Letters to Luthien

Letters to My Future Bride

Hard Days and Long Nights

Dear Darling,

How are you tonight? Are you well? Is your mind at ease and your heart at rest? Has warmer weather blessed your house?

Tonight, I want to tell you everything…and yet, say nothing. I want to confide my struggles, but I also want to be strong for you and not leave yet another record of a day’s laments or week’s loneliness. It’s been a long two weeks. I’ve moved, and I’m settled into the new semester. I finally had two days off — if you count three hours of class yesterday morning and two hours on duty tonight as “off.” I’ve been struggling with the widening breach between my parents and me. My mother is a wonderful woman, but when she become upset, she speaks any and every angry word on her mind, dealing great wounds very deftly. The reasons beyond the rift grow much deeper, and I’m certain I am not blameless in the matter. But now it persists, and I haven’t seen any of them in a month.

It’s nights like this where I’m tempted to reach out for whomever is listening or reading. Someone should take my phone away, it’s as if I’m drunk on sadness. And I’m beset with the knowledge that you can’t find me like this. On top family problems and an ongoing challenge to find balance, I have a meager head cold and sore throat, and I know you wouldn’t want to be around me and risk getting sick yourself. Sadly, I don’t trust the old friends with my problems, and it wouldn’t be fair to make new friends just to get help.

The patients I’ve dealt with this week include a lesbian couple with twins who are taking home their placenta to eat, a woman who nearly died while I was helping care for her, and a liver transplant patient just tonight.

Yesterday, yet another friend got engaged. With suspicious haste, a former acquaintance also got married today. And you might recall the attorney whose wife was unkind to me at work? (I discerned his wife’s pregnancy before he knew.) They are preparing to deliver their firstborn any day now.

If you’re like me, you have spent enough time around your married friends as to have observed that sacred warmth of marriage from afar, as though through a window. They just seem at peace, don’t they? There’s a kind of gentle and jolly ease with the world. And why shouldn’t they be? They’re married! In one sense, yes, their struggles are just beginning. But in another sense, the everlasting war between flesh and spirit is over.  Their hunger is now satisfied. The battle is over, the internal strife has been stilled. (If they were even bothering to wait.)

I know it’s not right, but the truth is, newly-formed and happy couples make me sad. I don’t really like to be around them, and if I were them, I wouldn’t want to be around me, to be reminded of my former life, or of any blot on the universe that I cannot fix. People, after all, become ill-tempered when hungry, and few things rankle one who hungers more than someone fed and happy…or one who is fed than one who hungers.

But then, single people make me sad too. I wrote Alegfast, Loswen and the others suggesting we see a movie. It turned out to be dining out and then going back to Loswen’s house, whereupon they commenced drinking. One of them told stories of his drunken stupors to bars. They laughed at the trite church songs of their youth and made barely-subtle jokes about sex. For the second time in a row, I made my excuses and left. (Less ceremoniously, but the truth is another unpleasant message had arrived from my mother. There are times when you must pack up and take your rain clouds with you so no one else gets wet.)

I’ve never been one to withhold pleasure from anyone else because I couldn’t partake. I would rather see every lonely person around me be happy if possible, and I see far too many who should be and aren’t.

Sometimes they are better than nothing, but their company is seldom edifying. Is everything alright, they asked as I began making my exit. Not really, I said frankly. Only a couple of them said anything to me later. They really have mingled their souls more with the world than I am comfortable with. They are at ease with profanity, alcohol and crude jokes. They put their own preferences above the service of the King, or of each other.

Every now and again, I will admit to someone that I’ve had a very bad day. I have yet to see such disclosure rewarded.

There’s something which seems reflexively self-condemning and prideful about searching for equality. We all want people that are “like us”, that we can blend with and feel understood and welcomed and at home. Even at Bible study, the leader admitted his wife finally convinced him not to visit Hooters anymore. The leader of the group said that. On the other hand, two other study members were highly complimentary of me and said they were very happy to have my insight in the group, and that I took it to a deeper level. The leader said as much in a voicemail.

But I’m no spiritual hero. I’m struggling to find time in the Word daily. Things have been up in the air and at times sleep or eating feel like a luxury, a very temporary and hasty respite from the war before getting back out there. (Think how much more I’d get done if I didn’t sleep!) Half the time during Bible study, I’m trying to keep my mind off of you.

The trouble is, I hear some echo of you in every element of a day’s passage. I feel my phone buzzing in my pocket with your texts. I feel your fingertips on my face with a first kiss hello. I see you in the nightgowns hanging on the racks. I close my eyes and turn away when someone at the pool is showing more skin than she ought, and think about how one day you will be waiting for me behind my closed eyes, a safe refuge for my mind.

Sleep calls me now.  I’m sorry, Darling. I know you’re out there, and likely with sorrows of your own to handle without the added burden of mine. Thank you for listening.



February 2, 2014 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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