Letters to Luthien

Letters to My Future Bride

Sundry Thoughts for May

03. Cornoyer, Paul - Early Spring In Central Park (1)

“Love, love changes everything
Hands and faces, earth and sky
Love, love changes everything
How you live and how you die
Love, love can make the summer fly
Or a night seem like a lifetime
Yes love, love changes everything.”

Dear Darling,

The mists are still clearing as the sun rises on an early morning. It’s been raining, and there’s a scent on the air that is damp but clean, cool, fresh and earthy. There are birds chirruping a greeting to the cloudy sunlight. As much as I love the times of stillness and peace, I never get up early enough to enjoy them. Today, I’m just back from a night shift. I let the dogs out for a run and settle down with a bite of breakfast (yogurt, granola and eggs if you must know) to mull over my thoughts and see if I can craft any of them into something legible. I’ve been writing thoughts for the past week or two, but I’ve had little time to write them, breathlessly hastening to finish exams, brimming with handfuls of postponed ideas, half-finished thoughts and incomplete musings.

I’m facing some uncertain times again, Love. The good times and bad kind of cascade in at once, and it’s a wash; I don’t know which side comes out on top.

I’m just back from another trip. I think I need to stop traveling alone. Some people seem to have the capacity to be entirely content and sufficient in themselves when they travel, or even at home. They seem satisfied in things, and experiences and possessions. I’m not. I need people, even if they are a pain sometimes.

It’s been an intense and arduous past few weeks. And months. And the last year. Truthfully the last few years have been pretty up-and-down! But the past is all prologue, and here I am, poised on the edge of wrapping up one of my first real years of purpose, asking myself if it was all worth it, if it could be.

A more chilling April I cannot recall, and am reminded that the difference is sometimes significant between the first day of spring, and the first spring day. I expect this to be quite a summer, and I anticipate a lot of work, a lot of working out, and as I mentioned, some travel. Of course, with April and May comes the season for weddings. There are people I know getting married. One young lady with whom I even shared an outing. I’m afraid your future husband has been a participant in more funerals than I have weddings, but it’s still a curious study in distance, acceptance and wistfulness. I am once again experiencing “nonbuyers’ remorse”…the feeling you get when someone you did not want to pursue finds bliss and love elsewhere. Of course in our age, profile social sites tell all, and the happy faces, sparkling rings and heads touched together once again hold back the veil on lives of joy, freedom and excitement which continually exclude me.

As I think about these changes, and how quickly I adapt to them, I think about love’s eternal change coming ever-steadily to meet me. I’ve been so lonely all my life. I’ve spent most of it alone and away from you, and it’s still a difficult thing to picture, the ultimate turning point. A stark and splendorous bifurcation of our personal timelines, silent years broken at last, shattered into a million glittering pieces and it all becomes real. It’s a game-changer. Nothing will ever, ever be the same afterward.

How does one wait patiently for that?

But I’m still preparing for your arrival, Darling, still waiting. I’d like to think you’d be proud of me and the changes I’ve been making. I’ve been running and working out more. I’ve been listening to the Word being preached as I shower and eat. I’ve been cooking a fair amount for myself, and I usually sing a few soft songs to myself as I clean up afterward. It’s a new season for me, and overall I think you’d be pleased, even though time for writing has been scarcer.

I was confiding a few of these burdens to a friend, as she made note of her marriage and how she intentionally prioritized it and recognized the need to work at it. “I can’t wait to meet the woman God has for you,” she told me.

Being a spouse or significant other is a position. You don’t meet too many people anymore who think of it that way…who think about qualifying for the position or enhancing their resume. “He’ll want me to be able to cook, I’d better learn how!” or “She’ll want me to be a good listener, I’d better practice.” People get so wrapped up in accepting people as who they are that they don’t try anymore. They don’t evaluate themselves, try to enhance their deficiencies, learn new things, acquire new skills. They don’t view friendship or a relationship as having duties to perform, expectations to meet, focusing on someone else’s needs. They don’t know how to be unselfish. They don’t think about working at it. So wrapped up in the concept of loving someone “just the way they are” they decline opportunities to better themselves.

I’m not going to lie, Darling…I hope when I find you that you’ll be someone to make them all jealous.

Does it please you to be needed this way? Do you find joy in knowing that your husband is out here, wanting to find you and make you his own, to take care of you? Do you even grasp the concept of how much I need you or how empty and hollow it feels not to know who you are, to laud you in ignorance, for never having heard your face, seen your eyes or touched your hair? Could it possibly be that you’re out there wandering around in this dark and feeble world blissfully unaware that a love with the strength of a thousand suns burns just beyond your hemisphere?

I can’t even truly compliment you because I don’t know you. I can offer educated vagaries because I know we will each appeal to the other, but I can’t tell you how I admire your face, your eyes or how perfect your teeth are (or aren’t!). I can’t touch your shoulder or play with your hair. I can’t capture one of your heartbeats for remembrance, or give you one of mine to safeguard. That’s hard.

One more thing, Darling, and then a daytime slumber awaits. You know the National Day of Prayer was just the other day. I want you to know I prayed specifically for you. Not just my daily prayer that God would be with you, walk with you and bless you, but for your family, your friends, your hurts, your regrets. I prayed for your trials and challenges, your dreams and your desires. I prayed for your future and ours.

Much more to come my love. God bless.

-Beren

May 7, 2013 Posted by | Sundry Thoughts | Leave a comment

Sundry Thoughts for March

My Darling,

It’s true, there are many days when darkness closes in and my strength fails me.

But then there are days when I excel and conquer and am strong. Sometimes it comes through achievement, and sometimes it comes from reaching the times of rest and respite. In my case, both. I worked over the weekend, and studied to improve on some academic challenges. I spent a short night of sleep and a long day on the hospital floor, followed by another short night of sleep and an even longer day on the floor. Over 22 hours worked in three days with a cumulative total of about ten hours of sleep. And you know what the funny thing is? I don’t even feel tired. I was coming home tonight and I thought about how I felt well enough that I might fix you dinner, or at least help with it, if you were in my life.

In the meantime, I’m writing again, preparing to travel, preparing to move, scheduling to work another 25 – 30 hours this weekend, and still finding time to work out and try to sculpt your future groom’s body a little bit so he’s easier on your eyes. It’s good to be back in a better place.

1) It was cold and it snowed again yesterday. It made me want to come home and curl up together with you again. It made me want to wrap you up like your favorite sweater, hold you close, lay your head on my chest, give you warmth and comfort.

2) There’s a girl in my class who is my age, although in some ways she seems older and in some ways younger. Sometimes we study together, and she admits freely to me and to the professor that she has no intention of pouring her entire life into the material, because her marriage comes first. I admire someone who recognizes marriage takes work, and applies herself to the labor. I know it requires effort, I just don’t yet know what that will look like. It’s like when I journeyed to the island last year to build a missions house. I didn’t know what the job required, I just knew it would be work. (And it was work!)

3) I had a thought the other day, tell me if you think this is romantic. You’ve heard of blind dates. What about a blindfolded date? What if I took you out — say, after we’re well acquainted and well-trusted with each other — and took you to a restaurant blindfolded? I’d lead you inside and you’d have to guess where we were. I’d give you a menu and you’d have to point at the option and let me decide if you’d actually like it. (Okay, maybe I’d read it to you.) Or maybe you’d give me the basic ingredients and I could pick a dish. When it comes, I’d feed you. After that, I’d take you to get ice cream and you’d choose it just by the flavor. We could go on a walk in the park with you holding my arm and walking behind me, trusting me for every step. Sound off…does that sound kind of intriguing, or kind of creepy?

4) I was working in a different and unusual unit today. My patients were good, and my colleagues and I seemed to work and gel nicely together. There were times when the conversation turned naughty and I found other tasks to occupy myself (it surprises me how frank some people can be in discussing their sex lives with coworkers!) but woman on my right (we’ll call her R) was surprised that the man on my left (we’ll call him L) wasn’t getting any sex from his wife, and for nearly a month. She felt sorry for his four-week famine, and as you know I’m not shy about standing up on principle, and told her I was preparing to inaugurate my twenty-seventh year of it. In this, and in other attitudes, R mentioned that my disposition seemed transposed with that of L; that I was calm and level-headed and seemed the one who was married and settled and even in my approach. L, married and certainly at a higher earning potential and knowledge base, had a sense of humor but was high-strung and less mellow. I found her opinion fascinating, as I do any assessment of my character and behavior, and how it is perceived or stacks up against others.

5) Here’s a little secret about me: there’s a lot of things you’ll be able to get me to do just by for looking at me and saying “do it for me?”

6) I don’t think I buy that whole “love at first sight” bit, but…I just can’t shake this feeling I’ll know you when I see you. That there will be something infinitely natural about our coming together, an effortless and easy conversation riddled with “Me too!” and “really? You? Awesome.” It will be a broadening smile, and as I find out more about you, who have already set my heart on a course to outpace its natural rhythms, I’ll quickly decide we must meet again. I will get your number, your e-mail address, your Facebook or, if the situation is right, I’ll ask you to dinner. I just think I’ll know you when I see you. That I won’t have to give up what I’ve been looking for, and will finally know what I’ve been waiting for. That you’ll just be “the real thing.” That’s probably why I still spend time scanning the faces of crowds, looking for that combination of serenity and savvy, winsomeness and wit, innocence and mischief. Oh, I don’t expect an easy search, my dear. It’s just a little thought dangling off the back of my brain.

7) She said thank you.

No one ever said thank you before, not that I can recall. I’ve poured heart and soul, time, money, sleep and stress for something I believe in. I was once on the verge of making about $50,000 a year to do what I’ve been doing now, for free. I don’t think anyone has ever said thank you. I even put all that to the side, laid it down to narrow in my concentration on academics. Yet she needed my help, even from two thousand miles away, and I lent it because I still believed in the cause. And one night, out of the blue, she called up just to say thank you.

There’s been times when she abruptly snapped out of our business conversations just to inquire after me personally, such as asking how my heart was. She’s attractive, intelligent, industrious, compassionate…and heartbreaking. Were circumstances otherwise, I probably would already have made alternate travel arrangements. And she forces me right back into the vicious mental undertow of asking how much heartache the right woman would be worth.

8) I’m torn on how I will present these to you one day, my dear. I want you to read them now. There are times when I want to use them as a lure, give them to the rare people who present with qualities I expect to find in you. I want you to have the full download on me, even at my disadvantage. I want you to know about me, and want to know about me. What better way than by reading the bleeding ink-blots of my soul transcribed here? But part of me wants you to wait, to let me win your love naturally, and then let me tip my hand to show you something even more wonderful lurks in this heart of mine.

9) I can’t wait to study you. I can’t wait to stalk your Facebook and internet history. I can’t wait to listen to your family history, memorize all the significant points of your life which would be trivia to anyone else. I can’t wait to memorize your favorite dishes, your likes and dislikes. I’m looking forward to analyzing your thoughts, dreams, emotions, body language, habits. I’m looking forward to describing some things about yourself that even you have never thought of. I’m looking forward to spending a lifetime taking graduate level courses in Luthienology, learning about you and how you change and grow and respond to me and the world around us.

This year is challenging me so far, my dear. It may be that the Lord has been merciful to us both by sparing us a relationship that would have suffered during this time, and that once I’m over the greater challenge, I will find you at the bottom of the hill. Please, please wait for me.

Yours,
Beren

March 8, 2013 Posted by | Sundry Thoughts | 1 Comment

Sundry Thoughts for February

StargazingDear Darling,

I’m in another one of those moods tonight. The kind where I don’t want to be Beren the wistful and wandering knight, stargazing atop his steed. I want to dump all of the armor by a tree, relieve the steed of his harness to graze, and walk down the path in silence. Still stargazing, of course.

1) I need someone to sing Josh Groban’s “You Are Loved” to me. The dude identifies all these lonely and sad feelings and then he’s like, “but that’s okay, I love you.” Thanks Josh, but you aren’t here, and you couldn’t help me if you were.

2) Why is it always the girl I find unappealing who makes a play for me? How many men would love to brag about having to turn women down, but I truly hate it. Heck, even my sister-in-law has clearly set her cap for me, and after the animosity between families, she should totally know better. It seems like I’m attracted to the pleasant, outgoing sort…the kind who is too outgoing to have waited. But when I fancy someone, and I find out they didn’t keep the standard, it’s like rejection. Every time someone breaks that standard, it’s a microscopic rejection. If I could just stop holding that against people…if I could somehow learn to expect less, or find peace in the dashed hopes of finding the one who waited for me…life would be so much easier.

3) I don’t want to be nice anymore. I don’t want to respect the people who don’t respect me, I don’t want to overlook someone’s offenses. I don’t want to be the one who has to hold back his own anger at the hypocrisy and double-standards of people. I’m tired of being good. I’m tired of the people who tell me how cool I am, and then don’t aspire to be the same. I’m tired of meeting the women who are really neat, a few months or a few years too late. the ones who are already married, or already grown impatient and decided it was time to grow up. I’m tired of the ones who meet everything I’m looking for and yet present no chemistry. I’m tired of finding chemistry with the people who don’t look good on paper. I’m tired of getting punished for doing the right thing, of being shamed for struggling with the poor life choices of everyone else, of striving hard to obey the standards God gave us, and then having people throw stones at me for wanting to know why others can’t try a little harder. I’m hard on myself, but I don’t have a high enough opinion of myself to be “understanding” about why I could pass where others have failed.

4) At the end of every day, I just want a woman with a nice face, a warm voice and kind heart to talk to. You don’t even have to be smiling. You don’t even have to be happy! Just listen to my woes and let me listen to yours.

5) I’m usually strong, and when I’m strong, I’m invincible. There are times I’m not strong, though, and that’s when I need you.

6) There are some days — I’m talking to you as my wife, dear…between you and me — there are some days where I want to forget I possess male genitalia and a mindless, senseless urge to copulate with any warm and willing body. There are thoughts that are all too common, that invade my mind, that I do far too poor a job of taking captive for Christ, thoughts that aren’t always mine, but which dishonor you and me, and the temple of the Lord that is my body.

7) Do you ever feel like you’re still just a kid in an adult’s body, fooling everyone, ad-libbing your way through life? Or that you wish you could go back to being a kid? Or that you have an old soul, aged far beyond its years, and can’t tell anyone?

8) One day dear, you and I are going to go camping out on a mesa. There won’t be anyone around, and we can gaze at the stars — and each other — all night long.

Love,
Beren

February 9, 2013 Posted by | Nights Like These, Sundry Thoughts | Leave a comment

Lost Childhood and Other Musings

Dear Darling,

1) There she was again. Friend-zone.

I’ve spent a few weekends looking to see if I might spot her in the crowd, even though I didn’t want to see her. Talk about a complicated emotion. She was among the group of friends that are gradually becoming my friends as well. In fact if memory serves she helped introduce me. And she was sitting with her boyfriend. Ah, so that’s the idiot. He doesn’t look like much. A friend tells me he lives Florida…how is that working out? I shook her hand and congratulated her on finishing the same program which I just began. She squeezed back and smiled elegantly, making perfect conversation as if it wasn’t at all awkward that I’d expressed a definitive attraction and desire to know her better and which she rebuffed.

She didn’t ask about me, but that’s okay, most people don’t. Then she walked away, with him. I walked the other way, fiercely ordering my heart to settle down.

Where does this stupid feeling of attraction and attachment come from? It’s sudden and strong, and abhorrent in its severity. Have you ever spent your whole life becoming something worthwhile, only to be rejected? There’s a sense of anger that comes with it. I don’t give my attentions lightly, and yet they were spurned so heavily.

It’s not like I can’t handle rejection. Heaven knows…! I’ve done my share, as gently as possible. I guess I just wrestle with this concept of killing an involuntary emotion, a desire to be with someone that can’t ever be. Only felt it once or twice in my life, and I hope to heaven that same feeling can be fulfilled by finding you.

Moving on.

2) My visit with my friend yesterday went fine. We had a surprisingly frank conversation, but only about her medical diagnosis. Training in the medical field has made me somewhat immune to shame regarding women’s health…an unwilling social superpower. She didn’t ask about me, but that’s to be expected. People in the hospital become selfish and self-oriented, and rightly so.

I think my gifts went over well. I gave her cocoa butter lotion (“to remind you to take care of yourself”) a deck of cards (“so you have something to do while you’re laid up”) a keychain flashlight (“so you’ll always have something to light your way”) and a small lion statue (“to remember to fight like a lion.”) Naturally, no good deed goes unpunished, I was late for work. But hopefully I was the hand and the voice of Jesus, and that is all anyone can hope to accomplish.

3) Ahh, darling, all I wanted to do was talk with you tonight. I reached the end of yet another day, and I had no one to call. I just need someone to talk to, with no distance, no secrets, no reservations, no fear of being absolutely open, knowing you will listen and love and not question. I’m done with my final exams and I have time now, and no one special to spend it with. I’ve got songs to sing and places to go and food to eat, and I want to do it with you. I want to banish this forlorn letter-writing habit of mine and start having fun with you. I guess you get tired of hearing that, huh?

4) What do you suppose they mean when they talk about lost childhood? I’ve heard the term several times, and I don’t know if it means a childhood that never was, or a childhood they enjoyed which was lost when they grew up. Me, I miss the childhood I grew out of. I didn’t know how good I had it, and like any small boy, I couldn’t wait to grow up. Now I’m here. I’ve got jobs and bills and school, and I want to go back to those simple days, just like any adult does. I’m not sure if there’s a little bit of magic in the newness of being grown-up (or at least playing at it) that the old magic of Christmas loses its meaning, or if the magic itself goes away. I’ve developed this ability to deflect or absorb trouble and sadness and pain without internalizing it. Maybe in losing degrees of capacity for sadness, I’ve lost degrees of capacity for happiness as well.

5) You might get to see your Beren on national prime time television in the next week or so. I’d tell you where, but it’s not assured and I’d hate to be revealed before my time to the few other handsome pairs of eyes scanning these pages.

6) Time for bed, love. Write me a letter of your own tonight, won’t you?

What wonders a kiss goodnight would do for me right now…

Love ever,
Beren

December 17, 2012 Posted by | Sundry Thoughts | Leave a comment

How Will I Ever Find You?

Dear Darling,

It was raining again tonight. It’s been raining off and on for two days now. I should be studying, but I worked and went to a frivolous little gathering tonight.

I got home, changed, and showered. I should have gone to bed, I should go to bed now. But instead, I went for a walk. Yes, in the rain. It should be snow, but we’ve no such blessing for our winter thus far.

I asked the Lord if He might walk and talk with me for a while. I asked Him how I should ever find you. Almost any of the girls I meet anymore are too small or too crazy.

Pardon me dear, but most of your gender is crazy.

Oh I know, mine isn’t much better. Most of us are pigs, going around playing at love to get sex, exploiting the women who play at sex to get love. But at least we’re not that complicated or difficult to figure out. We’re pretty predictable.

Your gender is beyond complex. You don’t behave rationally. Even Einstein couldn’t figure you out.

Of course I am thinking of specifics. I’m thinking of D, and R, and M, and J and E and A. I’m thinking even of relatives who behave without a shred of rationality, flying off the handle, or shutting down communication for no reason.

I don’t trust women, but more importantly I don’t trust me. They bring out all the uncertainty and angst in me. I’ve yet to meet one that truly brings out my best side…someone I can unleash all these wiles and smiles upon…someone worthy of my letters.

I hang on to them too long. I start to wonder if it was really as bad as I thought. I rationalize. I want to give too soon, open up too soon, learn everything too soon. I’m starting to be wary of my own judgment about them.

To put it simply…women are a weakness. That is why I place that weakness under lock and key, where it cannot be exploited.

Some girls are nice and polite, and obviously a bit interested. But they’re small. They don’t drive, or don’t vote or aren’t interested in nearly the same things I am. They don’t aspire to be anything. They’re the type that lets life grab them by the horns.

Sadly, most Christian women fit this mold, or at least a lot of the ones I meet. The ones that are outgoing and enthusiastic about life, who make something of themselves, who live life and chase dreams — the kind of woman I seek! — are the ones who also let down virtue along with their hair.

Every so often, I find someone who is a little small-minded but maybe interesting enough to compensate, and then I find no chemistry or spark of attraction. I’m frustrated with myself and my emotions because it’d be so easy if they’d just settle and attach already so I can be happy, but I know I can’t settle for anyone less than you.

It’s a good thing we serve a mighty God, because He’s the only one that could put the two of us together.

Love ever,
Beren

December 9, 2012 Posted by | Sundry Thoughts | Leave a comment

Sundry Thoughts, Pt. 7

Dear Darling,

1) It’s finally frigid outside. I like frigid…for a little while.

2) I saw us out the other day. He was mid-30’s and had a green jacket. She had a jacket the color of orchids. They both looked happy together with their baby daughter as they searched for a live Christmas tree. (By the way, I hope you’re down for a live Christmas tree. It’s been a family tradition for years.) And somehow, I was struck by the idea that it was us I was looking at. One day.

3) Some friends invited me to a game night. That doesn’t happen often, but these are new friends. I like them. We ended up doing little more than card games, word games and a 1000-piece puzzle. I’ve never been much for puzzles. Always seemed like artificial productivity, like Monopoly, or those empire-building video games. But maybe there’s something to be said for doing things that don’t have significance. Maybe there is bonding and relaxation hidden in the mundane, fun things like puzzles. And it occurs to me that it would be a great thing for us to do, intent and concentrating but talking at the same time.

4) It seems like I’ll go months without any relationships or candidates on the horizon, and then suddenly I find more than one option staring me in the face. I actually really hate that.

5) I’ve said this before, but sometimes I question my own judgment in what I am looking for. Will I know? Can I know? How will I? How could I? I want to make sure I don’t think of you as some grand and glorious destiny, built up beyond humanity by years of letters and expectations. You’re a person. I’ve got to remember that. A person. Sometimes you want to lay on the couch without fixing up your hair and watch television. Sometimes you’ll have a cold and a stuffed-up nose. You won’t want my affections and I won’t want to catch it. We’ll have corn dogs and tater tots for dinner. I’ll have to get up early and the heat won’t be working properly. Someone will wake up in the middle of the night for a trip to the bathroom and stub a toe. Things won’t be perfect. If I could just find my imperfect perfection.

6) Eye contact. You know what I can’t wait to do? Look into your eyes. Just stare into them, drinking them in. Reading the thoughts and feelings and vulnerability and trust they convey. There’s a social rule about staring into eyes. Eye contact has significance and meaning. It will be a new experience to gaze into someone’s soul. Sit on the floor with our backs against the couch, the lights low, listening to Celine Dion, Diana Krall or Norah Jones, you pressed in next to my side as close as you can, your head on my shoulder as I stroke your hair.

7) It’s hard to find the balance between thinking of you in terms of destiny, and in terms of that everyday girl. It’s not like you’ll be in a Victorian ball gown, and I won’t be in a suit of armor. We’ll be wearing jeans. Maybe that’s the trick. A love that has room for jeans, but isn’t defined by them. That’s the tricky balance, merging acceptance of past, present and future.

But I just want my Luthien to love, even imperfectly. I want you to be the someone I can talk to…any time. I want to find someone again who sends the texts I just can’t wait to get. Someone I can message at 2am: “You up?” and hear back. Someone I can be myself around — wholly and completely myself, without being judged for being the selfish and insolent man I can be sometimes. Someone who can build me up and surprise me, supplement and complement me, help me find the words for a situation I fall short in describing.  Someone who says things that take me by surprise, and helps me looks at the world through a different, thoughtful pair of eyes. Someone who steals the sheets, washes dishes with me, picks me up from the airport.

I want someone who will help me lead. Darling, man is not always the best leader. Sometimes woman is better suited to the job, and plenty of times, a man finds it easier to abdicate his duty and lets her. I’ve seen this in many families. It’s actually the model of the very first original sin. For whatever reason, God designated me to step up and be the leader. Since God often calls people to tasks they’re not equal to (the better to rely on and prove His strength), I’m sure I won’t always be the best leader. I hope you won’t be threatened or insecure about it. Respectful submission isn’t because of inferiority but because of God’s divine order. I hope you will do so in gentle and wise acceptance of the roles appointed by God. Trust me, I’ll need your help. I don’t mean you must obey me, and I don’t EVER mean to lord it over you.

Don’t correct me in front of the kids…but do correct me. If possible, do it nicely. Admonish me, and remind me I can be better. Don’t just vent your frustration at my shortcomings…help me to see it. If your approach makes sense, I’ll admit it or acknowledge it. I’m more apt to acknowledge fault if you aren’t angry and emphatic. My defensiveness rises proportionate to the offense, but we have to  remember we’re on the same team.

Remind me that I matter. Remind me you wouldn’t have anyone else on earth. Remind me I’m not unlovable. Remind me life isn’t all battles persuasion and principles and debates. Remind me to have fun. I’m tense, and locked up. I’m scared to be too vulnerable and open physically. I’d flinch if you touched me. Don’t take it as rejection. In my resolve to be chaste, I may have gone too heavily in the opposite direction, but I did it to protect the both of us. If you’re patient, and don’t push it, I’ll relax and open up.

8) From time to time I get those glimpses, those mental images of moments in our future. The house is dark, and I’m bare-chested and sitting in front of the computer working. You say “come to bed” and I say “just a minute” still obliviously typing and working. Then you peak your head around the corner and wait until I look up. You give me a come-hither look and say “no, really, come to bed” before ducking around the corner. The laptop lid drops.

9) As always, there’s so much more I want to say. The ideas all crowd into my head, and sometimes I spend so much time writing them all down that I lose time to flesh them all out the way I want. But then, I suppose it’s an illusion to think I’ll write every letter I want before finding you. That is encouraging.

Love always,
Beren

November 26, 2012 Posted by | Sundry Thoughts, Who I Need You To Be | 6 Comments

Front Porch Musings

Dear Darling,

I’m back on the front porch again, slowly rocking back and forth on the swing as I study the papers in front of me. The goal was to be out here and free of distractions, but it seems everyone is taking advantage of the unseasonable warmth. Motorcycles buzz by, a neighbor or two mill about, and the renegade mosquito or two are happily combing me for their next meal.

The sun is coating everything in an afternoon honey glaze, forcing me to retrieve my camera and capture some of this microscopic autumn beauty. There is unspoken poetry in nature. The leaves are gently dropping one by one from the trees, and I wonder if the leaf lets go first, or the trees. Then I think about how that’s a profound thought, and I’ll have to remember to tell you that.

And voila, suddenly I’m thinking about you again. I’m thinking about how you and I are hurtling along through time, apart from each other. I’m thinking about how the past is so fixed, the present is so fleeting, and the future is so uncertain, pregnant with joys and heartaches yet untold.

I wonder if the reward I’ve tried to be worthy of is simply the lack of negative consequences which I see evident in the lives of those who compromise…and hoping that the ending is actually the presence of joy, not the absence of unhappiness.

Fast forward to tonight. A fire and a movie on a dreary autumn evening, a bowl of ice cream in my hand and a cold rain falling outside. For some reason, I don’t feel like a black and white movie. I want my night to live in color, and take me somewhere other than this. It’s funny how today is my only day without obligation. Life is pretty hectic. It’s a game of whack-a-mole, and there’s so many that the end result is many of them are getting less than adequate whacks. You would laugh if I told you what is contained in my idea of a day off. I’ve had people tell me how I go nonstop, and am an overachiever. The problem is, inertia is a harsh mistress. The one day I have off, I busy myself with the million other tasks I assign myself, the mundane and splendid duties of life for a young bachelor like myself. Maybe one day, I should try just going and taking a nap under a tree in a pasture somewhere.

And now I’m here, wanting (as usual) to talk to you, and instead my lips are silent as my fingers and mind do the talking. Imagine if I had this energy to invest in you, Love. The friends I invest in (apparently poorly), my political work, my schooling, my writing, my jobs, my family, all might take a back seat to you.

I’m thinking about the people who were interested in me, but went away when I wasn’t interested back. Then they find a new boyfriend, and there’s part of me that’s mad and jealous of them. I could have made a minimum of efforts and secured someone the world considers amazing. But I knew they weren’t for me. So why annoyed when they quickly move on? What’s that all about? It’s like a child that has no interest in a toy until another child does. Part of me feels thoroughly less special (how do people settle into a relationship so quickly?) and I guess the rest is just jealousy.

I’m anticipating the things that are going to feel so right and so easy for us. The kisses. The elation that someone I’m interested in likes me back. The burgeoning amazement when we find we have so much in common, and so much more that is new to each of us…new, yet attractive and beautiful and admirable. The inside jokes, the senses of humor we share.

I’m thinking about how much fun we’ll have exploring each other’s stories when we meet, and when we’re married. I want to hear all about your childhood, I want to see the pictures and the home video. I want to hear it all. The pets you lost. The memories you made. Your crushes. Your 15 minutes of fame. How you spent your holidays. Your parents and siblings and friends. The houses you lived in.

I’m thinking you and I will enjoy inspecting each other for marks and bumps and scars, the stories of a lifetime. I’ve got a few to tell you about, but I’ll leave them to you to find…the scar from falling out of the top bunk years ago, or the remnants of a years-old spider bite.

I’m seeing the dreary welcome weather set in, and thinking of Enya’s lament, If I Could Be Where You Are that I posted nearly a year ago. I’m thinking of so many other things I want to say to you, notes I’m making for future letters.

I’m thinking about how you’ll make me learn about myself, and yet make me forget about myself.

And finally Darling, I’m sitting here tonight and thinking…I don’t know how not to want you.

Love always,
Beren

October 27, 2012 Posted by | Loneliness, Nights Like These, Sundry Thoughts | 1 Comment

Various and Sundry Thoughts Pt. 6

Dear Darling,

How many are my thoughts for you, Darling. How many! It should probably concern both of us how often you cross my mind, but it isn’t that hard to understand. We have a lifetime to spend together. There will be times we’ll be apart, but the little moments and the big ones will add up quickly. Right now, you come to my mind quite often when it is not otherwise occupied (and even when it is) and I hasten to scribble those thoughts down before they’re lost. I’ve written them on note cards, post-it notes, on the back of old envelopes and receipts, in my notebook and on my cell phone.

It’s the height of autumn. The trees are in full display, and every morning I drive past a dozen landscapes meant to be painted and photographed and quietly absorbed with reflection as the sun rises. Of course, I scurry past them on my way to work and school. Activity is making these days fly past. I considered today a relative loss until I recounted all of its events and realized it was actually quite busy…and then I realized I have worked myself into an frenetic threshold of activity not to take a day and do nothing.

As I so often do, I wrapped a coat around me and stepped out into the night air. Here my thoughts and feelings and prayers flow and mingle, silently and aloud. It’s a true autumn night. The wind and rain have died down, with leaves and evergreen needles strewn across the grass and pavement. There’s a loneliness on the wind, along with hints of woodsmoke and snowflakes, and the brackish, musky odor of wet leaves and night air.

As ever, there’s a silent sadness out here. Maybe I brought that with me.

I’m thinking about the last four years and how difficult they’ve been relative to the rest of life. I wonder if that has anything to do with our country’s leadership, and am reminded that unrighteous leaders often lead to a nation being judged and lacking in prosperity and blessing. I wonder if that’s going to change in a few weeks.

I’m thinking about an old flame, or the closest thing I have to an old flame, and how she has been reaching out a little more recently. She’s going out with another guy, mere months after her last long-term fling dumped her. She once made me feel special. I daresay she has that ability for every guy she meets. I feel for her and pity her, as I can see the pitfalls she continually sets herself up for. Isn’t that always the burden of wisdom? I think sadly how if she had been a servant of Christ and had waited, we might have been married by now. As it is, she’s gone through three or more boyfriends since our fellowship was broken. Now doesn’t that make me feel special.

I’m thinking about who I want you to be.

Who do I want you to be? So many things. I want you to be a girl who updates Facebook and quotes Princess Bride, who takes photos but not the kind with pouty lips, who isn’t afraid of trying new things, who cooks and sings and stays active. Someone who can laugh and punch me in the arm, who can be kind and soft and warm-hearted, yet firm, solemn and sincere. A good comforter, who can be confident even in admitting uncertainty, hurt and confusion. Who can take initiative and lead, but also can follow gently and contentedly. Someone who is humble, yet knows she deserves to be treated like a princess — without taking her prince for granted. I hope to find you pure and proper, prepared for me.

I have to remember to take you as you are…flaws and all. We both have to understand there will be things we don’t like in each other that we must accept, adjust to and embrace. You’re not perfect. I’m not either. We both have to be good forgivers, Darling. We both have to be aware of our own minefields and frustrations in life and our triggers.

I thinking and wondering to myself, what if I don’t know happiness when I see it? I keep waiting for this new, one-upped level of happiness, something extrinsic to my existence that I expect to feel when I finally have someone with whom to share life and be intimate. What if it’s not there? What if I’ve already been as happy as I’m going to get, and am just too dull to notice? What if I’m waiting for some grand fireworks finale and it already passed? To be sure, there are happy times in life. Indeed, many would say my life is the envy of many. We all hope our better days are ahead of us, but what if I peaked early?

I’m thinking about the idea of ownership within marriage. I’m thinking of the novelty of calling you “mine” and you calling me yours, belonging to each other. I won’t just be my own self, you won’t be yours. Won’t that be a fun idea to wake up to? Looking at you lying by my side, realizing you’re mine, and I’m yours? I always loved Celine Dion’s Power of Love, singing “I’m your lady and you are my man.”

I’m thinking about the times when you’ll do things that lovingly, that no human being would normally do for another, and your only excuse will be “Because he’s my husband.” That kind of loyalty and love , even if only imagined, fills me to the brim with joyful anticipation and value.

I’m thinking about all those silly little things you’ll do that will make me fall in love with you all over again. Flattening your lips to apply chap stick. Laughing. All the organic foods you might introduce to my diet, all the candles and shampoos you’ll use. The times when you’ll fix your hair, or laughingly lick that piece of food off the corner of your mouth that I pointed out to you.

Maybe I’m trying to figure you out too much. Maybe I need to let you retain that beautiful feminine mystique.

What else can I do when you aren’t here?

I give you all my fondest thoughts, warmest regards and gentle smiles tonight, my dear…wrapped up in my unending love.

Yours,
Beren

October 20, 2012 Posted by | Anticipation, Loneliness, Nights Like These, Sundry Thoughts, Who I Need You To Be | Leave a comment

Various and Sundry Thoughts, Pt. 5

Dear Darling,

There’s a stiff autumn wind blowing outside. The trees and shrubs are dancing violently in the wind, but it isn’t a cold wind. The sun rose strangely this morning, a hazy yellow pallor, casting afternoon shadows on the morning.

Sometimes, I want to pick a specific subject and talk to you about just it. Something that gives you hope, and thus give me another reason to keep going. And sometimes, I just want to open my heart and let all the thoughts and feelings come tumbling out for us to sort through together. It’s a dangerous hobby, especially when people you know might be looking over your shoulder.

1) Someone said goodbye today. Actually, I did. I had to, because we never could get past hello. There’s something ruefully liberating about letting someone go. You feel like your possibilities are suddenly open again…but so open that there’s no options. You feel like it’s okay to smile more at girls you don’t know, but you’re sad you lost a chance to peg down the rest of your life. Even if it never seemed like much of a chance to begin with. I guess God would send me the kind of person who has every appearance of being everything I ever hoped for, and have it fall flat. Long live the divine “Psych!” Maybe one of these days I’ll actually get close enough to hurt after a breakup.

2) Every night after I get out of the shower, I look at myself in the mirror and wonder if I’ll be handsome or desirable to you. I don’t find men handsome or attractive in the slightest.  I think you’d probably be pleased with my appearance even now, but it’s difficult because I’ve pulled a muscle which has been ludicrously slow to heal. I’ve had to pull out of most of my exercising, which I hate. By the way, just a heads-up, I plan on having a six-pack by the time we’re together. Like, I want to be your exact idea of what a man should be. It may not last, but at least starting out, I want you to have the best.

3) I took myself out on another date last week. I needed to get out of the house and create distance with some conflicts I couldn’t solve. And when you can’t solve it, distance is the next best thing. So I went to the theater. It was quite an experience, actually. The box office was sold out (weeks ago, according to some) but the Lord provided and was given an extra ticket someone didn’t use. It’s just as good you and I didn’t try to go together, but…still. You should have been there. The theater was crowded and cramped but comfortable enough. The music was decent. Afterwards, I went back to the car and passed a horse-drawn carriage taking a couple through the city streets. I never knew my city had them. One more thing to add to my list of things to do together. Afterwards, I would have offered you my arm and we could have strolled downtown. We could have walked by the fountain, not speaking, but thinking our own thoughts to ourselves and silently growing closer together. Maybe you wouldn’t have found Taco Bell the most romantic setting for dinner afterwards, but the hour was late, and I think I would have been perfectly content to stare over my nachos and into your eyes.

4) It’s a strange yet welcoming feeling when a stranger texts and, as part of the conversation, asks how you’re doing. It’s surprising. But, it’s nice.

5) I never get invited to weddings. Even a very good friend who shared my values and my heart for marriage and life somehow “neglected” to invite me to his. I’m not sure if not attending weddings is a good thing or bad. I think I would be sad at anything but a pure wedding…looking with irony at a bride wearing white when she has earned anything but. And it would hurt to see the wedding of someone and feel once again like a stranger outside in the cold, leaning on the frosty windowsill and watching the family sitting warm and toasty by the fire.

6) I feel like I show weakness, openness and vulnerability more than most people I know. Sometimes I think I should clam up more and show less of myself to the world. But then I’ve been told that I’m always the person giving, the person who is strong, the person who reaches out. People naturally assume they don’t need to reach back or give anything to me.

7) If you were to tell me you knew someone who is tall, relatively attractive (according to some), relatively athletic, intelligent, confident, hard-working, thoughtful, caring, decently selfless, virtuous, who has another “secret identity” of some renown, who works two jobs and is pursuing a solid, respectable and lucrative career, who sits playing sad love songs on the piano on weekends and spends study time writing letters to his future bride…..and then tell me that man is single, I think anyone would find it sad. Some would call such an assessment arrogant, but it’s who I’ve strived to be my whole life, always aspiring to be of the highest quality for my bride. I think upon reflection, watching the faithless claim their reward while the faithful bide in darkness, maybe I’d have been less careful. The Lord’s happiness is supposed to be reward enough, but…I don’t feel rewarded at all.

8) I love live jazz concerts. And I love beaches, provided they aren’t crowded, especially with mostly unclothed patrons. And I love you. I think, if you put me at a live jazz concert, on the beach, with you by my side, I would be in heaven. Heaven.
Yours ever,

Beren

October 15, 2012 Posted by | Loneliness, Nights Like These, Sundry Thoughts | Leave a comment

Sundry Thoughts from the Weekend

Dear Darling,

I stepped off the bus and headed towards my car. It had been a long day, though a former classmate shouting my name in greeting provided a momentary bright spot. It was a dreary day, but I didn’t mind. I like them. I’ve some stresses and pressures looming, but I’ll make it through them. There was nothing different about the day, but for some reason, I was assailed by an unusually strong dose of anticipation. It had to do with the song “I Just Died In Your Arms” on the radio, and for whatever reason, I suddenly felt renewed and violent pangs of desire and sadness — desire, for your arms to come home to, and sadness because I knew they wouldn’t be there. A brief trip inside the mind of having you in my life, and a sorrowful retreat from it. No fear, the moment passed. All too quickly…but not quickly enough.

I thought again how much I’ll relish picking up the phone to call you, feeling my phone buzz getting a text from you, playing Words with Friends. How am I ever going to keep my mind on my work? All I’ll be wanting to do is get back to my phone and see what you just sent me.

That was a couple of days ago. I’m afraid that then, and since, I’ve been spending the past several weeks cramming things into my mind that it doesn’t normally use. It’s been wedging to the side the things that come naturally, which only tonight flow back into their natural state.

It’s funny how sometimes you have to take a walk and let your mind unpack and decompress. I was quiet and reclusive at dinner and no one really noticed. I finally went for a walk and the thoughts began gently draining, interspersed with prayer. I realized I had feelings of anger towards a colleague who outperforms me at many levels. His knowledge runs deeper, his humor exceeds mine, and he performs better than I. Then I thought of a friend I haven’t spoken with in some time, and how she had received a minor injury. I had to ask forgiveness for the terrible sin of feeling grimly happy at the pain of another. It’s a maladaptive satisfaction of a primitive desire for revenge, and it’s silly and sinful. Things like her actions really shouldn’t hurt me. No one should have that power, except maybe you.

Breathing all those thoughts out and away, I looked to the horizon to see a dim yellow moon, waning as she rises. I think…I think that’s how I feel tonight. A little worn down, a little on the down-swing. Frayed. I have plenty of short-term reasons to feel that way, but even longer-term. I feel older than my years.

Sometimes I read these letters and think you’ll be wondering if I’m bipolar or have radical mood swings, because first I’m confiding dark secrets and sad musings, and then I turn around and weave promises of our happy life together. Maybe you’re going to have to teach me how to laugh and lighten up, but I’m not bipolar. If anything, take from it that I intend to give of myself to you even when I’m feeling bad. I’m just going to need you to be there for me when I am.

Anyway. So it’s been a busy week, full of many new experiences and thoughts. I’m not sure they fall into any specific category and so I list them independent of importance or relevance:

1) I cannot stand people who are infatuated with their own pretentious importance.

2) What if God isn’t training me for politics? Maybe I’m changing. Maybe God is, or His plan for me. My future seems to be. I simply feel a growing sense of hatred towards politics. Or at least the fact that I keep fighting and seldom see results, or am recognized for them. I had to speak at a conference, and I just wanted to get away from it all. I had to stand before a hundred people and impress them, and felt a resistance so strong I had to ask the Lord for the strength and enthusiasm to follow through. (He gave it to me.) Lights and glory don’t do it for me anymore. I don’t feel like I want to do what it takes to pursue the path I thought I was supposed to take. I’m not fake enough. I want to fix problems and have them fixed, not dwell in a perpetual cycle of prolonging the problem because I enjoy making money or attention from it. I shouldn’t be this easy to discourage. I got everything I wanted out of the trip, but I feel detached, like my trip was actually a movie I watched that faded with the credits. I feel like I became someone else for a weekend, immersed in a 48-hour getaway, and that was it.

3) I’m so looking forward to the freedom of travel with you…to make our own decisions and afford our own adventures. I don’t travel alone often, and compare most vacations to the family excursions, which were great fun, and we voted on activities, but to be alone with you and make the decisions ourselves will be fun.

4) A winking green light or vibration on a cellular phone can be a very cheering thing indeed.

5) I wish they would outlaw string bikinis. Seriously. Darling, I work with the human body all the time. Both genders, all parts. As much as I hate that my barriers to the human body were broken down in that way, it was somehow in God’s will so I accept it. But to see someone strutting down the beach in a bikini, and suddenly forced into the position of “look anywhere but there” when you can’t look anywhere BUT there, not because you derive gratification from it, but because, well, that’s some woman’s butt just flaunting and wiggling and strutting around, right out in public. I feel like a woman’s body should be worth more than that. This is a root of my anger towards those who don’t wait. They should be worth more. Sex should be worth more. It shouldn’t be cheap. As a man, I feel like access to a woman’s body should only come with 100% complete lifelong trust and commitment…through marriage. A man should earn and strive for that kind of trust. Flashing it out in public for anyone to see…or giving sex freely cheapens it. It depresses me that so many men take or receive such treasured goods so freely. It’s unfathomable to be so cavalier, so nonchalant. I hope it also means that something they didn’t work for means less to them, but you already knew that as a virgin, I am trying to suppress a growing resentment and hatred for cheaters. No one quite seems to understand this anger I feel. To me, it is perfectly natural. I do know one thing. The years of fighting desire will take their toll on us. You and I are going to have to be extra careful, or we’ll end up playing with matches in the powder room.

6) Every pleasure brings with it the pain of not sharing it with you.

7) My world is shrinking. It’s not that there’s nothing new under the sun, it’s just that under this stoic and impenetrable poker face, those things are less stimulating or surprising. I’ve never been an adrenaline junkie, but the thought of standing on the prow of a boat struggling against a headwind, a sea-spray and rain in my face, the possibility of failure and death looming, somehow appeals to me. There’s not enough risk

I want new sights, new tastes, new sounds and smells. Darling, I’ve done a lot of “big” things now, and I’ve found it’s the small things that bring the greatest pleasure. It’s not standing up before a crowd of important people and delivering a speech…it’s finding a peaceful moment on a deserted beach under a full moon by the ocean. Nature holds more meaning to me than a room full of applause. It’s the little things like going for a run, or finally having a weekend off, that make the difference. It’s a familiar face in a crowd full of strangers. It’s hearing your name shouted out, and turning to see a friend who is glad to see you. It’s the gifts of surprise and laughter, of knowing you can be there for someone, that they need you and you’re making a difference. It’s the stories you gather in life. It’s the things you think won’t be good that surprise you. I’d like to be surprised by goodness again.

8) How many times do you wait (in vain) for someone to show you they care before you assume they don’t?

9) Am I changing? I’m becoming quieter. I realize I laugh less. I’m not as funny with other people as I used to be, and I don’t know why that is. I feel like I’m more boring than I wanted to be. I think if you asked people who knew me, they would stoutly disagree, but I feel that way. I’ve always been a blend of introvert and extrovert, but maybe I favor introversion more these days. It’s always been an ongoing battle in life, to be open or closed. Being open is freeing. I hardly have anything to hide in life…I can afford to be open. But life cuts off your nose if you’re too open. People don’t like a guy who is open, because he makes them feel bad about having so much to hide. A girl was asking me questions about myself the other night, and in my typical frankness, I listed my traits, including faith and waiting till marriage. She, a believer, immediately admitted she was less pure than I. There’s too much shame and sin and regret in their eyes. I don’t want to exist to put people to shame, but nor do I want their shame weighing down my own shoulders.

10) During my trip, I saw so many happy, smarmy, cutesy little love bug couples. If they weren’t so spread out along my journey, I’d have called it a convention. They were clasping each other’s hands, nuzzling each other, stroking each others’ hands, arms, shoulders, kissing. So affectionate, so in love. Sometimes they caught me looking, or almost did because I looked away the moment they appeared to look my way. Oh sure, they’re probably doing it wrong, they’re probably just more cheaters to be angry with. I don’t much care. I’m glad to know love exists, to see it in practice. It’s funny to me how many people malign marriage and discuss their marital displeasure and frustrations. Most of them choose it. And all I can do is look at these happy couples, distantly, wearily envious, wishing it was us. Imagine people taking for granted the most precious and wonderful thing in their life. I can’t help but feel married life, even at its worst, is going to be better than single life.

I want, I need someone to care for me, to show me they care, to give of themselves. As I view the world around me, the mean and meager minds which weigh a man by his measure in money, or what things he can do for them, I feel even more alienated and estranged from them, from the planet they live on. I look at a person for what I can give them, what their needs are. That’s just how my brain works…how God made me. I can hardly claim sainthood. It’s probably actually selfish, because helping others makes me fulfilled and happy. (Sort of.) But every so often, I need that person who wants to know about me and only me.

Darling, my mind may be fertile and rambling, but it is not inexhaustible. Somewhere out there, I hope you are sleeping peacefully and dreaming wonderfully.

Me? I’m just sitting here waiting on forever to begin.

Yours ever,
Beren

October 5, 2012 Posted by | Loneliness, Nights Like These, Purity, Sundry Thoughts | Leave a comment