Letters to Luthien

Letters to My Future Bride

Day by Day

Dear Darling,

Tired again! It shouldn’t be news anymore, but tonight seems to be the slumped, aching variety; a contest between my desire to write and my desire to let sleep take me. There’s a cold wind is pounding the house tonight, and it promises to bring snow by daybreak. Of late, we have been enduring colder air even than the wild and frozen lands to the north. A snow-covered city upon awakening will not be unwelcome.

It’s been a good week though, it really has. My studies this year take me to the nurseries of newborns and the bedsides of ailing children, I like those I’m working with and studying under, and my schedule also allows for work and exercise during the week. (I did all three yesterday.)

Alegfast received word today, his sister is with child again. As I listened to him receive the news, I leaned against the counter and tried to imagine what that would be like, my beloved bride with shining eyes and the blush of a hidden secret. I think I’ll stop trying; I’m sure no amount of imagining comes close.

After a movie with Alegfast and two of his friends, we retired to Loswen’s home, where I listened with some interest as they all discussed the comings and goings of their lives…shopping and music and movies. For the most part, I just listened. These aren’t the trappings and adornments of my life. They are teachers and artists, and people who don’t save lives are hard-pressed to connect with someone that does.

I suppose it helps reinforce my gradually increasing preference to be silent. After some time, I made my excuses and left.

Do I want to be known and be someone in which interest is taken? Naturally. It’s one of life’s naturally pleasing experiences. But I want to be known by someone who wants to know me, want to share the day’s ups and downs. Until someone genuinely wants to know me, I don’t generally share too much. And it just seems no good sharing a lot with the Lord…He already knows it, and it always makes me wonder what dark side of my heart He already sees to taint what I confide and confess. I’d rather be the stoic and mysterious person, even if it is a bit of an act. We were all created to know and be known.

Some other thoughts for the evening:

1) To most people, others are responsible for your successes, while only you are responsible for your failures.

2) While caring for a great hound this week, I patted the old girl on the head and remarked that being so large was hard because it was hard to be touched everywhere at once. Then I realized that this was true of big hearts as well. A large heart will break and fatigue more easily, and requires a special person to touch it correctly.

3) The trouble with being an idealist is that you’re never satisfied. Worse, you never know compromise is being accepting that life doesn’t always look like your dreams, or settling for less. To hear some people talk, giving up on dreams is part of life, and most assuredly it is. But it’s hard to know when and where.

4) I’d like to find the kind of woman who lives outside of her own head most of the time, unselfishly, at least until she’s alone. And then, she goes deep. I think I shall know you by your compassion and selflessness, which even you can’t conceal.

5) As a rule, good things happen slowly and bad things happen quickly. But I think once we find each other, and have spent the requisite time to verify our faith and goals together, it will become so apparent all too quickly, and just like that, the loneliness will end.

6) The past and its memories, being unchangeable product of time’s passing, confines us always and only to what was.

7) It’s one of my last nights in this house. Soon, it will be time to be moving on.

8) It’s not always easy to love me, my dear. But it’s always worth it.

Love,
Beren

January 25, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Monday Morning

Good morning again, Darling.

Another sapphire dawn is breaking. I hope your sweet and gentle head — the one I will one day cradle and cuddle and kiss — is still slumbering in sweet repose on a warm pillow somewhere.

When I wrote you yesterday, it was on about three hours’ sleep, remember? I’ve slept approximately one hour since then. I don’t say this so much to extol my own supposed resilience to sleepless toil, but rather as a shameless ploy for sympathy.

They canceled my night hours on Sunday evenings, leaving them free for the foreseeable future. In theory, this left time for more study, but ’twas not to be. I took a brief nap and cooked dinner. I watched another movie, and then dealt with the moody silence.

Working through all this uncertainty is a daily process, and last night it weighed heavily. More friends in whom I invest time and compassion and care fail to repay any of it, and it always resurrects that question of why I try. Repayment is not the goal, but if no one is ever there for you in a meaningful and compassionate way, it prompts withdrawal.

I suppose I’m not fair to people. I always turn the focus of a conversation back to them, even if they’ve asked about me, to see if they actually want to know or if they’re just being nice. It’s a test, and probably an unfair one, but I’m not going to waste my time on people who don’t actually want to know. People want to be heard and want to talk about themselves. They don’t want to hear how I’ve run races or visited islands or published articles or been in the papers. They aren’t interested in the life I’ve lived or the lives I’ve saved, not really. So when I turn it back on them, that’s what they want, and they’re off and away again about themselves and their opinions, leaving me vindicated that the question wasn’t terribly sincere and a waste of time was averted.

I know if I had a friend who was facing what I’m up against, I’d be more diligent about checking in with them, emphatic that no one should face all that alone, and no one would be okay through all of that. Loswen was having just such difficulties this week. Actually she was having near-panic attacks from a sinus infection and side effects of its cure, but she questioned me on the medication and condition, and I was able to talk her through. I bought her ice cream, offered my advice, checked in by text several times and made sure she was invited out on the nights when she was clearly struggling and would feel better if not alone.

It’s unfathomable that I’m the only one that feels that kind of concern about people, the kind that pushes past even peoples’ own filters: “No, you really aren’t okay, now what’s wrong.” I make no pretense of complete and abject selflessness. That may not be who I am, but it’s who I aspire to be. And that’s what I have to find in you if it’s going to work. I told you before, I need to be taken care of. I need my needs intentionally identified and prioritized, my filters pushed out of the way. Someone to, if not scale the walls then at least see through gaps in the them. To offer the right word at the right time, or at least in the right spirit, to fill that small empty space in my heart. Like finding just the morsel of food that you wanted, the one that satisfied but didn’t know you wanted and couldn’t have named if you’d been asked.

Last night I laid on the couch in the dark (I’m told this couch once belonged to the Lady Kirche) and talked to God about these problems. While taking the garbage out, I opted for a windy walk around the block to take in some winter moonlight. It was no good; I saw that the only way I could take my mind off these things was to put my mind on the problems of others. I phoned work at 1am and they found a spot for me.

To be fair, Alegfast did notice these things and asked if I was alright. It’s not often I spontaneously elect to work in the middle of the night.

Work was calm. The stove burner burst into small flames while frying eggs this morning. Good thing you weren’t here to smell the smoke, but it was certainly nothing alarming.

By now you may be waking. You awake to a day already prepared for you by the Lord, to walk a path for which prayers have already been offered. There is, of course, nothing else I can offer to do for you, no other way to care for you, but one day it will be both my job and my privilege, rather than just offering prayers and melancholy letters through yawns and smoke and sunlight.

I hope your day is amazing.

Love,
Beren

January 20, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

The Days to Come

Good morning, my dear.

It’s a new Lord’s Day and the skies are turning from black to grey. I think it’s to be a cloudy day, and chilly as anyone would expect in January. Expecting I would work last night, I slept rather late yesterday, only to decide not to work. (Other than the church of course.) So it was a late night. I came home and found Alegfast gone, so I made dinner, did some study and then watched half a movie in bed. (Not a terribly common occurrence, but it will be much more fun with you there in the days to come.)

I woke up quite early, two hours before daybreak, my body having had its quota of sleep already. Realizing I’d never get back to sleep, I watched the rest of the movie. It was achingly beautiful in places, sullied with a rating which I seldom entertain, but only slightly suggestive, and with profanity. It really made me contemplate the concept of living each day as if it were my last.

Rising, washing and dressing, I went to the nearby market for study cards and morning juice. An unsympathetic carnival of red and pink balloons, cards and candies danced above the aisles. Oh well. Someday, in the days to come.

I fry some fresh eggs (we’re looking after some chickens) and sit down to write you while I eat.

I rather wish more mornings were like this. I know I’ll feel the effects of less sleep later in the day, but for now it’s peaceful and unrushed. I can also relax and nap when I get back.

I think about the days, our Sundays yet to come. What sort of plans and hopes do you have for such weekends? Something entirely new and fun that I’ve never thought of? Or just those happy drives home, the kind of afternoons where everything is perfect and you wouldn’t change a thing if you tried.

I know we’re both ready for those days to begin. I’m sure there’s things about both our lives we’d like to change right now. I think we’re buying the moments we wouldn’t change for the world with all the moments we would.

I’ll come as soon as I can. I want you and need you, and every moment is only half without you in it. And maybe someday, somehow, when you’re with me and I’m with you, everything will be alright. Even when it isn’t.

But for now, there’s bills to pay and jobs to work, and books to study. It’s all just the slow passage of time, and us spending it as wisely as we can in preparation for the days to come.

Love,
Beren

January 19, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

When You Are Old

When You Are Old11. Baur, J.M. -  A Loving Couple
William Butler Yeats


When you are old and gray and full of sleep
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true;
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face.

January 15, 2014 Posted by | Loneliness, Poems | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Meetings and Partings

Dear Darling,

Is it just me, or are older single people sometimes made to feel ashamed, somehow a failure for not being in a relationship? Surely you’ve sighed and wondered what’s wrong with you, not to have met someone that’s felt like the real thing, the torch that finally stays lit? Ah, but maybe that’s just me. Maybe I’ve got a few years on you yet, years that haven’t stretched on for you as much as me. But yeah, sometimes I feel that way. Like I’ve said, I watch these people all file in on Sunday mornings, attractive couples, all bedecked with smiles and fine clothes, younger than me, many of them. And you just start to wonder, what have those people have that I don’t? We can’t look at it like that, but I know the temptation is there.

I’ve lost count of the people there who desire my better acquaintance. Probably a half-dozen. Nice young ladies, of course, but it’s hard to explain exactly what kind of person will fit the bill, or why — through no fault of their own — they don’t. I suppose I don’t entirely know myself.

It’s the unknowing that gets you. Not knowing when, or where, or how. Not even knowing how you feel sometimes. With classes starting, changing apartments, church services changing, the family upheaval, there’s a lot of change on the wind, and sometimes it takes longer to process.

If you asked me right now what I’m feeling, I could honestly say I don’t know. Sometimes like I’m in God’s purpose, but yet there’s still something missing. Feeling behind, ahead and right on schedule. Like everything is up in the air and changing, and yet, I want something new. Like I’m living the most amazing, blessed and enviable life, and yet, an unfortunate one at the same time.

That’s part of the reason why I won’t always tell you what I need. Not always, anyway, not unless you ask. Sometimes I just won’t know. It’s not fair to you, and I don’t intend to leave you guessing. But unless with you, I’m not usually the sort to sigh and say “you know what, I think I just need a hug.” It may be true more often than not, but I don’t ask. I don’t feel entitled to put myself first.

Alegfast asked tonight if I’d like to join them in the hot tub. It’s a small tub, and barely room enough for him and his friend — the woman he spends all his time with but won’t date. I think he knew I would decline. Why wouldn’t I? I don’t fault them, or anyone at all, for hot tubs or massages as some of them do. But I don’t think that way. I don’t think of ways to treat myself, or to relax myself. I don’t live for myself, not normally. I live for others. That’s why I feel stale when I’m not working, even after working long hours. I think that’s also why I write, even when I have little to say. If I’m not serving a purpose, I don’t feel worth much. I don’t think it’s always a good thing.

On the subject of being purposeless, I’m still having internal conflicts with the family. I’m standing up for what I know is right, and it’s not setting well at all. I sought counsel on the matter, and among other things, was asked what my father and mother, but especially my mother, have to live for if not their children. What would they do when they all left? The question nearly stunned me. My mother has spent every ounce of her energy fostering family, education and household. I’m not sure that she has much after that. I’m actually disturbed to realize my parents may have spent so much time orbiting around their children that they forgot how to be a husband and wife, or that they could find new identity as “just” a couple. At least until the grandchildren come along. (That’s up to us you know, at least for now.) I’m told strife is still rampant and the discord runs deep. (Pray.)

I have been of a fairly strong conviction that a wife’s optimal role was that of Proverbs 31, to manage a household. I have never been of the persuasion that “a woman’s place is in the home” or that women cannot work. Rather, I have held the conviction that children are not to be birthed only to be bequeathed first to childcare and then to the state to educate and safeguard. These roles are given by God to us as parents, and that a mother and wife is most often best suited to care and manage and instruct, supporting her husband as he supports her, while the father is to bear the curse pronounced in Genesis 3, by the sweat of the brow will we earn our daily bread.

This concept, that of robbing a mother of purpose or identity outside of her children, suddenly became clear to me when I saw my mother — and how she might see herself — and all of her labors imperiled if she thought her children had not become as she believed they ought. Maybe my parents haven’t been diligent to pursue an identity and a life of their own beyond the household, but it was the first time a compelling argument has entered my mind against mothers primarily as caregivers.

We shall have to discuss that one more in person.

There are some houses about which still have their Christmas lights up. I’m always grateful for these people. The world needs the cheer of Christmas kept burning into the cold January nights.

Some friends and I played some games into the night, and it turned into men versus women. In a bid to distract the men (and in vengeance for the lads’ own ploy) the women began discussing hygiene, cycles and cramps. It resulted in a victory for the women, and turnabout was fair play for the men that started it. But I rather think, at least in public settings, some things are best left unsaid, don’t you?

Ah my dear, I’m sorry again that I’m not there for you. Life is long and love is hard, and I know your hardships are harder to bear in my absence. Missing me is just another part of loving me. My prolonged absence is what will make the payoff all worthwhile. Every day I’m not with you whets our appetites for our union and lives together.

And one day, it will happen. One fine day you’re going to turn around and out of the blue, I’ll be there. Unexpected but right on schedule. Someday not too distant, I’ll take you by surprise, and, if I can, I’ll leave you speechless with a very forward but casual invitation to see you again. If we’re lucky, maybe we’ll have a race between the butterflies in your stomach and the ones in mine.

God bless and keep you my darling, and may he guard you in his care until such time as he delegates the task to your one and only Beren.

Love,
Me

January 13, 2014 Posted by | Anticipation, Loneliness | , , , , | Leave a comment

She’s Somewhere

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Song
Richard Le Gallienne

She’s somewhere in the sunlight strong,
Her tears are in the falling rain,
She calls me in the wind’s soft song,
And with the flowers she comes again.

Yon bird is but her messenger,
The moon is but her silver car;
Yea! sun and moon are sent by her,
And every wistful waiting star.

January 13, 2014 Posted by | Poems | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where My Letters Go

the-love-letter-painting

Where My Books Go
William Butler Yeats

 

All the words that I utter,
And all the words that I write,
Must spread out their wings untiring,
And never rest in their flight,
Till they come where your sad, sad heart is,
And sing to you in the night,
Beyond where the waters are moving,
Storm-darken’d or starry bright.

January 12, 2014 Posted by | Loneliness, Poems | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Silence of Rain

My dear,

Every so often, I write in bed. That’s where I am now. I’ve told you before, but this bed was built for two, so it is at times a lonely reminder of your absence. It’s raining outside again. It snowed last night, where you could have found me in the Houses of Healing. I received a glad welcome from my friends the healers which was so warm as to be flattering. Their jobs are hard, and they know I will work hard alongside them.

Before I set about my labors, I actually visited the pool again. It’s been some weeks, but three and a half furlongs swam before I returned to work is nothing to be ashamed of. I certainly commend the benefits of exercise to you if you don’t already, my dear. You’ll have to get used to it at least a little if time together and activities shared are important to you.

I slept much of the day and then stood watch at the megachurch before spending time with some friends. And now as the hours of the third watch dwindle, I’m thinking back over the last seven days. It’s my last full week before my studies resume, and I’ve docked another sixty hours at least. And yet, here I lay, feeling disused and idle.

Such gentle and welcome music the rain on the window pane makes.

None noticed, but I was extra quiet tonight. They accept me, but they are much better friends with each other, and in wandering among their shared memories, sometimes neglect those who don’t share them. I didn’t entirely mind. Even as someone who has studied oration and who feels most alive when earnestly imploring on behalf of the truth, I find myself trying to listen more and talk less of late. The inner voice bids me constantly, “speak not of yourself, nor laud yourself or your skill to others. Listen and do not speak.” Sometimes truth is a burden too immense not to share. Sometimes, we cannot stay silent, and sometimes others need to stay silent. But sometimes, I think the greatest way to show love and kindness is to listen and understand.

It allowed my thoughts to wander…or to disengage entirely. (Yes my dear, although you may not think it possible, and although such times aren’t common for me, it is possible for the human male not to be thinking about anything.) Most of my stories come from the Houses, where the ailing dwell, where wounds are ugly and death lingers. These aren’t the tales to be told casually nor lightly, and always make the subjects of other conversation seem so trivial, yet this has been the sum of my week. Stories too great to hide, and too heavy to share.

They have such idle time to spend, these friends. They debated which show to watch, and their knowledge of so many different shows, even those known for their licentiousness, surprises me. See how the people of my country spend their time! Engrossed in sport and story, forgetting great deeds and darker days, heedless that the need for both may come sooner than they think. I asserted a calm reminder that I would not watch anything rated R. It worked out fine.

And ultimately, I know this isn’t where I want to be anyway. I’d rather be at your side, trying to find something to watch with you. Or maybe just spending time in your arms, with the lights off, listening to the rain and talking. I have two tickets to the theater we could have used.

Truth be told, I miss the time I spent with the Lady Kirche. It was the only flame thus far kindled in my heart so perhaps it’s understandable. But there were happy times there, and I miss them.

I worked alongside a lad yesterday whose intent is to be a doctor. There is no question he is a smart man, and will likely do something to remind you of it if you doubt. He works well enough, but knowledge puffs up and turns men to arrogance, and I see that in him. I see that it was at times a silent contest of wills. I want knowledge, but not pride, nor to mingle with those whose knowledge made them proud. Maybe that’s why I fall silent…to keep from being the proud one.

I…I…I! It seems l aways talking about myself, and I don’t like it. I’m sorry my dear. One pair of eyes only do I have through which to view this grim, grand old world, and only one mind through which to churn the thoughts they produce.

Sometimes, I’ll go back through the messages yet to be sent and try to remove the references to myself. Just because I choose to pursue the things that are interesting, to learn and share and grow, doesn’t mean that everyone else is as happy (and sad) to live in my head as am I.

I need more friends whose labors exist in the dark watches of the night…and who don’t mind discussing the deeper things of life. Puppy videos and effervescent memories fail to hold my interest for long; my mind, it seems, feasts on truth and depth and secrets…doubts and hopes and all the richness that dwells closest to the soul.

This is why I like Psalms, or on a less spiritual note, the music of Phil Collins. This unassuming, balding Brit was never a great hero, but nor could his manhood have been challenged when he felt no shame to pen the lyrics that spoke of struggle and doubt and uncertainty. The Psalmist did the same. Maybe, in some capacity a tenth as big, the same blood of honesty flows in me.

I wish the words came as easily, or were left looking nearly so attractive. I combed through a half-volume of poems two nights past, searching for something which I thought would touch your heart. I found some for later, but nothing to fit tonight. I fancy us both taking turns combing through the Oxford Book of English Verse one day, reading aloud and flagging our favorite works.

So how was your day, my dear? Surely even if you don’t work in the Houses of Healing, you still have joys and aches, triumphs and travails that you carry to your rest? Why not unburden yourself of them and spend some time in the company of one who listens and cares? His ear and his heart are imperfect, but he longs to spend even his unspent hours lightening the loads of others. Write down your stories, won’t you? Maybe one day we can look at the dates of our writings and find we, unknowing, answered or mirrored each other’s letters.

Although morning and night mingle, and my ruler seems more the moon than the sun, upon awakening each day, I greet the Lord and ask that He guide my steps in His will, and bless yours. Should the thought occur to you, I will fall asleep tonight in the hopes that you do the same for me.

Yours,
Beren

January 11, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Long Night’s Labors

Good morning, Luthien.

Rise and shine! The night is ending, the sun is rising to set the indigo sky on fire and a new dawn awaits you!

Actually, I hope you are staying in bed and enjoying these mornings. After all, the dawn’s greatest promise for me is an end to the night’s toils and being relieved of duty to go home. Of course, it won’t be home much longer. (The new lodging has a fireplace!)

It was quite a night. I rarely sat the entire twelve hours. They were glad of my company, but I’m afraid I could not say the same for them. They were crass and profane and discussed sex positions to the same degree as the last time I worked this floor. I work them all, you see, and often I never know which it will be until I arrive. Who ever thought a hospital would be home for me? But now here we are, two years later and this place really is my turf.

This floor is for injuries of all kinds. The stories can be devastating, but also optimistic, because there is reason to hope they will heal and restore a normal function. Tonight I nearly cried with one of them, a gentle man whose wife died in the car accident that put him here. Forty-four years they were married, and here the scars of abrupt and terminal deprivation is not yet two days old. It’s never easy to know what to say to someone like this. What can you say? “I understand”? Of course not. He asked if I was married and I told him I wasn’t. I asked him about his bride. He truly despaired and didn’t want to continue without her. How could I blame him? For all I know, I would feel the same way. There is no easy way out of such torturous, precious pain. It doesn’t hurt the heart…it becomes the heart itself, infusing every fiber and filament of our being with pain and ache, powerlessly grasping for some strand of fate by which to unmake the horrible events branded into the pages of history. My heart goes out to him, but I think in telling me some of his life, in having someone take time out of a busy night to kneel by his bed and listen for a quarter hour, it helped.

The view up here really is among the best in the city. Seven flights down, I have an aerial vantage of the surrounding houses surrounded by a frosty coating of snow, and the road stretching off into the distance with what few cars have business on the roads during these wee hours. It’s not unlike a Christmas village. It makes a body wish he could fly.

A cold drive is answered by a hot shower and warm bowl of oatmeal. I’d have had a hot bowl waiting for you too this morning, if you’d been here. I’m sure there will be plenty of these nights in our future, when the honeymoon ends and I return to work. I’m sure I’ll come home tired and maybe smelling less than optimally. Who knows what germs cling to the fabric of my scrubs, so of course I’ll wash. But maybe you’ll have breakfast already for me, or at least you’ll sit with me and drink your coffee while you hear my stories. (You’ll never want for good stories at shift’s end.) Maybe you’ll still be in bed by the time I’m ready to crawl in. Maybe you’ll turn toward me in the growing light. “Did I wake you?” I reply, concerned. “No,” you can reply, tracing my chin with your finger. “I’ve been waiting for you. Why am I always waiting for you, Beren Estel?”

Only because I haven’t found you yet, my dear. I’m still looking, and still praying. I am friends with the lady who cuts my hair, and she called last night to suggest the granddaughter of another client I’d met in passing, who all agreed I was a “very nice young man” and perhaps worthy of their granddaughter. Of course, you know I’m skeptical of such arrangements, but it needn’t matter right now anyway. Whether or not you are waiting beneath the sheets, I am ripe for them from a long night’s labors.

Be warm and safe today my dear. Don’t work too hard.

Love,
Beren

January 8, 2014 Posted by | Loneliness | , , , , | Leave a comment

On This Winter’s Night

“The lamp is burning low upon my table top
The snow is softly falling
The air is still within the silence of my room
I hear your voice softly calling

If I could only have you near
To breathe a sigh or two
I would be happy just to hold the hands I love
Upon this winter night with you.”

Dear Darling,

I greatly hope the new year is treating you even better than the last, heedless of how blessed the last year might have been. Mine? A friend succinctly surmised that last year seems to be bleeding into this year. I expect this year to usher in just as many unexpected cures and curses as the last, and perhaps more. Scattered among the many loose ends, I hope to find the cord that can will lead me to your door. Now wouldn’t you be a bundle of nerves if I were to knock this very night…!

It’s wickedly cold outside, as is the case for most of the country. We are not accustomed to such temperatures in this part of the country, and I’m grateful for the Lord’s provision. You may think me odd, but I’m also grateful for the opportunity to weather such times of hardship. They teach us about ourselves, and make us stronger. Not that much strength can be derived from central heating, but you see what I mean. I’m also grateful to have and share God’s promise in Genesis 8, which many forget: “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”

I was able to impart this promise with some success to a friend of Alegfast, whom I shall call Loswen. (Its translation from the Elvish roughly means snow-maiden) who is loth to see winter take such fierce hold. The poor dear…I like her, though not romantically, and can see there is frost on her soul that wants thawing. But as I have learnt before, there are some frosts that aren’t mine to thaw.

This past weekend consisted of mostly work, eat and sleep. A lot of days seem to consist of that anymore. I don’t mind, but sometimes I lose track of how much I’ve slept, or when I’ve eaten. I awoke from a nap on Sunday and forgot that I hadn’t eaten lunch.

The next week promises more of the same. I’m also moving again. Alegfast has begun final arrangements, and it appears it’s time to be moving on. God provides, and his provision in this case appears to be arrangements typically far beyond my means. It will put me closer to work and school as well.

Ties with my family have been temporarily but viciously severed for the past few days, a fact which I am at a loss to correct. There’s been no new word this week, and for that I am honestly grateful.

I’ve resolved to spend less time on Facebook if possible this year, and perhaps even less time with digital relationships entirely. Social media has been a vice of mine. The time is better spent in physical health, and relationships, and in study and reading.

School starts back next week. I’ll be glad, but I realized tonight that in dealing with children and a likely front-seat viewing for the miracle of childbirth, it might make me thoughtful for our forthcoming years as parents. Hmm.

These days, I have been contemplating the concept of value. This may seem an oversimplified and abundantly obvious truth, but ultimately, human beings only desire something for its value. Even the charitable and beneficent derive a kind of value from their good works, even if just a feeling of having created value. We hear of people who want greater compensation for their work, but these people overestimate their value in the equation. We complain about the high cost and compensation for doctors and surgeons, but when we require their specialty and expertise, their skill is of inestimable value to restore our bodies and save lives. And as much as we complain about the wealth of musicians and storytellers, at the end of the day these people add value to our lives by making us feel something, letting us escape from our lives, illustrating something (true love, excellence, heroism, courage, fitness, skill) to which we aspire. Ultimately, great numbers of us are willing to purchase the privilege of such value added to our lives.

I overestimated my value, and the value of my degree, in the workforce. Now I’m correcting it with a study of medicine and bedside practice.

Even friendships, I think, subsist on value created. Husbands and wives support and augment each other, and of course derive great value from each other’s presence. The sum of our friendships and relationships are the value which they provide us, even if only as companionship. Those who have greater numbers of friendships are those who can and do provide value to others.

It seems to me I’ve spent a great portion of my life estimating what value is needed in others, and rising to the occasion of learning how to provide it. Such value isn’t always given lightly, but once given, is given gladly and freely. I think in many cases I misunderestimated the demand incumbent on what I thought would be valuable. But in acquiring the skill of a warrior, a healer, a writer and a orator, with scatterings of poet and philosopher, lover and listener, I’ve attempted to become valuable to other peoples’ lives. (I was recently in a cafeteria with Mîlwen when a worker suffered a peculiar spell of a seeming medical nature. I attended her for a short time, and was given free lunch in return.) I don’t say this to congratulate myself. I’m observing that it took intentional effort to acquire the skill requisite to add value to the lives of others. Even now, not only am I learning how to heal the body, but am attaining the skills to be a provider and keep my family in comfort.

Darling, might I make so bold as to ask what value you have in mind to add to your future husband’s life? I know of a girl, a foolish silly girl who could attend a very expensive school for free and yet does not, with the wistful folly of “staying at home to learn how to be a homemaker.” (I speak of my benign internet stalker.)

A woman’s skill extends beyond mere cooking or cleaning, no matter how traditional these may seem. In olden days, a man sought out a woman not just to bear children, but someone who could help him make a life of it, sewing and cooking and cleaning and working. Modern-day luxuries nullify some of these necessities, but that doesn’t diminish their need. Have you ever thought about being a nurse as well? I have a dream of both being employed with an agency, traveling to different towns and states, combining shifts and spending the rest of the week seeing the sights and sounds in each other’s company. These agencies pay quite well. Were we to do such a thing, we could have the time of our lives, and return home a quarter- to a half-million dollars wealthier.

Of course, family will have to come first, and I’ll have to remind myself of that. But the idea is a fun one to conjure on occasion. I could go alone on such ventures. But there is an old African proverb which says “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

The thought of you is always before me, my dear. There is no song that doesn’t make me wish for your presence. No time of year, whether summer’s sun, winter’s chill, springtime’s beauty or harvest’s bounty, that does not make me think of you.

Stay warm tonight, my love, if such a thing is possible absent my embrace.

Love always,
Beren

“If I could only have you near
To breathe a sigh or two
I would be happy just to hold the hands I love
On this winter’s night with you
And to be once again with with you.”

Sarah McLachlan

January 7, 2014 Posted by | Loneliness, Nights Like These | , , , , , , | Leave a comment