Letters to Luthien

Letters to My Future Bride

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

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January 7, 2014 - Posted by | Loneliness, Nights Like These | , , , , , ,

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