Letters to Luthien

Letters to My Future Bride

Not Just Anyone

UnknownBrideDear Darling,

“You should be talking to her,” he said. The officer, a friend of mine, who knows my goals and wants me happy. “How old do you think she is?”

I just shake my head.

Tell me, how do you deal with the people who, through no fault of their own, fail to hold your interest? Do you give almost anyone a chance, or are you as discriminating and skeptical as I?

For all their flaws and failings, people do try to be kind when they hear you are single, or newly-single, and will try to set you up with people.

How can you explain what you’re looking for to these people?

Someone at the megachurch tried very hard to set me up with her friend. Someone else has suggested that I date his daughter…or other women in that church. (I haven’t the heart to tell him that anyone satisfied by the superficial placebo sermons presented there is, much to my sadness, almost automatically out of the running.) A production volunteer has prioritized finding and talking to me between services, enough for others to think perhaps we are an item. (I neither encourage nor discourage her, but she knows I am not interested.) Another volunteer outright asked me to coffee.

At the hospital, one or two nurses have told me they want me to meet their daughters…or (between their smoking breaks) make subtle overtures of their own interest. (And in some cases, not so subtly.) And another acquaintance has suggested a girl I should meet.

Darling don’t think I tell you these things to brag or make you jealous. You know you have nothing to worry about, and I know that a woman as fair and kind as you must also be solicited frequently. How do you turn them down gently? I, who would not do injury to another’s heart for worlds, find myself in positions where I must decline with tact and gentleness. It’s kindly meant, but how can you explain the sum total of my philosophy on dating to such as these? How would you summarize the thoughts of these letters into a few fleeting sentences? I know many of these people sufficient to know they lack the qualities I look for in you, and I am skeptical of any other offers of strangers who might fit the bill. I know the impossible odds I face; a random stranger who goes to church and likes guns isn’t nearly a good enough reason to suppose there is great hopes for a marriage. And it’s not like I can ask random women for phone numbers based solely on looks like the rest of the world. In fact, I can’t think of the last time I met a devout servant of Christ where I work. Why pursue a woman and waste her time if you don’t see a marriage in your future? I’ve felt that connection before…those growing hopes that won’t be denied, no matter how viciously your cynicism wants them gone.

How do you tell the people that ask what you’re looking for? How can I explain that I’m looking for a lady rather than a girl? Someone of unimpeachable character, a fist of iron in a glove of velvet, a lady of exceeding purity and depth and faithfulness, a sanctified daughter of the King whose foremost goal is to shine for Him and to set other souls ablaze? Someone who abhors vice, of enduring strength and beauty and grace, who has weathered the storms long enough to recognize the fatigue of battle in another’s eyes, yet not so beat-down that she can’t kiss away those sorrows, or have her burdens lightened and joys multiplied in return?

You know I no longer desire furtherance of the dialogue on purity with my coworkers. I won’t shy away, but people always get quiet and, I think, guilty when I say I’ve upheld that standard and seek its equal in another. What if someone made a mistake, they ask. They think it sounds too harsh to say a woman may do as she pleases, but must accept the consequences of her decisions, since I want someone who values what is sacred, who is strong enough to keep those unspoken vows and has honored the marriage bed. But of course, it’s more than that. How do you explain shyness and boldness wrapped into one? How do you explain that you seek an enchantress who can bewitch with innocence? And how to contend with the many aspiring women who long for their own Beren, but without having to put forth the effort of becoming Luthien?

I need a caretaker for my heart, who will take it in hand and examine it for meaning, combing out the prickles, stings and scars from the day…refreshing it with compassion and grooming it to be loved. I need someone who asks but doesn’t question. Who shares its joys and smiles away its sadness. Who cleanses it with compassion, forgiveness, acceptance and unconditional love.

I love old people, and if ever I discuss the challenge of finding a good-hearted, God-fearing woman that walks the earth in these latter days, they often nod with grave sympathy and understanding in their eyes. They have watched the decline for decades longer than I, enough to know how bad it’s gotten. They know. And they feel bad for me.

You know now that there is nothing I ask that I haven’t already undertaken in myself. When you have my heart, all will be well and whole, and complete. We’ll never have to worry if it was a mistake, because I promise I’ll never marry if I lent any authority to such doubts. And truly, once you wear my ring, you will hold a foresworn promise of devotion and service, no matter what the cost. And all my hopes and purposes and dreams will lie with that ring, and its bearer. All that I have will become yours, not the least of which my heart. I won’t want anyone else. I’ll remind you I love you.

Sometimes, I imagine you already know who I am, and are just waiting for me to find you. Do you know, with a word, you could turn my world around? Sometimes I imagine a day when, if you were to find me, you come right up to me and say “Are you Beren?” or “I’m Luthien” and watch my entire world shift. Everything else would fade away except you, you would draw in all my attention and, as if on cue, I would probably say “What did you say?” Then we would find somewhere private and quiet to talk. All a fantasy of course, but don’t tell me you haven’t imagined your groom, in all his invisible armor and raiment, emerging from the crowd to take your hand and take your breath away?

If I could, I would find you now and set your world to spinning properly. If I could, I would enter your dreams this very night if that would sweeten them. I would find a New Years ball and take you dancing if I could. I would do anything to lighten your load and end your year on a high note. As it is, I can only bottle up these letters from the prison of your absence and hope they wing their way to your heart.

Love always,
Beren

December 29, 2013 Posted by | Holidays, Loneliness, Uncategorized, Wonderfully You | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Not A Great Love?

“When I look around I can see
The spotlights are bright on you and me
We’ve got the floor, and you’re in my arms
How could I ask for more?”

Josh Groban

Dear Darling,

Did you ever notice how everyone wants to be great…but no one wants to prepare for it?

People see movies, hear songs or read books and they’re inspired by a dim reflection of greatness, a brief glint of glory in their eyes that gives them a vision of what it’s like to be amazing. But all too quickly, the light dies. The vision ends. People don’t stoke that fire within themselves, they don’t break out of their comfort zones or go beyond themselves. They don’t choose greatness. Nor do they want to prepare for the day greatness chooses them. They select what is easy, and mediocre is easy. People choose the closest and easiest relationship, and are surprised (yet resigned) when it proves ephemeral. They remain at a mediocre job but live beyond or just above their means, and complain that they can’t get ahead.

They complain about financial and domestic woes, but from so many that I’ve seen, they don’t do what they could to get ahead. They settle…settle for the least, because they don’t strive for the most.

Not me.

Darling, I don’t just want a love that’s good. I won’t settle for okay or fair or average. I want a love that’s great. I don’t mean great as in “this salad is great.” I mean a love that resonate with greatness and renown. I want a love people gossip about, a love too good to be true. I want our love story to ring through the ages. I want a love that is the stuff of legend.

Who are the great love stories of our time? When you think of famous loves, what comes to mind? Robert and Elizabeth Browning? Johnny and June? Odysseus and Penelope? Beren and Luthien?

Oh, maybe they won’t actually write stories about us, or sing of our union when we sleep in our graves, but why shouldn’t we strive for greatness? Give me one good reason why we shouldn’t pursue an affection so pure and thriving as to be the envy of our friends and even strangers?

I want our wedding to be awesome. I want our honeymoon to dazzle. I want our first year together to be fantastic. I want joyous holidays and parties and anniversaries. I want people to grumble that we can’t be as happy as we are together, that something is wrong, or we’re hiding. I want to do things to make them say “wow, he loved her that much!”

I want to defy the naysayers by staying in love, and dumbfound the critics by growing stronger together. I want people to think there’s no way two such good-looking people could have such a rich and abundant life together, to be as happy as we are,  with good job(s), good house, good kids and still in love.

I want to set our kids an example. I want to set other peoples’ kids an example. I want our families to admire us and emulate us not for the great virtue we possess, or the glory we contrive, but for the blessing of the God we serve.

I even want our fights to be good! Loud and proper, but short and fleeting, like a passing squall. I want fights where we can both break down in laughter at how absurd the situation is, or fights where we can both be so logical that one side clearly must concede to the other. I want people to say “that was your argument?!” Regardless, I want us to be willing to forgive each other quickly…then spend half the night making it up to each other.

It’s not like I want to make people jealous, or that I want an audience. In fact, I want to be so blissfully in love with you that we don’t even notice the others. I merely want to enfold ourselves in a love so fantastic that the necessary byproduct is inspiration.

I want to inspire. I want to foster a romance for the ages, where our children and our children’s children look at us and aspire to have a love like ours. I want to outshine movie couples and make them look like two-dimensional TV flings.

I plan on doing my part. My love, I want you to look at me with teeth that can’t stop smiling and say “you’re amazing.” I want to earn that kind of love and joy. I’ve only just begun to list the promises of things I want to do to give us a better life.

Of course, as in all things, we must acknowledge reality’s unplanned invasion and admit it may not always be like that. I can see the sleep-deprived day of dogs barking, baby screaming, hair stringing, faucets leaking and phone ringing. I know you well enough by now to know you’re real, and life will be real. But is that any excuse not to try?

Come on, gorgeous. Dare to dream with me. Take my hand and let’s jump together. Even if we don’t hit the moon, we can dance among the stars.

Love always,
Beren

November 2, 2012 Posted by | To Be The One, Wonderfully You | 3 Comments

Arrogance: The Audacity of Aspiration

Arrogance.

People speak it of me as often as I caution you and guard against myself.

Who am I to sit here behind a keyboard, plucking the sappy strings of romance, aspiring to anything higher than anyone else?

Why should I dare ask you for a love that rivals the movies? To be vulnerable, to watch over me and encourage me, to make me feel again and lift me out of the depths of myself…to save herself for me?

Who am I to make solemn promises and anticipate a life of higher calling together? What fervent audacity drives me to write these letters and hope for some thunder-struck, unknown beauty to tiptoe in from beyond the veil and into my arms? Isn’t a common, everyday “good enough” love sufficient for me? Why should I to pledge something greater, why crave a love that rattles the stars, that turns heads, that rings through generations? What arrogance.

Darling! No wife of mine deserves anything less!

Why should everyone else settle for less than amazing? The whole world laments the loss of innocence, the death of greatness, but no one tries! No one does what it takes to obtain that greatness, to achieve something better than ordinary.

I reject the notion that common is all we need strive for. I have chosen to live my life like nobody else, so that I can live life like nobody else.

In short, I chose (and was chosen) to be amazing. Is it so bold to seek a woman equal to the task?

Yet Darling, you know the things I have written of. You know I have walked where few others have. You know I strive every day with a calling that soars and strangles me, sometimes both in a day. Is it so brazen to ask of you to share this calling?

I will not settle, nor apologize, nor compromise. I will not surrender to fear that I will not find you, or give in to temptation, or assent to mediocrity.

Life and love were meant to be lived abundantly. I reject base commonality and choose to strive for greatness. And yes, I dare to hope and aspire to finding a woman capable of the same.

Darling, come join me and let’s be amazing together.

August 20, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized, Wonderfully You | Leave a comment

In Anticipation of…Hair

Dear Darling,

What’s the first thing you notice in a guy?

Is it his smile? His height or weight? His style, his manner of walk, or his eyes?

For me it’s hair. It’s not the only thing, but since I can safely say that 80%-90% of what I notice right off is what’s going on above the neck, hair is a big deal.

Maybe it sounds like a weird thing to dwell on, but I don’t care, I’ll say it anyway. It’s one of the first things I notice about a woman, any woman. Maybe because it says so much about you.

If you dye it, does it mean you’re less content with the way you are? Or always wanting to change? If you cut it short, is it because you don’t want to be bothered with maintenance, or you’re not comfortable being a feminine?

Hair is such a crown for women…it mystifies me that so many of them hack, crop and cut it so short.

Of course, there may be any of a thousand reasons why you have it short, or dye it, or whatever. I’m not criticizing. We all have our preferences about appearance, and this is one of mine; hair long and wonderful for me to adore. To have license to run my hands through it, to come up behind you and breathe in the fragrance you use (some off-brand conditioner you couldn’t name to save your life could quickly become the scent of adoration), to caress it against my face.

I can brush it for you sometimes, if you like. Maybe you can even teach me how to help you put it up.

I already know it’s going to be beautiful. I wonder what will it look like when I first see you. Will you have it put up? Will you let it down to blow freely in the wind? Will I even remember? You know there’s nothing quite so attractive as a woman letting her hair down, nor yet, a woman whose hair dances in the golden splendor of sunset.

I used to think I had a preference on the color. Such a trivial matter in the end, really. I’m partial to darker, richer colors like black or dark brown. But if you’ve blonde or auburn hair, what does it matter? I’m good with just about any of them. (Depending on the blonde, it tends to be overused nowadays.) Curly or straight? Again, when it comes to our actual meeting, the matter will be too trivial to care, but I always liked the straight and smooth look better.

You will pardon me my dear, and I don’t mean this suggestively in the slightest, but I can see me “petting” you a great deal in our early months. When finding a treasure after such a long search, any man would keep it nearby, and sometimes reach out just to touch and remind himself it’s still there. How much more would I not reach out to cradle the beautiful head of my bride against my chest, and stroke your curls softly as you close your eyes, snuggle in to the warmth and listen to my heart beat or my voice reverberating through my chest. Your hair is just one of a thousand charms that make you so unique and wonderful…one of a thousand simple questions that remain unanswered in your absence…one of a thousand traits whose discovery I’m anticipating.

Love you dear.

-Beren

April 10, 2012 Posted by | Anticipation, Wonderfully You | 2 Comments

How You Inspire

“You inspire me; when my eyes begin to glaze
You inspire me in so many ways
When I’m on the ground
You seem to know how to pull the blessings down
And spread them all around
You inspire me…”

Engelbert Humperdinck 

Even now, you’re inspiring me. Did you know that? You are.

You’re inspiring me to write these letters to you. At present, I’ve written almost seventy, and I have another forty-two drafts.

I keep getting hit with thoughts and ideas to share with you. I keep a pen and paper handy so I can write them down and remember them.

Somehow when I daydream about you, I become a better man. The thoughts and feelings which surround you in my head inspire me to be better, and to want better, and to do better.

Woman has been inspiring Man for thousands of years, you know. You make us better. You make us want to reach for more when we would be content with less.

I’ve heard people often say they want to get married because they love the person they become when they’re with their spouse-to-be. I’ve felt a corner of that inspiration before in real life. I once wrote a poem. And it was easy. It just came to me, my thoughts written in verse and rhyme.

That’s not typical. Not for me.

That’s what makes me look forward to when you and I actually come together. It may be selfish, but I know I’ll feel that renewed drive to shoot for the sky and push myself to be better and do better, for you. I know you’re going to make me a better man.

Until then, I’ll just keep writing, thinking…and dreaming.

March 18, 2012 Posted by | Wonderfully You | Leave a comment

Your Name

“Call me darlin’, call me sweetheart, call me dear,
Thrill me , darlin’, with words I want to hear.
In your dark eyes so smilin’, a promise I see,
But your two lips won’t say you care for me.
Oh my darlin’, if my daydreams would come true,
You would meet me at a secret rendezvous,
And I’d find the paradise that lies deep in your eyes;
Call me darlin’, call me sweetheart, call me dear.”
– Peggy Lee

Dear Darling,

Out of the clamor of voices in a crowd, did you ever get startled and wheel around when someone shouted your name?

I don’t hear my name called very often. With those who know you, you are almost known too well to be called by name, at least not often. I see so many people and fail to remember so many names, but it still takes me by surprise when someone remembers or uses my name. (My appearance and the impression I leave people usually means they remember me when I don’t remember them.)

Asking or exchanging names is so often the first step in an introduction, the first step in a friendship, the first step in a romance. Odds are it’s how you and I will begin. A name can unlock so much about a person! With a first and last name, the internet can reveal so much of one’s history so easily.

And too, think of what a weighty privilege God gives us, to name our children. It’s one of those rare, practically eternal decisions we are allowed to make; the name we choose to bestow is the name that men and even God Himself will call that child by the rest of their life.

I was thinking about this driving home tonight, wondering what your name is. An idle thought, I suppose, but the stars made me lonely again, and I miss you and need you. Of course there are names I favor more than others. But as I told you before, I don’t care what others call you, so long as I may call you mine.

One other thought struck me on the drive home also; I won’t be able to show you these letters for a while.

Mind you, I get the impression that once I find you, the chase will be over before it begins. We’re both looking for something specific. Once we find that, and find attraction in each other’s eyes, all that’s left is to hurry up and wait, take things slow as we get to know one another. (Although in my minimal experience dating, sometimes you find what you’re looking for, and it’s not what you’re looking for at all. That’s when you get your heart ripped out…and sometimes when you’re the one doing the ripping.)

But even still, this is my corner of the internet, the place where every so often I pierce the wall of my heart and leave its bleeding imprint on these pages in relief of my sorrow and in hopes of our happiness. Not even my closest family know about this place. But don’t worry. Come our wedding, I think you’ll know all about these notes. And come our wedding night, I’ll present you with a chest of the letters from the last four years which no other eyes have seen.

Until then, I remain

Yours most faithfully,
Beren

March 4, 2012 Posted by | Wonderfully You | Leave a comment