Letters to Luthien

Letters to My Future Bride

Pray For Me

Dear Darling,

Pray for me.

Pray for me before we meet. Pray for me as your unknown groom and the loneliness and emptiness I feel. Pray for your husband in waiting at night as you’re laying down your head.

Pray for me when you have all but given up hope that you’ll find me…because I’ve been there too.

Pray for me when you’re a little giddy because you think you’ve met me but aren’t sure. Pray for your unknown groom and me, and always remember not to conclude too quickly that it’s me.

Pray for me (and us) as we grow closer together.

Pray for me (and us) to make the right decisions for me, you and us as we consult the Lord about His plans for our future.

Pray for us, to keep our minds, hearts and bodies pure.

Pray for me to have the courage to open up, the prudence to know when, and the patience to take it slowly.

Pray for me to have courage, because I might be nervous proposing.

Pray for me before the wedding, because I’ll be praying for you. Pray that this marriage will be of God, and eternally founded in His will, and that any doubt will swiftly be met with the peace and reassurance God gave Joseph.

Pray that our wedding will go perfectly, as well as the capacity to accept what goes wrong.

Pray for me as we start our lives together. I’ll have some pressure on me to provide and lead.

Pray for me to be a good dad, a good employee, a good husband. Pray for me to be a good citizen and a better Christian. Pray for me to be open to whatever God will call us.

Even when you’re mad at me. Even when I’m not fun to be around. Pray for me.

Pray for God’s strength to challenge the world. Pray for me to be a good leader. Pray for grace and truth. Pray for me to have the wisdom to know what is right, and the courage to do what is right.

I’m praying for you, every day, just like I promised. Won’t you please do the same?

Love always,
Beren

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December 7, 2012 Posted by | Who I Need You To Be | 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

When’s It My Turn?

Dear Darling,

I hate that all of my thoughts lately seem sad and forlorn. You must by now believe that I am always sad. I’m not always. I think I am only sad when I think of you, because I want to talk to you and can’t. I want to be with you and you’re not here. I want to love you and cherish you and nuzzle you and hold your hand…and I can’t.

I wonder if I ever will.

I wonder when it’s going to be my turn? When do I get to lay down for a leisurely Sunday nap…with you sighing contentedly next to me? When will I have someone to bring home flowers to? When can I go for a Sunday drive to look at all these autumn colors? They only last a week or two.

When will I meet the woman who will take pride in bearing our children? When do I get to be the one posting blissful statuses, taking pictures of you and I together, making memories? When do I get to hold our first son or daughter, feeling so happy I could burst, and you sitting there in bed, exhausted and yet overjoyed simply because I am happy?

When will I know the someone that I truly connect with? The person I don’t have to hide any side of me, the person who would see  through me even if I did try to hide? Where is the person who will put a smile on my face just by texting? The person who makes my heart skip a beat when she gets out of her car, or butterflies just by walking through the door? When can I meet the one who makes me happy just because she’s alive?

When can I find the destiny I aspire to, not a fate to resign myself to? When’s it my turn to find the person who makes me be a better man, the man I want to become, just by being with her? The person who introduces me to the other side of myself — the thoughts I have but can’t voice, the songs I feel but haven’t heard, the feelings I know but can’t understand? When will I find the person who brings me peace, who helps me become me?

Sometimes it’s hard to reconcile being lonely with who I know my Father to be. He promised He would never leave me, and He never has. But He also made me to need you…to need love and kindness, hugs and the warmth of human flesh and bone. He’s not here to put His arms around me. He wants me to stand on my own two feet and be Him to the world. I know that is my ultimate calling. But we all hope for a reward. We hope there’s a causal connection between our decisions and the consequences, between action and outcome. Choosing righteousness should carry with it the scorn of the world, but also the smile of the Father. There should be blessings. We’re guaranteed to suffer and be outcasts in His name, and while I’ve not been thrown to any lions, I can testify that bearing the name of Jesus will isolate and exclude. Either I have not chosen righteousness, or the rewards haven’t arrived yet, or simply won’t.

You know, it’s kind of funny, but I don’t like to be served. And yet…I do.It’s a strange dichotomy and I don’t have it figured out well enough to explain it to you. If someone does something as simple as complimenting me, I feel in their debt, and immediately grasp for the debt’s repayment by offering them a compliment. If someone thanks me for something, I automatically say “thank you” even if I know I’m the only one that did anything. I’d rather do something myself than be served or waited on. And yet…and yet I want, desperately want someone to care enough to do that. If the things I do go unnoticed, I feel unappreciated and unloved. Maybe the results don’t matter…maybe I just want someone to try, to show me I mean something, that they care. I often feel as if those around me don’t care very much, or at least don’t show it.

I know you and I are going to become the most important thing on earth to each other, Darling, and that’s why I can’t wait to meet you. I know that even if we fight, even if the rest of the world turns against us, we’ll have each other.

I’m not sad all the time. I’m just lonely.

More than anything, I want the person who looks into my eyes with sincerity, kindness and love, peering into my heart and unmasking my soul. The woman who will let me empty myself of myself and give to her.

The woman who has been through so much, who needs saving and shelter and comfort, but looks at me and says “Isn’t it time someone saved  you?”

Love ever,
Beren

October 22, 2012 Posted by | Loneliness, Who I Need You To Be | Leave a 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

How Do I Get You Alone?

“You don’t know how long I have wanted
To touch your lips and hold you tight, oh
You don’t know how long I have waited
And I was gonna tell you tonight
But the secret is still my own
And my love for you is still unknown
Alone…”

Dear Darling,

You ever get that feeling you’ve been left behind? I’ve spoken of it before, and there are multiple reasons why. But in this case, I speak of “missing out” on relationships.

There are times (all too often) I glance around at friends or even the few people I’ve had dates with, reflecting on their past relationships, and wonder how I missed their boat?

They’ve had heartbreak, yes, and dearly bought. But they purchased it with the times of complete happiness, trust, friendship, acceptance, love. They had someone to snuggle up next to, who for a time promised to love and cherish and endure. Or even if they knew it wasn’t going to be a forever love, they still felt rested and secure in that partnership for a time. It seems everyone has their sob stories, their tales of previous relationships. They simply accept love and loss as a consequence of life. They’ve had the beautiful agony of having their heart broken — the kind of pain some hearts just can’t wait to earn.

I stand alone quite comfortably (it comes from practice!) but I do catch myself wondering if I missed the boat. I don’t have a laundry list of exes. I’ve never felt the pain of a broken heart and shattered promises, nor borrowed the mortgaged wages of joy and contentment to find it.

People take relationships so lightly nowadays. They have their boyfriends or girlfriends, and of course it goes without saying that the overwhelming majority are sleeping together. And in my position of abstention and curiosity borne of innocence and ignorance (which most people my age gave up a a decade ago), I hear them talking about their “significant other” nonchalantly, and I want to say “Wait, you’re in a relationship? Like, you’re in love? Is it for real? Is it forever? If it is, why aren’t you happier? If it isn’t, why are you still together? Don’t you realize you’re being cavalier about a side of life some of us would give fortunes to obtain?” Or if I learn they’re fornicating, I want to demand why, how, when did that start, don’t they know it’s wrong, why don’t they stop, don’t they know they could create a pregnancy, contract a disease?

Then there are the friends of mine who post those baby pictures on Facebook. Even the ones that did it right, I want to ask them if they ever wake up and realize they’re younger than me, and they’re making babies. They’re actually legally and morally enjoying conjugal relations together (hello envy), and making new humans. They’re becoming parents. All they do is post the pictures, or announce the birth. Don’t they realize it’s a miracle? Don’t they realize people are inwardly mourning, pining, yearning, craving after that?

Somehow…it just seems like there should be more to it.

Maybe in today’s era of not having sex “until you are ready” there is an absence of ceremony which makes any such experiences, whether relationships or sex or marriage or children far less significant.

Is it selfish to want you to be free of all this? Not children, but I mean, the blazed trail of boyfriends and exes? I can mend your heart Darling, but am I lazy to ask that we not require so much time to gather the pieces? Is it so foolish and unrealistic to entertain hopes that you and I can discover love together — not rediscover it? I don’t want you to be thinking about how this is like your last date, or making comparisons. I want to make memories with you, not overwrite the old ones.

Because I have so few ghosts in my past, I hold a dim and sad hope that I can meet an equal in you.

You already know I reflect too much on things, on my life so far. I look back at the things I’ve done for people. Pardon a swell of ego, but I do feel proud of what I’ve done, where people have been and how far they’ve come. God is ultimately responsible Darling, you know that, but friends have told me how much I’ve helped. I feel too young to be a mentor and leader…but I feel too old not to be.

And yes, more and more that selfish side of me is kicking in, frowning at all the withdrawals and none of the deposits in the bank of good deeds, stamping its foot and asking where the person is who will do that for me? Where is the soul who will step up at bat on my behalf, and be there for me, force themselves through my defenses (“Hey, you keep trying to talk about me, I’m asking about you“) just to listen and sympathize and encourage? Where’s the person who will recognize when I need a hug, and give it freely without expectation, and without making me feel like a wimp for needing one?

Brace yourself for another shot of that legendary ego Darling, but…I don’t think you’ll ever find anyone else like me. I can’t find anyone else like me. I know because of the way people react to me…the surprise when I stand on the bus to offer my seat to a woman. I know because they’re surprised when I put their needs first, or when they learn I’m waiting for marriage, and have been saving my love for you.

I know, because I’ve looked. We all look. We want to find someone like ourselves, to share our thoughts and feelings with. Do you disagree? Very well then, find me these men. Tell me where you have any man who dares bare his heart to a watching world, who pours his efforts and energies into prosaic works of writing, humble though they may be, guaranteeing you all of the joys and wonders and promises that await you as my bride? Tell me where these noble warriors are who promise chivalry, virtue, protection, love, music, romance? Which of them are educated, ambitious, tall, healthy, industrious, studious, and serve Christ with a heart that at least tries to be selfless? How many of them are following the quiet path of a higher calling, willing to lead and give you security and comfort to submit? Tell me when you find them — and where. I need companionship, and I know many a maid that needs such a man.

I do hope we needn’t sort through the complications of the various fellows you’ve splintered your heart for. Forgive me if that’s selfish. Forgive me if I hope for too much in seeking someone who can give with half so richly and vigorously as I intend to.

Love always,
Beren

“Till now I always got by on my own
I never really cared until I met you
And now it chills me to the bone
How do I get you alone
How do I get you alone.”

September 6, 2012 Posted by | Loneliness, Purity, Who I Need You To Be | Leave a comment

Our Sundays

“Oh surrender in much sweeter
When we both let it go
Let the water wash our bodies clean
And love wash our souls
Pray that it’s raining on Sunday
Stormin’ like crazy
We’ll hide under the covers all afternoon
Baby whatever comes Monday
Can take care of itself
‘Cause we got better things that we could do
When it’s raining on Sunday.”

– Keith Urban

Dear Darling,

Today’s lazy Sunday afternoon had all the right ingredients. There was heavy, steady rain and a football game. I love rain, and it was the perfect sleepy Sunday afternoon. (I’m not overly fond of sports, but it’s fine to watch a game now and again isn’t it?)

It doesn’t matter; I fell asleep during it, I had to work, and of course, you weren’t there.

So as always, I headed off to work, through the rain, thinking of the ways our lives will change once we’re together and composing this letter in my mind on the ride home.

I keep coming back to this one idea: This should be our time. These lazy afternoons should be ours, to stay inside, talk, laugh, get even better acquainted, take lazy naps. cuddle on the couch, have staring contests. We should be able to huddle under a blanket, watch an old black and white movie, sit on the porch sipping tea and watching it rain. (I don’t like tea, but you get the idea.) We could go for a walk in the rain and get drenched, or stay inside and go through the Sunday newspaper, checking for coupons and price matches.

I feel needy right now, Darling. I don’t want to, but I do. I need you desperately. Not needy as in, “gee I wish there was a girl here to do things for me” but needy as in, that “can’t think about anything but finding you so we can plan our wedding” kind of needy…as in, “everyone roll their eyes because he just made another bitter singles joke about why he’s still single when THAT guy is married.” Honestly, I expect you to be needy too; I’ll be disappointed if you aren’t, because then I’d feel weak and silly, and I’d feel this macho need to button everything back up inside so you won’t see how weak I am.

I need someone to identify with me, because very often I feel like I’m alone in a crowded room — any crowded room. In the world, experience seasons and matures. There are those less mature than you, peers who are roughly your equals, and those more wise than you. Ideally, you find a cross-section of all three with whom to spend time. Yet it seems it’s very hard to find the wise ones, or the peers. Instead, I find so many who are new to the faith, or at least newer. I want to find people better than me. Mentors, people more advanced, people who can teach me. And I simply can’t find them. Does that mean I’m arrogant? “Stop looking to be served and start serving?” is the implication. “Brave little coal, seek not to be warmed, but rather share your heat with the others, even if your own light is dimmed.”

No dear, I need to find others who identify with what it is to be me. I’m tired of being the one always expected to give! There are unique challenges to the lives God has given me, both humble and great, and just because some of them are great is no reason why I should not seek someone who can understand me and not judge, condemn or question. That’s one reason why I need you to be pure. You’ll know what it’s like to face the challenges I do. You won’t hear arrogance if I lament that I feel like the last of the strong, or if I vent my frustration and hurt and anger about people who don’t wait.

I also need you to be proud of me. Oh please, please be the kind of woman who can look at me in my moments of doubt and say “I believe in you”  with shining eyes! Show me I’m special to you. Show me I mean something. It’s going to mean so much to me.

You see, because of the various different experiences I’ve had, I feel comfortable in facing down a lot of situations. I’m accustomed to being the one that takes initiative and does something useful while everyone else just stands around.  With the training and experiences I’ve had, I’ll be the first to admit it’s been built up to a rare degree; people think I’ve got this enormous ego, this alpha complex; “No you don’t understand, how is it that I wound up being this big smart perfect guy that all these girls hit up or make eyes at?” I felt like a heel for having to be only cordial with a young lady who is clearly interested, for whom I feel no interest whatsoever. I was preparing for you Darling, not them. It isn’t worth much to me by itself, and I was never trying to impress a bunch of people. It’s a genuine frustration to be the guy everyone thinks is so cool or amazing or smart or tall and handsome and accomplished. I try to keep it in check, balance it out with humility. I’ll dumb down my opinion if someone asks, because I don’t want to tell someone how much time I’ve spent studying a political, scientific or philosophical issue. I’ll keep silent even if I know the answer, because I don’t wish to presume my knowledge on someone else.  But sometimes, I’ll know when to lead, I’ll know when to step up and say look, I’m your guy, here’s what we need to do, I know how to do this, let’s tackle it together. Sometimes recognizing your own competencies sounds boastful, even if you’re not trumpeting them.

Truth be told, that ego of mine may give a good showing on the outside, but it’s actually kind of frail. I can’t be the one to remind myself I matter…I won’t believe myself. I need you to do that. I promise I’ll never let you forget how much you matter to me.

I know I’ve said this before, but I persistently find myself just wanting someone to talk to. It’s a simple need; just someone to call to unwind, unburden, decompress, debrief, and in turn, listen to someone else do the same. It’s strongest when I get off work. Sometimes I’ll just text distant friends because I want someone to talk to. Because I also care how they are, and because I recognize friendships are give and take, I always lead by asking how they are, how their day was, what they’re up to. Then I get frustrated because they answer and don’t ask about me, or don’t text back.

One or two have learned. (There I go again, how arrogant to “teach” someone to care!) Now they actually text ME at random intervals in a day or week. But they never ask after me very deeply.

I suppose I’m not making much sense to you. The things I write here are in defense or response to a day’s worth of musing over interactions, failures and the comments of friends and family.

I hope wherever you are, Darling, you found time to walk in the rain tonight. That way, at least, the raindrops can do what I can’t…caress your cheek and make you feel happier.

Yours truly,
Beren

September 3, 2012 Posted by | Loneliness, Nights Like These, Sundry Thoughts, Who I Need You To Be | Leave a comment

In Sickness And In Health

Dear Darling,

I almost never get sick.

Maybe once a year, and that not very badly. I try to eat right, I exercise and I don’t engage in unhealthy habits.

But every now and again, I catch some passing illness, or fall prey to some physical ailment, and heaven knows what ills and traumas will befall us both as we age.

Presently, I’ve got people who make sure I’m not dying in bed, but I rather like the idea of you playing nurse-maid for me. I don’t know, maybe that’s just the clearest image in my mind of a wife who cares for me. I’m selfish that way. I want to see worry line your face, I want to see a furrowed brow, knitted and creased with anxiety. There’s something endearing and enthralling about a woman who makes a man’s worries her own.

I think about it because I’m feeling the slightest effects of ill health tonight. Nothing serious, nothing chronic, just enough to put me out of sorts. It’s frustrating because so much is in transition right now, I’m under many stresses and pressures, and I don’t need an impairment, however brief, to cloud my judgment.

And so of course, my thoughts turn to you, and how when we’re alone and I’m sick, you’ll take charge. How you’ll be that someone to watch over me. You’ll lay my armor aside and order me to bed. You’ll bring blankets, and hot water bottles, and cough syrups and herbs and medicines. It will be nothing worse than a debilitating cold or flu, but I’ll still have to tell you to stop calling the doctor.

You’ll read to me or see to it I have reading supplies. (Would you ever read to me anyway? I mean, as a normal course of events? Please?)

You’ll wipe my head with a cool damp cloth, you’ll monitor my temperature, you’ll massage my shoulders and plump my pillow. I’ll be sick and miserable and undesirable, but I can see you pampering me and turning me into a big baby. If I am so unfortunate as to be sick enough not to cherish your efforts at the time, I know it will be sweet and beautiful, and when I come out the other side a healthy man again, I’ll find some brilliant way to reward you.

Who knows! You might be one of those lethally practical kinds who confines me to bed and orders me around, out of love, but firmly. I’m trying to keep an open mind, Darling.

Oft times, no good deed goes unpunished. Perhaps in vengeance for your alliance with me against the affliction, it will take out its vengeance on you. All I know is, in that hour, be prepared for me to pamper and baby you. Hot soup in bed. And endless supply of movies and DVDs. I’ll come home from work with an arm full of flowers, a get-well teddy bear and a stack of poetry books. I’ll sit in a rocking chair while you sip on fluids, and ease your mind with Tennyson or Ella Wheeler Wilcox. I’ll smooth your hair, and part the matted parts plastered against your forehead to plant a kiss on it.

In this way, as in all others, we’ll care for each other. These will simply be the trials where we are less desirable creatures for whom to care. In a strange way, I welcome these as a chance to prove my love extends beyond mere sentiment. I promised I would love you in sickness and in health, and to that I will always hold.

Yours truly,
Beren

August 28, 2012 Posted by | Who I Need You To Be | 1 Comment

Can You Love Me That Much?

Dear Darling,

Do you think you could love me the way I ask? The way I plan to love you, the way I love you even now? Could you? Dare I hope?

Remember that scene in It’s A Wonderful Life, where George has just used his own savings to rescue the Building & Loan from the monopolistic Mr. Potter, and is so determined he forgets he’s married, and then finds his bride has made their home in an abandoned and run-down house? A bed is prepared, food is made ready, a table is set, and she stands serenely anticipating the arrival of her husband: “Welcome home Mr. Bailey.”

Could you love me like that?

Do you think you could meet me where I am? Could you go above and beyond to win my love? Could you try to make me the happiest man in the world, would things become important to you only because they’re important to me? Would you seek out the things in my heart and try to make them real for me? Would you sometimes put my preferences first, just because you love me?

Can you spur me on to greater things in life? Can you gently and painlessly rebuke me, hint at a necessary change in my tone, attitude or outlook?

Could you text me, not just because you want to know how I’m doing, but because you know I need to have someone ask? I’m not going to lie…when I wake up, I check my phone first thing. I want to see if I’ve received any e-mails during the night, or any texts. One (former) prospect did this often, sending texts for me to wake up to.

Could you come to the end of the day, having survived either a rough day at work or a rough day at home, and be on your last nerve, and press yourself to prepare a warm meal…just because you know I’ve had a hard day?

When you ask me how I’m doing, can you see through my attempts to deflect? Can you throw aside your own cares, narrow in on mine, take my face in your hands and order me to stop avoiding the question and let someone care about me for a change?

Would you exercise with me because you know I sometimes fret about winding up being married to someone who is overweight and inattentive to her appearance?

Could you plan a meal, a trip, a party, just to surprise me?

Can you dig me out of myself? I need you to. It might take holding your nose, it might take diving into a place no one has ever willingly gone, but I need you to try. I need you to have gritted determination to help me, so much that you’ll push past my own defenses.

The switch from Capra to Wheedon is hardly gradual, but did you ever see the scene in the film Serenity where the crew is all stuck and surrounded by the animalistic Reavers, and the deceptively cunning yet innocent River says “You take care of me, Simon. You’ve always taken care of me. My turn.” She then commits a heroic act to save the crew and protect her friend.

Would you fight for me? Would you stand with me, even if it meant against impossible odds, against the whole world? Would your love for me be so great that you could never imagine being with another, could never imagine a life happier than the one you chose with me?

I don’t have to be the happiest man in the world. I just want to be the happiest I’ve ever been. I just hope I can find someone who plans in her heart to give me as much happiness as I plan to give.

There’s not much that makes me tremble, love. But the thought of missing out on that, life’s greatest adventure, is one.

Love always,
-Beren

August 15, 2012 Posted by | Loneliness, Who I Need You To Be | 2 Comments

Who I Need You To Be: Weak

“It ticks just like a Timex
It never lets up on you
Who said life was easy?
The job is never through
It’ll run us ’til we’re ragged
It’ll harden our hearts
And love could use a day of rest
Before we both start falling apart.”
– Keith Urban

Dear Darling,

I need you to be weak.

Does that surprise you? Let me explain.

I don’t mean all the time. I don’t mean the shrinking violet that blanches at the slightest provocation, or the blushing beauty that crumbles at the slightest travail, or faints at the feel of her own pulse. I don’t mean someone that can’t summon grit to cope with the world, or be tough, or open her own pickle jars.

I mean vulnerable.

Don’t misunderstand…I think you should have walls up. It wouldn’t mean anything if you took down your guard so easily and shared the deep and tender feelings of the fragile interior. It has to be earned. And besides, I’m good with walls.

But I need you to be vulnerable. I don’t need you always putting on the poker face and being a stoic to deal with life’s tragedies. I need you to have the excitement and enthusiasm of a little child. I need you to be bright and cheery and encouraging sometimes. And yes, when you are down, I need to see that too. I want to see it. I want to see the heartache, the sadness, the depression. Those emotions are rare and precious, and although they hurt, they hurt in a place deep down inside of us, a place that few emotions actually can reach. I want to earn your trust so completely that you escort me even into those places.

They tell me that a woman just feels down sometimes. She doesn’t want a lecture on why life is good. She just wants her man to wrap his arms around her and tell her everything is going to be okay. See? I’ve been paying attention! I’ve been trying to learn.

Life is all rot, you know that. It’s going to point at something shiny on the ground and then rip the rug out from under us so we fall. Then it comes up and kicks us while we’re down, and throws dust in our eyes. It’s brutal and merciless. It’ll beat us until we’re ragged and breathless. We’ll have to lean on each other, two battered and broken beings trying to make our way like, as the song says, two sparrows in a hurricane.

I will be good at reading you. I’ll know when you’re down. I can’t promise I won’t always have my vision clouded by my own troubles, or be hurt you didn’t rush to soothe mine, but I’ll do my best.

But I won’t lie, sometimes you might have to tell me. Sometimes you might have to completely stop talking until the silence alarms me and I look at you, or you might just have to catch my eye, walk right into my personal body space (do you think such a thing will even exist for us after marriage?) and grab my gaze and say “hold me.”

I will.

Maybe you can teach me how too. Men don’t like to be vulnerable. We don’t like to admit our inabilities or weaknesses. We want to be independent and strong, because the moment we lean on something we’re no longer trusting ourselves. We’re risking. We’re being vulnerable, we’re trusting that something we’re putting our weight on won’t bottom out and leave us falling or hurting. We’re investing, and with it comes that risk of loss or hurt. And then there’s that whole guy image to maintain. But I’m willing to learn…I think.

Is any of this making sense? I want you to be guarded. I won’t mind scaling the walls. But you have to let down your hair for me to climb, and the window has to be open when I get there. It doesn’t have to be all gold and glitter.

I’ll take the sad with the happy, as long as it’s you.

June 19, 2012 Posted by | Who I Need You To Be | 1 Comment

Who I Need You To Be #6: Someone To Watch Over Me

“There’s a somebody I’m longing to see
I hope that she turns out to be
Someone who’ll watch over me
I’m a little lamb who’s lost in the wood
I know I could always be good
To one who’ll watch over me

Although I may not be the man some
Girls think of as handsome
To her heart I’ll carry the key
Won’t you tell her please to put on some speed
Follow my lead, oh how I need
Someone to watch over me.”
Sinatra

Hello Darling,

I hope I’ve spent enough time telling you my plans to serve and honor and respect you enough not to seem demanding or insistent by sharing my hopes for you in return. There are times where I think I would be content simply with a woman who, if she was lovely in my eyes, I would love even if she did not love me in return. But then I remember that you’re actually going to add to my life too. And I remember that in the beginning, Woman was created to help ease the burden of Man…to help him. Man tended the garden, Woman tended man.

I do need you to tend me. I’m not looking for another mother, but let’s face it, men would keep an untidy lifestyle if it weren’t for women. We would be content with less, our lives would be less colorful, we wouldn’t aim quite so high. You make us work harder and shoot for more. You bring light and freshness and livelihood to our existence. You color, and you inspire.

And you help. There’s things you can do better than me. The stereotypical joke is that a woman’s place is in the kitchen. Of course it isn’t. But isn’t there fulfillment to be found in doing those things for a man that he can’t do himself, at least not as well? The full stomach and hearty kindness of a warm meal is unparalleled. I’ve already told you I plan on surprising you a few times by returning the favor. It’s not that the task is menial and therefore relegated to a woman. It’s that this is one of the best ways you can bless me.

I remember seeing a commercial of an older woman bundling up an older man in his scarf for a wintery excursion. It was well-acted; the woman looked like she really was staring into the eyes of the man she’d loved for decades. He stood there and smiled, letting her wrap him up. A sappy insurance advertisement? Of course. But they make those things to tap into certain sentiments, and when I saw that, I thought of you.

“That tie doesn’t go with that shirt, try this one.”

“Take that shirt off and let me iron it! No man of mine is going out of the house in a suit he looks like he slept in!”

“You look tired, is everything alright?”

It’s not just cooking and ironing. It’s everything. It’s “can I get you anything?” It’s you bringing a jacket by work that I forgot, when it turns unexpectedly colder. It’s helping order an entire household and making it a home. It’s helping raise our children.

It’s a reflection of the self-sacrifice that I hope to give you every day of our lives. Don’t you see? If I look after you and you look after me, then we can both be happy, for each other’s needs will be met, yet we’ll refrain from being selfish and live instead in a constant state of service and giving.

I don’t care if I’m sick and hurting. I can deal with it. I just look forward to your look of concern and worry that warms me from the inside out. I look forward to a kind, loving embrace and a desire to look after and tend to me.

After all, it will free me up to look after you.

May 2, 2012 Posted by | Who I Need You To Be | 2 Comments