Letters to Luthien

Letters to My Future Bride

For You Alone I Strive to Sing

Bowing to the Queen

O Tell Me How To Woo Thee
Walter Grahame

If doughty deeds my ladye please,
Right soon I’ll mount my steed;
And strong his arm, and fast his seat,
That bears frae me the meed.
I’ll wear thy colors in my cap,
Thy picture in my heart;
And he that bends not to thine eye
Shall rue it to his smart.
Then tell me how to woo thee, love
O tell me how to woo thee!
For thy dear sake, nae care I’ll take,
Tho’ ne’er another trow me.

If gay attire delight thine eye,
I’ll dight me in array;
I’ll tend thy chamber door all night,
And squire thee all the day.
If sweetest sounds can win thy ear,
These sounds I’ll strive to catch;
Thy voice I’ll steal to woo thysel’,
That voice that nane can match,
Then tell me how to woo thee, love;
O tell me how to woo thee!
For thy dear sake, nae care I’ll take,
Tho’ ne’er another trow me.

But if fond love thy heart can gain,
I never broke a vow;
Nae maiden lays her skaith to me,
I never loved but you.
For you along I ride the ring,
For you I wear the blue;
For you alone I strive to sing,
O tell me how to woo!
O tell me how to woo thee, love;
O tell me how to woo thee!
For thy dear sake, nae care I’ll take,
Tho’ ne’er another trow me.

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June 29, 2014 Posted by | Poems | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Valentine’s Day: A Kiss of Desire

Rosebud of desire

The White Rose
John Boyle O’Reilly

The red rose whispers of passion,
And the white rose breathes of love;
O the red rose is a falcon,
And the white rose is a dove.

But I send you a cream-white rosebud
With a flush on its petal tips;
For the love that is purest and sweetest
Has a kiss of desire on the lips.

February 14, 2014 Posted by | Poems | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Was Your Day

Dear Darling,

How was your day?

I look forward to asking that question of you, of walking through the door, closing it and the world behind me and returning to the cloud on which I live, the one where dwells a wonderful woman who loves me and is pleased to be called my wife. I’ll love hearing your voice greeting me through the house. I’ll probably begin washing the dishes while you finish preparing supper, unless I’m lately come from the hospital and need showering first.

I’ll quietly revel in your trust and confidence in me as you share your day’s ups and downs.

How was your day today? What dragons did you face alone, what cares did you bear, what burdens did you carry? What tears were unshed because your husband wasn’t there to hug them out of you and then kiss them away?

And to think, somewhere out there tonight you exist, burying your toes into a carpet or curling them up underneath you to keep warm. (Lucky, lucky toes.) You may be studying, or working late, or cooking, or grimly eyeing February 14th’s approach. I don’t hold out great hopes for this Valentine’s Day, but I have a good feeling for next year.

Someone asked me the other day if I was still changing the world. I may not be changing the world every day, I replied, but hopefully I’m changing someone’s world every day. And that’s enough for now.

On my way out last night, I walked past a woman leaning against the wall with her back to me, weeping. Such sights aren’t entirely uncommon in the hospital, and healthcare veterans must eventually make their peace with the reality that there will always be someone else who needs you. I almost walked past her. Then I realized no knight, whether arrayed in armor or scrubs, could suffer this woman’s grief unchecked in this empty hallway. Beyond asking if she was okay, I pulled her in for a hug, inquired about the problem, and wished her well.  I wish I’d said more to her. I should have told her that God is all sufficient and will give strength to His servants. I wish I’d told her that she would be okay again, and that she would be strong enough for the darkness ahead of her.

Time gives all and takes all. It’s time that is our ally and our enemy. Have you noticed? Sometimes our memories, or time’s passage, are traps for our minds because we remember how things were. Sometimes those memories return too late, showing us what was important at the time even though we didn’t recognize it. Sometimes, we process things slowly, not understanding how we feel. We only know a moment’s worth once it’s gone.

Now that I’ve cleared the first hurdles of this term, it’s time to ramp things up. At the start of the week I had a morning class, an exam, a gym workout, a swim, a Bible study and then two hours at work to cover for a colleague before coming home to bed. In five hours, I was up before dawn to spend half the day apprenticing. The other half was spent working. The schedule was much the same today except I was invited to hear a would-be senator speak. Tomorrow is another several hours spent learning before I work an overnight shift for another colleague. This weekend, I ride a helicopter with a trauma nurse and probably do even more work and study. If idleness is the devil’s workshop, I don’t intend to give hell’s hobbyists much room.

When I was younger, I used to think everyone else knew what they were doing and I was one of the few that didn’t. It wasn’t until it dawned on me that half the people around me were as clueless as I (and another quarter of them were more clueless) that the light bulb clicked on. No one was going to come along and give me answers, motivate me get fit and eat right, or give me a job. Within submission to God’s will, I had to create those opportunities for myself. No one else was going to introduce themselves first, so now I do. It seems to inspire a confidence that others appreciate. I wonder if there’s any way I can make that light come on for our children earlier than it did for me?

Everyone complains about the cold, but tonight in The Village where I live (it really does somewhat resemble a Bavarian village) the icicles coat every eave like a painting or a decoration.

I should sleep. I’m afraid I’m rewriting most of this letter from memory after I all but completed it last night only to have it erased in a spontaneous reboot. Wherever you are tonight my dear, I hope you’re doing well.

Love,
Beren

February 13, 2014 Posted by | Loneliness, Nights Like These | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Where My Letters Go

the-love-letter-painting

Where My Books Go
William Butler Yeats

 

All the words that I utter,
And all the words that I write,
Must spread out their wings untiring,
And never rest in their flight,
Till they come where your sad, sad heart is,
And sing to you in the night,
Beyond where the waters are moving,
Storm-darken’d or starry bright.

January 12, 2014 Posted by | Loneliness, Poems | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

On This Winter’s Night

“The lamp is burning low upon my table top
The snow is softly falling
The air is still within the silence of my room
I hear your voice softly calling

If I could only have you near
To breathe a sigh or two
I would be happy just to hold the hands I love
Upon this winter night with you.”

Dear Darling,

I greatly hope the new year is treating you even better than the last, heedless of how blessed the last year might have been. Mine? A friend succinctly surmised that last year seems to be bleeding into this year. I expect this year to usher in just as many unexpected cures and curses as the last, and perhaps more. Scattered among the many loose ends, I hope to find the cord that can will lead me to your door. Now wouldn’t you be a bundle of nerves if I were to knock this very night…!

It’s wickedly cold outside, as is the case for most of the country. We are not accustomed to such temperatures in this part of the country, and I’m grateful for the Lord’s provision. You may think me odd, but I’m also grateful for the opportunity to weather such times of hardship. They teach us about ourselves, and make us stronger. Not that much strength can be derived from central heating, but you see what I mean. I’m also grateful to have and share God’s promise in Genesis 8, which many forget: “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”

I was able to impart this promise with some success to a friend of Alegfast, whom I shall call Loswen. (Its translation from the Elvish roughly means snow-maiden) who is loth to see winter take such fierce hold. The poor dear…I like her, though not romantically, and can see there is frost on her soul that wants thawing. But as I have learnt before, there are some frosts that aren’t mine to thaw.

This past weekend consisted of mostly work, eat and sleep. A lot of days seem to consist of that anymore. I don’t mind, but sometimes I lose track of how much I’ve slept, or when I’ve eaten. I awoke from a nap on Sunday and forgot that I hadn’t eaten lunch.

The next week promises more of the same. I’m also moving again. Alegfast has begun final arrangements, and it appears it’s time to be moving on. God provides, and his provision in this case appears to be arrangements typically far beyond my means. It will put me closer to work and school as well.

Ties with my family have been temporarily but viciously severed for the past few days, a fact which I am at a loss to correct. There’s been no new word this week, and for that I am honestly grateful.

I’ve resolved to spend less time on Facebook if possible this year, and perhaps even less time with digital relationships entirely. Social media has been a vice of mine. The time is better spent in physical health, and relationships, and in study and reading.

School starts back next week. I’ll be glad, but I realized tonight that in dealing with children and a likely front-seat viewing for the miracle of childbirth, it might make me thoughtful for our forthcoming years as parents. Hmm.

These days, I have been contemplating the concept of value. This may seem an oversimplified and abundantly obvious truth, but ultimately, human beings only desire something for its value. Even the charitable and beneficent derive a kind of value from their good works, even if just a feeling of having created value. We hear of people who want greater compensation for their work, but these people overestimate their value in the equation. We complain about the high cost and compensation for doctors and surgeons, but when we require their specialty and expertise, their skill is of inestimable value to restore our bodies and save lives. And as much as we complain about the wealth of musicians and storytellers, at the end of the day these people add value to our lives by making us feel something, letting us escape from our lives, illustrating something (true love, excellence, heroism, courage, fitness, skill) to which we aspire. Ultimately, great numbers of us are willing to purchase the privilege of such value added to our lives.

I overestimated my value, and the value of my degree, in the workforce. Now I’m correcting it with a study of medicine and bedside practice.

Even friendships, I think, subsist on value created. Husbands and wives support and augment each other, and of course derive great value from each other’s presence. The sum of our friendships and relationships are the value which they provide us, even if only as companionship. Those who have greater numbers of friendships are those who can and do provide value to others.

It seems to me I’ve spent a great portion of my life estimating what value is needed in others, and rising to the occasion of learning how to provide it. Such value isn’t always given lightly, but once given, is given gladly and freely. I think in many cases I misunderestimated the demand incumbent on what I thought would be valuable. But in acquiring the skill of a warrior, a healer, a writer and a orator, with scatterings of poet and philosopher, lover and listener, I’ve attempted to become valuable to other peoples’ lives. (I was recently in a cafeteria with Mîlwen when a worker suffered a peculiar spell of a seeming medical nature. I attended her for a short time, and was given free lunch in return.) I don’t say this to congratulate myself. I’m observing that it took intentional effort to acquire the skill requisite to add value to the lives of others. Even now, not only am I learning how to heal the body, but am attaining the skills to be a provider and keep my family in comfort.

Darling, might I make so bold as to ask what value you have in mind to add to your future husband’s life? I know of a girl, a foolish silly girl who could attend a very expensive school for free and yet does not, with the wistful folly of “staying at home to learn how to be a homemaker.” (I speak of my benign internet stalker.)

A woman’s skill extends beyond mere cooking or cleaning, no matter how traditional these may seem. In olden days, a man sought out a woman not just to bear children, but someone who could help him make a life of it, sewing and cooking and cleaning and working. Modern-day luxuries nullify some of these necessities, but that doesn’t diminish their need. Have you ever thought about being a nurse as well? I have a dream of both being employed with an agency, traveling to different towns and states, combining shifts and spending the rest of the week seeing the sights and sounds in each other’s company. These agencies pay quite well. Were we to do such a thing, we could have the time of our lives, and return home a quarter- to a half-million dollars wealthier.

Of course, family will have to come first, and I’ll have to remind myself of that. But the idea is a fun one to conjure on occasion. I could go alone on such ventures. But there is an old African proverb which says “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

The thought of you is always before me, my dear. There is no song that doesn’t make me wish for your presence. No time of year, whether summer’s sun, winter’s chill, springtime’s beauty or harvest’s bounty, that does not make me think of you.

Stay warm tonight, my love, if such a thing is possible absent my embrace.

Love always,
Beren

“If I could only have you near
To breathe a sigh or two
I would be happy just to hold the hands I love
On this winter’s night with you
And to be once again with with you.”

Sarah McLachlan

January 7, 2014 Posted by | Loneliness, Nights Like These | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Patiently Pacing

Dear Darling,

I believe everyone processes and reacts to events and emotions on different levels. There is a primary response,  that which is reflexive and impulsive, emotionally autonomic if you will. (Don’t be offended my dear, but in my experience, it is on this level that the female of the human race typically dwells.) There is a secondary level of response, that of analysis and reasoning, a more complex process of thinking and feeling and responding. However, it occurred to me today that my level of response seems to take place at a tertiary level, a blend of observing and reacting, but to the secondary level of response, and its peculiarities. In other words, “I seem to be feeling upset. How queer.” An analysis of the analysis.

So for example, after having worked a shift today as a favor to a friend, I get some take-home Mexican food (it’s not often I eat out, much less drive thru or order pizza) and make some notes for a radio appearance tomorrow. Ultimately, tonight I found myself pacing back and forth, feeling squirrely and restless; incomplete. It’s as if I had cabin fever, which of course isn’t the case. I like having the house to myself, but I do tend to go a bit nonlinear without human company.

This built-up of kinetic sentiment comes from frustrated analysis of how a day’s events impact me. It’s from missing the companionship I enjoyed over the summer. It’s from reading that another friend, with whom I once shared the same trajectory of life, is now expecting a baby. It’s from missing you. It’s from wishing things were different. In short, it’s from all the reasons that play into my everyday life. Engagements and pregnancies are commonplace these days, and while I’ll never get used to missing you, the sensation isn’t foreign.

So it seems in this tertiary process of observing the observation of the response, sometimes it takes a while, and sometimes it builds up. Being fairly adaptable to circumstances doesn’t help. (Heaven forbid either of my parents to be called home to be with the Lord, I know I would be too consumed with the responsibilities necessary to grieve.)

Just one more piece in the puzzle that we’re both trying to solve.

Yes, I’ll be on the radio again tomorrow. Of course, I can’t tell you where. It’s a local station, only for an hour. The host and I have formed a distant, amicable acquaintanceship. I didn’t expect the invitation, but it’s an excellent way to close out the old year.

God keeps creating opportunities for us to trust Him, and He’s creating another one for me now. In less than a fortnight, your Beren will be homeless. I’ve not yet found new living arrangements. (Rather than rooming off of a cottage, I’d be charmed to find a castle in need of a guard or two.) I suppose I should be worried about it. But I’m not. Our Lord has always looked after me; He won’t stop now.

And yes, I miss you still tonight, Darling. That old familiar desire came back, the desire to pick up the phone and call anyone who wanted to catch up. To scroll through a list of thoughts and interests strewn across a Facebook profile. (I use mine too much, and will try to scale back in this coming year.) I know it’s not your fault you aren’t here for me. But the end result is the same, so it’s hard. I don’t have any sensational New Years plans. If you were here, I would find us both a dance to attend, something formal and special and wonderful to ring in the new year…with kisses withheld until midnight, the strike of which would be rung in with plentiful kissing and embracing — in token of the hope we both share for the new year.

Hold on tight, my dear. I have a good feeling about this year.

Until then, you might just find me patiently pacing across the hands of a clock as it counts down the hours…the waning of the year, of my time in this house, and the time remaining until our meeting.

I will be patient forever if necessary.

Love,
Beren

December 31, 2013 Posted by | About Me, Holidays, Loneliness | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

The Empty Hours

Dear Darling,

We’ve reached that time of night once again where I’m at a loss to fill the blank spaces between dinner and sleep. There’s a cold rain falling again, and it’s hard to believe there isn’t but 48 hours left in this year.

There’s never really anyone around this time of night to talk to. That’s probably a good thing. There aren’t that many people that should see me like this, or know who I really am underneath. Every man needs to keep up that barrier and illusion to preserve his dignity and pride. You’ve read far too many of my laments and elegies for me to attempt concealing them now. I’m sorry they’ve multiplied so much in your absence. Maybe the best thing will be to burn them some day, a testament to the end of the solitude. I hope you will remember that you’re reading only the rawest and most intimate of my thoughts here, in the gloomy and bleak recesses of my mind.

Do you miss Christmas yet? I do. The season lingers, like the wake of a train already departed, but the day itself is gone. The candy and candles went on sale, the music ended at the stroke of midnight, the cards are being swapped out, Christmas for Valentine’s Day. (Because Valentine’s Day is so much better.)

But the truth is, I missed Christmas even when it was here. When I was little, there wasn’t much to do but hang out and wait for Christmas to come, pass the time with games and videos and play. The boxes under the tree were well-shaken and well-known before they were ever opened. The last few years, the presents never felt my grasp until Christmas morning, and I was equally excited to give gifts as to receive them. Christmas for me has become like everything else, always been something missing, a song just out of sight, just beyond the horizon. Maybe I won’t find what I truly seek until heaven.

Sometimes, it seems to me that we sometimes get so wrapped up in the art and motions of an activity that we forget to enjoy them. Or is that just me? And is a moment as special or memorable if you’ve whipped out your phone to take subpar photos — along with everyone else? We put all our Kodak moments into the actual Kodak, thinking we’ve preserved them, when really we’ve left precious little to store in our own memories.

But it fades, like everything else. Christmas fades into the distance, and after celebrating the new year, we plunge back into the meager months. The empty months. Oh, I’ll find a way to fill them, never you fear. But each day will be a little bit emptier without you. Just like tonight. I walked out of church (feeling more than my usual share of disgust for the cheapening of the gospel) and find I’m staring down another empty evening. As much as going nonstop can fatigue me sometimes, it worsens every blank and silent evening.

It’d be nice to have a listening ear. Someone who specifically invades and intrudes to see how I’m doing, see what I need. Like the girl who once, in a conversation, abruptly asked “how’s your heart?” Always seems like it’s me shooting off texts or messages to see how people are doing. And it always seems like I keep running into people who disagree with me on such fundamental levels. They’re okay with it, while I am ever the advocate, becoming frustrated when I deconstruct the logic and philosophy of a belief, only to have it clung to in spite of the truth rather than because of it. Wouldn’t it just be nice to have someone who, on the important parts, agrees with me and sets my heart at ease that I’m not alone in the universe?

Well well, forgive another blue note in this ongoing symphony of letters, my dear. I’ll keep playing the Christmas music for a little while yet. After all, in ancient tradition, there were twelve days of Christmas. We’ve barely begun the fourth.

I hope you are well on this night, and preparing to celebrate the last Lord’s day of the year. May God go with you and grant you peace and illumination this night.

Yours,
Beren

December 29, 2013 Posted by | Holidays, Loneliness, Nights Like These | , , , , | Leave a comment

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

The Longest Night

Dear Darling,

It’s the longest night of the year. It’s unseasonably warm, and they just stopped sounding the tornado alarms. (As if I fear such a death.) It’s only rain now…rain and candlelight.

Tonight, it is once again the best of times and worst of times. I have finally conquered the hurdles that have been clouding my horizon since May. My mind is finally free, to think again, and to dream. I can read books again, rest without guilt, work some overtime, and even, Darling, I even sat down at the piano tonight. What a burden to be free of!

On the other hand, bizarre tumult within my family has led to some curious and temporary estrangements that have put my relationships in a slight tailspin. That and other factors shadow the edge of my success, and coworkers rather than family celebrated it with me.

It is the lonely fate of man to sail the seas of heartache, and nowhere is it written that anyone should be exempt.

I feel bad for the students who now stand where I stood, but I was grateful to witness at least one of them on the verge of melting down, that I could intervene to buy her hot chocolate and talk her through her fears. It seems I’m often appointed to be the person for someone else that wasn’t there for me when I needed the same thing. That is partly why we suffer, isn’t it…the better to help others.

I’m going to feel lost again with “only” work to occupy my time. I want to read more, but I’m often torn between reading books which better myself (history, philosophy, educational), and books that I enjoy reading for their own value.

And of course, need I say it? I miss you. You know I do. Such fun we could have on these nights…surrendering to winter’s enchantments. The snow, the skating, the movies, the decorating, the parties and gatherings…the dancing! Your Beren went dancing the other night my dear. I never much thought it would be for me until I found you, but then, I’d always wanted the chance to learn within the confines of obscurity.

I wish you were here to celebrate with me, to congratulate me and invite me over.

Whether in storms or gentle rain, stay strong and keep your head up, my dear. It won’t be long.

Love,
Beren

December 22, 2013 Posted by | Loneliness, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment