a friend. “Your assumption is that all girls ho it up after a certain age?” I retorted. I can’t be afforded, which is the rationale behind wondering if I should lower myself, seeing no one really up to the task of aspiring to make the same choices. Some say it’s arrogant to look at the world in these terms. Maybe.

There’s the hurt from being hated. The reason people like me is the reason they hate me. I represent something good. I’m “too good.” I’m too strict and should have more grace. True? Perhaps. People don’t want good. Except sometimes, when they’re hurting and want some help.

Is that a reason enough to hurt? Does that even begin to make sense to you, to explain me a little more? You tell me.

What about this running? Well that answer is easy enough. I’m running from the pain. I’m so grateful for groups like Within Temptation and Evanescence that bathe the jagged pain in jagged music, coating the sharp edges so that at least they don’t slice so deeply.

I’m running from loneliness. I’m running from myself, from my own lack of fulfillment without you, from my inadequacies.

I’m running to what I hope is a better future. I’m running to the next stage, even as I know I should take my time in this one. And I’m running to the day when I know we’ll be together and in love.

And as a friend recently told me…everything in life is better with love.

All my love from across this bitterly cold night, to wherever you are.


February 2, 2013 Posted by | Loneliness, Uncategorized | Leave a comment