Letters to Luthien

Letters to My Future Bride

Would Have, Could Have, Should Have

RainyLight “There are waves of forgiveness
And waves of regret
And the first waves of true love, I’ve never felt yet
In the meadow that morning as I wandered alone
There were green waves of yearning for life still unknown.”

Secret Garden

Dear Darling,

It’s quiet here at work. Finally. They’d get after me for even admitting it…hospital workers can be superstitious sometimes. I’ve no doubt I won’t be able to finish this before the shift is over, but my brain is brimming with too many ideas not to write. They’ll spill out onto the floor, where people can see and point and laugh. Best to sweep them into some private vessel and wait until later to collate them.

I’m mulling over this idea of “would have, could have, should have.” What I constantly feel my life should be, versus what it is. Most people have their career off and running by now. If life is a game of pinball, I climbed back on the launching pad and am patiently (or, attempting to) awaiting the slow descent so that my spring-loaded launch can be a little more direct and far-reaching the second time. And again, there’s plenty of accomplishments that people twice my age would envy. That’s the challenge of comparing yourself to others, isn’t it. Some people make you feel good about yourself, and some people really show you up.

What about love? At times I hold my head high because I’ve never made a mistake in love to speak of. That’s easy enough, because I’ve never BEEN in love. But then I observe the vast and impossible likelihood of finding anyone else of such a stature. And that maybe I’ve got the wrong idea about what “stature” is composed of. In one sense, I know I can never find you fully unscathed from love. You may have given it before, been hurt by it. But I’m so foolishly jealous. I wanted to be your first love. If love was so unattainable for me, I suppose I’m just foolish enough to hope for the same. I wanted to be yours only and always, because that’s how I’ve always thought of you.

Did I miss out? Should I have waded into love earlier, been a little more carefree, thought a little less? Isn’t that what everyone else does? Don’t I want to avoid that because…well, because that’s what everyone else does?

Would things have been different if the gates of my heart weren’t so solidly sealed shut, awaiting the spell to break them…a spell I’m perhaps deluded into thinking you will know? Should I have given my heart more freely and lovingly, even to the point of breaking? In discussions, I see women who state they could forgive a man who had erred with his whole body, and with that of another woman. Sometimes even this, their own personal sentiments of grace, angers me. Why should I labor to restrain myself, to wait, to shun sin and banish even the wicked thoughts of sin, pleading for forgiveness and deliverance from its contemplation, when it doesn’t matter?

Maybe I don’t want to need forgiveness. Maybe I want to need as little of it as possible. Maybe there’s enough of the Pharisee in me as to try to earn salvation, even a penny’s worth. Or maybe it’s just that I’m striving to please God. The “once and always” question of my life will always be: “Is God happy with me?”

I have high expectations. Of myself as much as anyone. I put pressure on myself to get things right, to help others get things right, not to fail. I hold others to those expectations, justifying it because I allow others only as much grace as I need.

It’s an extreme dissonance; on the one side, I’m told “be zealous, do not give in to sin, take even the thoughts captive, for even alone they are offensive to God.” On the other side, “keep your zeal to yourself! Do not be so harsh or unforgiving to others. Be gracious and forgive all.” I’m asked to be harsh only with myself, asked to deny only myself, and grant pardon en masse to anyone who cannot match. All while it’s supposed to be more difficult for me. No one actually expects a man to wait anymore. I’m viewed as less of a one simply because I love only one woman enough to wait for her! Added to that, the fact that so far as I know, my desire burns hotter than many, a fierce drive perhaps greater than most men. A fire withheld whose flames burn hotter.

Where are you now, right this very moment, at 5 in the morning as the dark of night still reigns, as the sick lay in their beds while I attend them? No doubt your head is on your pillow, breathing rhythmically and deeply, lost in a dream world. (I paused just now to pray that the Lord would grant you the pleasantest of dreams.) I would give worlds to gaze into your face for ten seconds. I would memorize every feature possible; I would be thoughtful about what you were doing, inspired and thrilled and heartbroken all at once.

But as I gaze out my window tonight, the same window you see above, dark and speckled with rain, drowsy and preparing for bed, I start to think maybe it will be okay after all. Maybe it won’t be a spell. Maybe you’ll walk past in a posture humble and bold, as one who belongs, and the gates, so startled and taken back by your confidence, admit you before they come to their senses. Maybe love won’t be nearly as complicated as our society and our drama contrive.

Maybe love isn’t borne on the backs of lions or eagles or doves. Maybe it just comes, gently and properly in soft conversation while sitting on the back of a truck watching fireworks. Maybe it whispers rather than shouts, yet bears a quiet authority sufficient to silence all this angst and pondering.

Maybe it really will just feel right. Maybe that’s what I’m afraid of.

Yours always,

July 5, 2013 - Posted by | Holidays, Nights Like These

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