Letters to Luthien

Letters to My Future Bride

18 Romantic Snow Day Ideas

02. Wierusz-Kowalski, Alfred - Goraca sannaDear Darling,

It’s snowing again. I can look out the broad windows and see a fresh and generous cloud of snow coating the city that sleeps. I guessed it would be a cold and snowy winter for once, and so it has.

I love snow. It excites me, activates the little kid in me. It’s beautiful, and inspiring. There’s only one thing missing.

Most programs have canceled for tomorrow, but I doubt mine will. A snow cancellation once offered a day’s worth of winter fun, before all this reality set in. But together, my dear…together we will set a new tone for reality. And even now, daydreams of the luxuries such free days would open to us provide a warm and inviting diversion.

Think what it would mean to awaken and find all pending obligations are canceled. Laying in bed with nothing to disturb us. How might such days be spent? Cabin fever seems a remote possibility in the face of such contemplations, but let us see where a day’s events may take us.

1) Movies – An obvious choice. There’s nothing better than to bank a few films for just such opportunities as these.

2) Puzzles – They often seem a frustratingly idle use of time for me, needlessly spent on a fruitless task. But, if your amusement and deep conversation are to be achieved, I’m game.

3) Cooking – Whether a fancy dinner or just cooking up an entire week’s worth of food, I’m sure bonding is done as easily over an oven as over a television. Bonus, cooking over a wood fire.

4) Sledding – Why not be young at heart again and pretend our bodies can take the blows our young selves once withstood? Why not snow angels, snowball fights or the active search for a steep hill? Why not find a posse of neighboring children and split into team captains?

5) Pillows – These multipurpose stuffed consorts are suitable for building forts, or winning fights. Growing up is only something children want to do, and being grown-up is only something the immature fret about.

6) Charity – Why not buy gallons of hot chocolate and find some cold people on a street corner? I’m sure our four-wheel drive can accommodate the road hazards.

7) Ice skating – One or both of us may find the ice leaves more marks on us than we do the ice, but I know the very place I would take you now, if I could.

8) Photos – I often find singularly frustrating the uncaptured beauty I must neglect in the pursuit of my adult obligations. Like the freezing fog through which the moonlight shone, too beautiful to miss and too fleeting to capture. Like the snowfall outside my window now, the back roads and wildlife that calls them home. Sometimes the life we’re busy chasing is busy passing us by!

9) Lodge – Maybe it’s too many Cabela’s adverts for flannel-spun garments, but there’s something about a wooden lodge or lake house, somewhere comfortably between rustic and modern, that calls to me. The escape, the mountain air, the chance to escape the world for a little while. Maybe we’d even get snowed in.

10) Marriage bucket list – The places we want to go, and the things we want to do in our marriage…the milestones we want to achieve. Or maybe just comparing our own bucket lists and seeing which ones we could cross off together.

05. Fischer, Anton Otto - A Winter Scene, Lovers On Skis11) Poetry – Trading reading poetry aloud, in varying accents

12) Vacations – Ready to lay aside some unique tropical getaways? Is there an exotic location on your bucket list? Or just the vacation laid aside for the spring or summer? The song says later on we’ll conspire as we dream by the fire. Who are we to argue?

13) Skiing – Those of us who are in the 99th percentile in height may find such activities more hazardous than others whose height growth kept them lower to the ground. Yet, finding ski lodge that offers such experiences sounds okay by me, certainly something to try once! I can see us all bundled up, with runny noses, ruddy cheeks and hat hair, but dined and divined at day’s end, washed and exhausted and laughing together as we retire to the room.

14) Party – Planning a mid-winter’s gathering, a snow party or even a ball to drive the winter’s cold doldrums away.

15) Games – Cards don’t easily occupy me, nor do most games with only two at the helm. But perhaps a nice tournament of pool or table tennis would be in order…perhaps with some sly and mischievous penalties for losing.

16) Restaurants – Snow days become snow nights. Why not bundle up in our finest (and warmest) for a fine restaurant with dim lights and gentle music, walking back to our car under a glittering night of frosty stars and a snowy road home?

17) Dancing – A seven-course ensemble of slow-dancing to the serenades of Frank Sinatra, Etta James and Ella Fitzgerald.

18) Fireside chats – Sharing secrets and warmth as the light flickers off our bodies and our shadows dance on the walls.

These, my dear, will surely be the days and nights of pure nights of bliss, to bask in the frivolity of our youth and our love, to build memories and love together. The days that were magical from youth can be reclaimed once again. The taboos which once forbade us tread further will be dispelled. And for once, I’ll be your companion as you slip slowly into your dreams.

As surely as the memory of fire can warm, so the thoughts of how the evenings may one day be spent lends the warmth of hope to this night…and blunts the edge of this beautiful aching.

Yours ever,
Beren

February 3, 2014 Posted by | Holidays, Nights Like These | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Needs and Wants

Dear Darling,

I’m back home again. Alegfast won’t be back for another week, so I have the house to myself. I walk through the door, suddenly finding it interesting to realize that home can now be in more than one place. I should have turned off the heat before I left; it’s comfortably warm in here and I haven’t been home in three days. I deposit my gear and it’s off to a shower by candlelight. (Cheap, fragrant and romantic…what isn’t to like?)

Playing overhead is the album Christmas Hymns by Paul Cardall. Darling, if you ever find yourself beset by the return of winter’s melancholy and in need of something to underwrite your Christmas blues, these songs offer a companionable solace. And yes you’re quite right, sometimes I am too comfortable reverting to my sighs and sadness. I have every reason to be a little lonesome…and yet, no reason at all. I need to be reminded of both those truths sometimes.

I should be praying as I shower, but instead I’m composing this letter to you in my head.

There’s a fine line between needs and wants sometimes. By most standards, I’m flourishing under the blessings of the Lord. Someone may argue I could easily reach the end of my days without having ever had you by my side. I may even be happy. They also say not to seek someone for completion or dependence. Marriage is mutual and complementary, but without it, I won’t die.

Well now, don’t the scribes and scholars tell us a man unmarried will die sooner? Doesn’t the Word tells us that finding a spouse comes from the favor of the Lord? Maybe I’m doing it wrong, but I think I shall be looking for someone to complete me, and on whom I can depend. I’ve never yet trusted someone so completely as to lean on them and trust them not to fall — not even myself. I know that even I will let myself down if I trust myself too much. But God made us to need  — or is it want? — each other, and there is no shame in the confession. I’ve never yet found someone who aspired to be that person…or who seemed to feel that she needed me in return. But I think anything less than a love which shamelessly needs me and requires my attention, which will fight for me and cultivate in me the same response, is not worth my time.

We all need to be loved. We need to be listened to, cared for, adored, needed. Maslow says we even need sex.There is a sleepless appetite which does not disagree.

We need also the practical needs to be filled. There are deadlines to be reminded about, bills to pay, meals to make. We need new ideas, different perspectives and conflicting preferences. We need someone to tend, guard, fret about, someone with whom to fight, and dream and share the popcorn. We all need someone to take to bed, someone tuck us in when we’re sick or to wake us when the alarm doesn’t go off.

We need someone to make us be our best, and feel and look and act our best. Someone to guide us on all those subjectives we toy around with. Do I like this perfume? Do you like that tie? Are these towels too ugly, and what kind of dog should we get? What shall we name it? Hardwood floors or carpet? I’m letting my hair and beard grow out for convenience (no matter how many times my family pointedly ask when I will be shaving) but as far as I’m concerned, this is nearly as much your decision as mine.

You and I have had to cope without all of these things for a very long time. And when those around us continually settle in with their temporary beloveds, sometimes it does make us wonder what we missed…and where the line is between patience and torture. “Better to have loved and lost than never loved at all,” they say. I ask this question often enough of both the forlorn and the fortunate, but there seems to be little consensus. If starvation is checked by one hearty meal, is it a kindness or a cruelty?

I do “need” you…unapologetically. You are among the many bright hopes I have for the coming year. So I hope you will stay strong as we alternate trudging and sprinting towards that wonderful finish line of each other’s arms.

I hope to find out a little more of the story behind those letters in the attic. They seem to promise stories, secrets and antiquity — a concoction you know I can’t resist — and a story that includes love, romance and a secret marriage!

Goodnight my dear. Look for me under mistletoe, behind snowflakes and next to the shadows cast by the flickering candlelight. And perhaps next to the Christmas close-out bargain bins tomorrow.

Love, cheer and Christmas kisses,
Beren

December 27, 2013 Posted by | Holidays, Loneliness, Questions | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Attic

LoveLettersMy Darling,

Did you ever begin a letter or a phone call before you knew what you were actually going to say? Some nights, the words burst at the seams and my only fear is the time and eloquence to arrange them presentably. And then some nights, I realize I just want to write you without knowing what to say.

Christmas has been cast over my corner of the world. It came in quietly about a half-hour ago. Its precious and fleeting moments are barely here 24 hours, but lighting up lives in so many different ways. There’s not to be any snow here, and while disappointing, that’s nothing new. I’m not surprised, there’s not a lot of magic that lingers in this part of the country sufficient to conjure a white Christmas. That’s okay. Save the snow for some wonderful night when the magic has returned, the moon is as full as my heart, and you are in my arms.

I’m staying at my family’s tonight. We’ve made a temporary bed in the attic. I was a child up here once, what seems like eons ago. I played for hours with my brother and sister. I helped build the closet in the middle of the room. I sat cross-legged in bean bags reading. I remember two different aunts up staying up here, neither of whom particularly cared for my side of the family. Maybe you and I will stay up here some night when we come home to visit.

It’s been made over once or twice, this room. They use it for storage, books, clothes and a sewing corner. It’s sufficiently cozy for a night or two, and while getting ready for bed, I spy a clear plastic box across the room, a treasury of those letters I wrote about before. Only they’ve been sorted and rearranged; there’s more of them, dozens, dated the late 1920’s and addressed to my great-grandmother. They’re yellowed and feel exactly like you’d expect a trove of love letters from eighty-five years ago to be. That’s them, there in the picture above, see? The catch is, I can barely read the scribbled cursive!

“My Darling – ” this one begins.

My Darling –

Well Jane, I am very sorry for the act that I have made. If I had only done the right thing, I’d have brought you back with me when I married you.

Jane, you know deep down in your heart that I love only you, and for you to write me such [something] understandable [something] it just makes my heart ache with pain. I am so very sorry if I have caused you [something something] the last straw that you are unhappy. So Jane, I’ve made you every kind of promise in all the world and I’ve tried to keep them, if I broke any I am so sorry.

Here reads another, eight months prior:

Dearest Wife,

I am sure that you are having a real good time [something] as I suppose that you will something the dance of the [something] on the [something]. I suppose the whole town has gone mad over the affair.

It has been raining almost all day and say it is very bad [altitude?]. 

I wish I could decipher them better, but the script is poor and strange to my sight. Maybe one day when I have nothing better to do, I’ll transcribe them. I suspect the word “affair” doesn’t mean infidelity, but there’s clearly a story to be told.

I’m away to bed now. Don’t forget, tomorrow night, under the mistletoe.

Love,
Beren

December 25, 2013 Posted by | Holidays, Loneliness | , , | 2 Comments

The Eve of Salvation

FiresideKissDear Darling,

Any war can end when either party resolves to discard all prior offenses. Consequently, I was under the shadow of the tree tonight in all its glory, dining with the family and watching a Christmas movie. My budget really wasn’t thrilled with the array of gifts purchased weeks ago and only now wrapped and brought to the tree, but it doesn’t matter. Whether or not it is returned, whether or not it’s always carried out in prudence, I am a giver and that cannot be changed. I always hand-wrap my gifts, and this year I experimented with some new packaging which turned out splendidly, minus the glitter on my cheek.

I’ll be headed back to spend Christmas Eve and Day with them, but for now I’m home. The clock strikes two. I used to be a stranger to this hour, but now it’s an old friend, full of thought and memory, rhyme and reminiscence. I wrap myself in them, and arrange their finer aspects for your consideration.

I cannot recall a time when Christmas and I were more estranged. I don’t like it, but I’m learning to be okay with it. It is a hazard of maturity, perhaps. Man goes from believing in Santa to disbelieving, to becoming Santa, to looking like him. I have not quite mastered the properly indomitable spirit of Christmas to be as giving as he, but the act itself is gratifying, and I enjoy the thought process of giving. Indeed, it came all too easily to me this year.

We grow wiser with each year that passes, I think, and with it comes the sight to see the problems of the world, and how gravely we still need the Savior born in Bethlehem.

It seems that to everyone I know, this Christmas, like the last, finds Christmas shining less than it once did, which causes me to think it’s more than just age that has seen its colors fade. If you think about it, fewer people decorate with lights than used to be. I remember going driving for hours with my parents to look at the decorations. The times are growing darker.

The traditions seem musty to me now. I shudder to imagine I have outgrown them, but I can quote nearly all the movies word for word, and the songs. It’s all very predictable. For me, the kingdom of Christmas needs refreshing, and I am too old to expect Santa to do it.

Perhaps it is proper that our shimmering veneer be peeled back for a time, that the days be seen as they truly are. Maybe the fact that work and school have kept from me many of the customs will allow them greater fondness through absence. Or perhaps the rest of the year has seen pleasures that simple Christmas can no longer rival. Regardless, stripping away many of the childhood comforts does help return one to the proper focus of the day, to the definition of true love, and remind us that there really is only one Reason needed this season.

You and I will make our own refurbishments, carve out our own new traditions upon our arrival. I’m certain you will breathe fresh life into my Christmas, and seeing my family’s traditions through your eyes will be a blessing. And one day, you and I will (I hope) be Santa and Mrs. Claus to our children. As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to realize one cannot depend on others to make merry. Therefore, I hope you’ll understand my interest in hosting Christmas parties, and of course, a dance or two for the winter and new year. I’d certainly like our lives to be devoted in some measure to the happiness of others, and not just those who can reciprocate.

And of course, if I haven’t already exhausted the thought, there are so many nights awaiting us to sit with nothing on but firelight and tree light, sharing of our hearts and bodies and souls, waltzing to carols and murmuring our love amidst kisses uncounted.

The warmth and depth of my wishes for you this Christmastime transcend the weight of words. May joy inexpressible permeate every aspect of your season, and may you forget for a time the griefs and loneliness which life so rudely imposes. Be sure to find a sprig of mistletoe somewhere, and meet me underneath for our annual Christmas kiss.

Love always,
Beren

December 24, 2013 Posted by | Holidays, Loneliness, Nights Like These | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Fancies

Christmas Fancies
Ella Wheeler Wilcox


When Christmas bells are swinging above the fields of snow,
We hear sweet voices ringing from lands of long ago,
And etched on vacant places
Are half forgotten faces
Of friends we used to cherish, and loves we used to know —
When Christmas bells are swinging above the fields of snow.

Uprising from the ocean of the present surging near,
We see, with strange emotion that is not free from fear,
That continent Elysian
Long vanished from our vision,
Youth’s lovely lost Atlantis, so mourned for and so dear,
Uprising from the ocean of the present surging near.

When gloomy gray Decembers are roused to Christmas mirth,
The dullest life remembers there once was joy on earth,
And draws from youth’s recesses
Some memory it possesses,
And, gazing through the lens of time, exaggerates its worth,
When gloomy gray December is roused to Christmas mirth.

When hanging up the holly or mistletoe, I wis
Each heart recalls some folly that lit the world with bliss.
Not all the seers and sages
With wisdom of the ages
Can give the mind such pleasure as memories of that kiss
When hanging up the holly or mistletoe, I wis.

For life was made for loving, and love alone repays,
As passing years are proving, for all of Time’s sad ways.
There lies a sting in pleasure,
And fame gives shallow measure,
And wealth is but a phantom that mocks the restless days,
For life was made for loving, and only loving pays.

When Christmas bells are pelting the air with silver chimes,
And silences are melting to soft, melodious rhymes,
Let Love, the world’s beginning,
End fear and hate and sinning;
Let Love, the God Eternal, be worshiped in all climes
When Christmas bells are pelting the air with silver chimes.

December 24, 2013 Posted by | Holidays, Loneliness, Poems | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

If You Want To Win Me Over…

03. Borsos, Jozsef - The Dissatisfied Painter (Crisis in the Life of a Painter),1852

“And who would have thought that you’d be the one
That I would have found here waiting?
Lost in this night until you arrived
And always too blind to see;
And who would have thought that after this time
That I’d be the one you’re saving?”

Dear Darling,

People — including wives — once had very strict ideas about what a wife’s duty was; little more than to support her husband. I’m hardly so chauvinist as to think that is the sole purpose of womankind, and yet, would it be so chauvinist if I also held that belief’s opposite, that my primary purpose on this earth is to love, support, serve and provide for you and our family? In society’s haste to loose women from the chains which bound them, look at what we’ve done to our world. It was only fair to set men free from their obligation as well, and the bond of family itself is unraveling. We overturned kindness and compassion, restraint and charity along with it.

Society notwithstanding, my obligations are and must always be to serve God, and to serve my family…to serve you. Up to and including laying down my life.

Have you ever given thought to your obligations, or how you might win me over?

If you ever wondered how to win me over, start by being kind. You needn’t be a model or an astrophysicist. You needn’t even be altogether impervious and strong. Man, after all, feels a little diminished in his purpose if there is no one for whom he can be brave. Just be kind. Be loving, compassionate, supportive, nurturing. If you set out to win a man’s heart, start by becoming indispensable. Be a fountain of refreshment and retreat, someone who is safe and encouraging. Such a fountain will seldom fail to draw a man in, if for no other reason than to be intrigued by such a nurturing soul.

If someone showed me that kind of gentle, consistent support and grace, it would go far to win me over. But it seems no one of comparable worth ever made such an effort. And it’s sad, because I feel my walls rebuilding, and redoubling at such a speed as to leave gaps. Loneliness contemplates strange ambitions within those gaps.

One of the things I do when I’m bored is scroll back through my texts to see who I haven’t texted in a while, who should be checked in on, who needs encouraging. I could use friends who reach out to check in, just to show they’re thinking of me. I can’t help but look back over the people I’ve fought for, the people I’ve lifted up, and how they move on and leave you behind. Even those living under the provision of the Lord still need to be fought for. Think about Elijah. He was on an errand for the kingdom of heaven, but when he felt alone, he fled, collapsed and asked the Lord to take his life. The Lord fed him, stood him on his feet, showed him His power, and told him he wasn’t alone. I guess maybe I need someone to see that, to tell me that.

Especially tonight. I’m sick again. I’ve been sick a lot this year; it comes of burning the candle at both ends. I can’t tell you how it would warm the heart to have someone, a voice or a name from the past, reach back in and show tenderness and care. Is it selfish? Am I so selfish, who have stood at the ready to fight for you on so many occasions? Who have been supportive to so many, reached out in compassion to so many? When illness meets weariness and I am lain by the roadside, is it so wrong to wish a soul would come by, even unexpectedly, to help me up and stand beside me? Perhaps not; but apparently it is too much to ask, in the end.

Someone hooked a finger at me last night, pulling me aside in the crowd to tell me they wanted me to meet someone. I barely knew the woman that was asking, let alone the woman she recommended, but in the spirit of openness, I provided my number to hear her pitch. I began by asking what made her think we would be a good match, not knowing me. “Because you’d make such a cute couple,” was her reply. If it were only that simple.

Sometimes I’d like to show someone these letters, to give them a true understanding of this heart, of what they’re up against; to make them want to try harder; to show them what they missed. Sometimes I wish the Lady Kirche had seen them, and wonder what her response would have been. I know if I’d found a cache of love letters written by someone I was courting, it would be a game-changer. It would fill me with a desire to become that person, to be worthy of the one to whom the letters were written. But that would be like staging a death to witness one’s own funeral. Such an advanced preview wouldn’t be fair…would it?

Sometimes I feel like King David. He was a soldier and king, “a man after God’s own heart”, a warrior’s heart and a poet’s soul sharing the same body and destiny. He too poured out his soul, in psalm after psalm, alternating joy and anguish. He was unique to his day; men are seldom so honest. But then, he was also the leader of a band of rowdy men. It seems strange he made no efforts to convert them to God, yet God smiled upon him in his efforts. Maybe that’s a lesson. Sometimes I feel I should have been less conservative, lived a little more ragged. Life has taught me, most women don’t want someone who is good. They want someone good enough…someone even whom they can reform, but who is “bad” enough to excite them and feel a little wild.

Alagfast is gone all next week. I will enjoy the silence. And as of tonight, most of my Christmas shopping is done.

I should sleep. Daylight brooks no delay for saddened hearts.

Always,
Beren

November 10, 2013 Posted by | Loneliness, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

#10: A Different Kind of Perfect

“I know I need to be in love
I know I’ve wasted too much time
I know I ask perfection of a quite imperfect world
And fool enough to think that’s what I’ll find.” – Carpenters

I’ve always had this dream that I might be the first person you cared for, or to whom you offered your heart.

And because I have had prudent reasons for never pursing a woman’s affections before now, I hoped you would feel the same.

I think it’s because there is power in that first love, a newness and fervor. You don’t forget it, and you seldom repeat it. Those first steps of love are so precious, so treasured. I wanted them always to be ours. I held fairy tale fantasies that ours would be the first and last, great and perhaps among the greatest stories never told. A chance meeting that means everything and nothing at once; a conjunction of two stars whose dim glows are kindled by each other’s presence, and whose bright but weary orbits are forever altered.

I now know that dream is unlikely. Life has taught me that lesson sternly many times now, sadly but deftly strangling that dream to death for my own sake. Did I seek perfection? They say I did. They say I still do. Is that wrong? Is it perfection to hope for what I offer to be returned?

I know I can’t blame you for it, so I’m trying not to.

But I’ll admit it. I’m a little jealous.

I’m jealous that you woke up first, and got to taste this adventure before me. I’m jealous that you embarked on the path of learning, and know more about yourself if not someone else. I’m jealous that you ever put your arms around another man, kissed his lips or went to sleep with him on your mind. I’m jealous that he could have walked among your dreams and wishes, or was allowed to read the mysteries of your eyes. I’m jealous that he hurt you, or that he ever could have.

No one in the stories or songs ever talks about things like this. No one tells you that if you don’t shake yourself awake, life passes you by. They all assume no one would preserve this slumber for the sake of prudence.

I despair at the men of the world today. There are so few knights left, let alone knights who polish their armor. They are not men at all, they’re boys. They are foolish, stupid men, little more than slobbering puppies in heat. How lightly they carry the most precious thing in the world — a woman’s heart! How flippantly they trample the emotions so freely and imploringly given.

A few of them are worth a woman’s time. And if you are half the lady I look for you to be, then surely some who know a good thing when they see it will have already pursued your affections. And by the time we meet, one or two of them will probably have hurt your heart.

I never believed in trying to horn in on another relationship or “steal” someone away. I’m too much of a gentleman and have too high a regard for a woman’s choice.

But for the broken and wounded soul, I will promise you this: I’ll make you forget him.

I’ll make you forget any man that ever stole, or wounded or broke your heart.

My goal is to love you so purely and selflessly and completely that you won’t be able to help it. There’s going to be a cleansing fire of passion with every kiss that purges your mind of every memory but ours. Our love will be so wonderful and sweet, the utter and ultimate beginning.  We’ll love unconditionally. They’ll be the jealous ones in the end. They’re all going to envy what you and I have, every single one of them. They’ll look at us and wish they had a love as great as ours, a tenth of our devotion; they’ll wonder how they ever passed by a woman like you.

We’re going to live a different kind of perfect.

Promise.

December 26, 2011 Posted by | Promises | , | 5 Comments