Letters to Luthien

Letters to My Future Bride

Times of Testing

Dear Darling,

“Do you go to the movies alone a lot?”

That’s the question she asked me as we both headed towards our cars. It was one of those nights where I’d awoken in the late afternoon. Remarkably, I’d managed to have two bad nights at work and decided I needed escape, even if alone. And alone it was. The movie wasn’t worth much, and halfway down the theater, a silhouette indicated someone else was also staying for the credits. As she rose to leave, she picked up her small daughter, and we both headed the same direction.

“Tonight I do,” I replied, figuring that would suffice for the present. My whole week hasn’t been great, and she didn’t need to know the full extent. We made some brief exchange of small talk about the movie, and, satisfied that she was capable of juggling her drowsy daughter and her keys, I bade her good night and walked on to the car. It occurred to me that perhaps I’d prejudged her. Nowadays, single moms are most often the result of living apart from God’s will, whether through casual sexual encounters or flippant attitudes towards marriage. But husbands die or sin so greatly that the marriage must be dissolved. There are Biblical reasons for it that are no fault of the woman. So I stood by my car and breathed in the luxury of silence which had often eluded me during the week. She drove back by, and rolled down the window. We talked for about 20 minutes.

I suppose I just want you to know, I gave her a chance. She is not a believer, a single mom and a waitress. I’m afraid that’s just too many strikes for me. I do think, if you’re a single mom who has had the misfortune of living out a Biblical divorce, you should probably identify those reasons as soon as possible, especially if you seek a Christian man who might naturally be wary of a single parent.

She was a nice lady, and she seemed to be a good mom. (Aside from letting her daughter see a frightening PG-13 movie, but she seemed to be questioning her own choice on that) And as we made conversation, it occurred to me: Is this is how the world does it? To consider the thought of being touched and loved on and rank it above all else that reason and wisdom could argue? Easily could I have invited myself to follow her home and talked more. That option was clearly on the table. And who knows what could have followed. I wasn’t tempted; I was observing a potential “one-night stand” specimen under a microscope.

And how does a Christian immediately indicate disinterest to avoid leading someone on — without being rude? How do you maintain proper friendship, civility, kindness, without signaling romantic interest? Christ never had to be anything less than kind because He didn’t want to send the wrong signals.

Anyway, with an exception or two, she was the first soul to speak kindly to me in a few days, and it wasn’t unwelcome. But if it was a test, I believe I passed. It’s possible I should reevaluate the wisdom of going out alone, given that last time I encountered that wild child girl who was so pretty on the outside and so uncouth inside. Visiting with family was an option, except that I was worn to barest patience, and one does not visit the family these days without a moderate reservoir of patience.

Yes, I’m afraid it was another long week at work. I was unfamiliar with my colleagues and prefer to remain so. I took a particularly unpopular stand for an issue, and found myself sharply criticized not just by friends, but by the very friends to whom I’d endeavored to reach out in one form or another. It’s a given that I try to be there when people are hurting or needy. After all, these days it’s not good form to break down and simply ask for help, especially if you’re a man. You set your jaw, you man up, you get over it and you move on with life. Some people don’t have any other option. So I include them in movie invites, ask how they’re doing, listen, encourage, pray and help practically whenever I can if need arises. To have them quickly leap to the worst conclusions and sharp rebukes ranked among the unkindest cuts of all.

Still further, many of them seem to wonder (or ask) what my problem is, relating to the topic discussed, which was whether or not a woman should be allowed to dress down or show skin. I’ve explained to some of them that being a man with honorable intentions is a daily battle. Among the voices inside each man’s head, the drumbeat of sex is ever-present. Books, magazines, advertisements, movies, TV shows and music all beat that drum until it is nearly inescapable. Sexuality pervades my culture; it is inescapable. I strive to master these thoughts, to take them captive, to discipline them and to continue looking at women as human beings, not objects. It’s hard when even women objectify women. For a woman to step out in varying states of dress (and summertime is notorious for such displays) only cranks up the volume and feeds the very desires we’re striving to master. For Christian women to assert their right to wear whatever they want, that it’s the man’s job to discipline himself, is the height of insensitivity and offense…to say nothing of naivete when it comes to taking precautions against the wiles of a predator.

So they ask me what my problem is. And because I’ve been a compassionate listener in the past, I know each of their stories. I know that each of them has either quietly given up their attempt to remain pure, or has quite flagrantly cohabitated with their boyfriend or girlfriend. They have cheated their way out of the frustration latent to doing things God’s way. And then, the gall to suggest the problem is mine?

“One day you’ll find her and none of this will matter,” sighed a good friend I later spoke with on the matter.

I don’t know that I have a hopeful plea to encourage you with in closing, my dear. What more can I say? Only that with each passing day, I strive to become a better person, and I look for you, and pray for you. And that I hope you’re doing the same…that you can be a quiet voice of reason and strength and compassion when the world turns against me. I know such expectations voiced aren’t nearly so entertaining to read. When you’re looking through a glass darkly, not all of the promises and hopes read as they ought.

Every fibre of my being awaits your unveiling. I hope you’re holding out for me, my dear. Always, always wait for me. Once I know where you are, I’ll always come for you.

-Beren

July 26, 2014 - Posted by | Loneliness

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