Letters to Luthien

Letters to My Future Bride

Not Just Anyone

UnknownBrideDear Darling,

“You should be talking to her,” he said. The officer, a friend of mine, who knows my goals and wants me happy. “How old do you think she is?”

I just shake my head.

Tell me, how do you deal with the people who, through no fault of their own, fail to hold your interest? Do you give almost anyone a chance, or are you as discriminating and skeptical as I?

For all their flaws and failings, people do try to be kind when they hear you are single, or newly-single, and will try to set you up with people.

How can you explain what you’re looking for to these people?

Someone at the megachurch tried very hard to set me up with her friend. Someone else has suggested that I date his daughter…or other women in that church. (I haven’t the heart to tell him that anyone satisfied by the superficial placebo sermons presented there is, much to my sadness, almost automatically out of the running.) A production volunteer has prioritized finding and talking to me between services, enough for others to think perhaps we are an item. (I neither encourage nor discourage her, but she knows I am not interested.) Another volunteer outright asked me to coffee.

At the hospital, one or two nurses have told me they want me to meet their daughters…or (between their smoking breaks) make subtle overtures of their own interest. (And in some cases, not so subtly.) And another acquaintance has suggested a girl I should meet.

Darling don’t think I tell you these things to brag or make you jealous. You know you have nothing to worry about, and I know that a woman as fair and kind as you must also be solicited frequently. How do you turn them down gently? I, who would not do injury to another’s heart for worlds, find myself in positions where I must decline with tact and gentleness. It’s kindly meant, but how can you explain the sum total of my philosophy on dating to such as these? How would you summarize the thoughts of these letters into a few fleeting sentences? I know many of these people sufficient to know they lack the qualities I look for in you, and I am skeptical of any other offers of strangers who might fit the bill. I know the impossible odds I face; a random stranger who goes to church and likes guns isn’t nearly a good enough reason to suppose there is great hopes for a marriage. And it’s not like I can ask random women for phone numbers based solely on looks like the rest of the world. In fact, I can’t think of the last time I met a devout servant of Christ where I work. Why pursue a woman and waste her time if you don’t see a marriage in your future? I’ve felt that connection before…those growing hopes that won’t be denied, no matter how viciously your cynicism wants them gone.

How do you tell the people that ask what you’re looking for? How can I explain that I’m looking for a lady rather than a girl? Someone of unimpeachable character, a fist of iron in a glove of velvet, a lady of exceeding purity and depth and faithfulness, a sanctified daughter of the King whose foremost goal is to shine for Him and to set other souls ablaze? Someone who abhors vice, of enduring strength and beauty and grace, who has weathered the storms long enough to recognize the fatigue of battle in another’s eyes, yet not so beat-down that she can’t kiss away those sorrows, or have her burdens lightened and joys multiplied in return?

You know I no longer desire furtherance of the dialogue on purity with my coworkers. I won’t shy away, but people always get quiet and, I think, guilty when I say I’ve upheld that standard and seek its equal in another. What if someone made a mistake, they ask. They think it sounds too harsh to say a woman may do as she pleases, but must accept the consequences of her decisions, since I want someone who values what is sacred, who is strong enough to keep those unspoken vows and has honored the marriage bed. But of course, it’s more than that. How do you explain shyness and boldness wrapped into one? How do you explain that you seek an enchantress who can bewitch with innocence? And how to contend with the many aspiring women who long for their own Beren, but without having to put forth the effort of becoming Luthien?

I need a caretaker for my heart, who will take it in hand and examine it for meaning, combing out the prickles, stings and scars from the day…refreshing it with compassion and grooming it to be loved. I need someone who asks but doesn’t question. Who shares its joys and smiles away its sadness. Who cleanses it with compassion, forgiveness, acceptance and unconditional love.

I love old people, and if ever I discuss the challenge of finding a good-hearted, God-fearing woman that walks the earth in these latter days, they often nod with grave sympathy and understanding in their eyes. They have watched the decline for decades longer than I, enough to know how bad it’s gotten. They know. And they feel bad for me.

You know now that there is nothing I ask that I haven’t already undertaken in myself. When you have my heart, all will be well and whole, and complete. We’ll never have to worry if it was a mistake, because I promise I’ll never marry if I lent any authority to such doubts. And truly, once you wear my ring, you will hold a foresworn promise of devotion and service, no matter what the cost. And all my hopes and purposes and dreams will lie with that ring, and its bearer. All that I have will become yours, not the least of which my heart. I won’t want anyone else. I’ll remind you I love you.

Sometimes, I imagine you already know who I am, and are just waiting for me to find you. Do you know, with a word, you could turn my world around? Sometimes I imagine a day when, if you were to find me, you come right up to me and say “Are you Beren?” or “I’m Luthien” and watch my entire world shift. Everything else would fade away except you, you would draw in all my attention and, as if on cue, I would probably say “What did you say?” Then we would find somewhere private and quiet to talk. All a fantasy of course, but don’t tell me you haven’t imagined your groom, in all his invisible armor and raiment, emerging from the crowd to take your hand and take your breath away?

If I could, I would find you now and set your world to spinning properly. If I could, I would enter your dreams this very night if that would sweeten them. I would find a New Years ball and take you dancing if I could. I would do anything to lighten your load and end your year on a high note. As it is, I can only bottle up these letters from the prison of your absence and hope they wing their way to your heart.

Love always,
Beren

December 29, 2013 Posted by | Holidays, Loneliness, Uncategorized, Wonderfully You | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Empty Hours

Dear Darling,

We’ve reached that time of night once again where I’m at a loss to fill the blank spaces between dinner and sleep. There’s a cold rain falling again, and it’s hard to believe there isn’t but 48 hours left in this year.

There’s never really anyone around this time of night to talk to. That’s probably a good thing. There aren’t that many people that should see me like this, or know who I really am underneath. Every man needs to keep up that barrier and illusion to preserve his dignity and pride. You’ve read far too many of my laments and elegies for me to attempt concealing them now. I’m sorry they’ve multiplied so much in your absence. Maybe the best thing will be to burn them some day, a testament to the end of the solitude. I hope you will remember that you’re reading only the rawest and most intimate of my thoughts here, in the gloomy and bleak recesses of my mind.

Do you miss Christmas yet? I do. The season lingers, like the wake of a train already departed, but the day itself is gone. The candy and candles went on sale, the music ended at the stroke of midnight, the cards are being swapped out, Christmas for Valentine’s Day. (Because Valentine’s Day is so much better.)

But the truth is, I missed Christmas even when it was here. When I was little, there wasn’t much to do but hang out and wait for Christmas to come, pass the time with games and videos and play. The boxes under the tree were well-shaken and well-known before they were ever opened. The last few years, the presents never felt my grasp until Christmas morning, and I was equally excited to give gifts as to receive them. Christmas for me has become like everything else, always been something missing, a song just out of sight, just beyond the horizon. Maybe I won’t find what I truly seek until heaven.

Sometimes, it seems to me that we sometimes get so wrapped up in the art and motions of an activity that we forget to enjoy them. Or is that just me? And is a moment as special or memorable if you’ve whipped out your phone to take subpar photos — along with everyone else? We put all our Kodak moments into the actual Kodak, thinking we’ve preserved them, when really we’ve left precious little to store in our own memories.

But it fades, like everything else. Christmas fades into the distance, and after celebrating the new year, we plunge back into the meager months. The empty months. Oh, I’ll find a way to fill them, never you fear. But each day will be a little bit emptier without you. Just like tonight. I walked out of church (feeling more than my usual share of disgust for the cheapening of the gospel) and find I’m staring down another empty evening. As much as going nonstop can fatigue me sometimes, it worsens every blank and silent evening.

It’d be nice to have a listening ear. Someone who specifically invades and intrudes to see how I’m doing, see what I need. Like the girl who once, in a conversation, abruptly asked “how’s your heart?” Always seems like it’s me shooting off texts or messages to see how people are doing. And it always seems like I keep running into people who disagree with me on such fundamental levels. They’re okay with it, while I am ever the advocate, becoming frustrated when I deconstruct the logic and philosophy of a belief, only to have it clung to in spite of the truth rather than because of it. Wouldn’t it just be nice to have someone who, on the important parts, agrees with me and sets my heart at ease that I’m not alone in the universe?

Well well, forgive another blue note in this ongoing symphony of letters, my dear. I’ll keep playing the Christmas music for a little while yet. After all, in ancient tradition, there were twelve days of Christmas. We’ve barely begun the fourth.

I hope you are well on this night, and preparing to celebrate the last Lord’s day of the year. May God go with you and grant you peace and illumination this night.

Yours,
Beren

December 29, 2013 Posted by | Holidays, Loneliness, Nights Like These | , , , , | Leave a comment