Letters to Luthien

Letters to My Future Bride

Is That Okay?

Dear Darling,

There is much that I would speak of in these past few days, in the spirit simply of continuing the narrative of my life in hopes that you should find it pleasing to read one day.

Friday night found me restless again. For the past several weeks, if not months, I find very little that is new or exciting, fiery or passionate in my life. Helping people wears even the best of us down, so that I was even too footsore to gun my engines for a good run or workout as I’d have liked. I may walk in the nighttime province of the moon, but the stores are closed, the roads are clear, and all sane folk are abed. I spent part of the night celebrating a family member who just passed boards and will become a nurse quite soon now, but the night later took me wandering down the road to find an open sky and quiet lane. The road I chose was too close to the road, and the cars proved too noisy and distracting. I chose a hiking path on the northside, which proved even worse due to its proximity with the interstate. So that evening was less meditative than I’d have liked. I returned home to inscribe some thoughts for you before sleep took me.

I more than made up my deficit of sleep the following morning and into the afternoon, after which I joined Alegfast and company at the pool. We spent some hours there; an excellent reminder for me that oft’times I must force myself, quite literally, to relax. It was an afternoon of solid rejuvenation, and I must take greater caution in the binge-and-purge nature of my work and sleep schedule, as well as budgeting for the off-times. I was able to read, and swim, and take in the sunlight (in cautious doses, but we night-shifters have greater need of it than most!) and spend time with friends.

I ruminated once again on the subject of being different from the world. A classmate sought to offer advice to me about women over lunch…very little I hadn’t heard before, such as relaxing my standards, or relaxing my approach toward women. He has no spiritual inclinations, though I did share the gospel with him. There were some points he made that seemed worthy of consideration. Even prophets have been advised by donkeys.

But fundamentally, he will not understand where I’m coming from. Very, very few will. And why bother explaining to the world why I’m different? It sounds either egotistical or dramatic, and if I am secure in my disparities, I will have no need to defend them. But of course, I continue to question which parts are my own frailty and mistakes, and which are simply the ever-hastening speed with which our culture descends.

I am immensely grateful for my times of walking, of silence and prayer. I don’t escape into nature to have a theatrical brawl or an intellectual wrestling match with God. I come before Him a tiny and broken soul — just big enough to know how truly small I am, and living in a world of people too small to know how small they are.

There’s an old 10th century Norse poem entitled The Wanderer, which reads in part:

“Ever it has been my lot to bewail my sorrows in solitude in the twilight of each morning. There is now no-one left alive to whom I dare tell frankly the feelings of my heart. I know truly that it is a mark of nobility in a knight that he should fasten securely and keep to himself the treasury in which his thoughts are stored — think what he will! For all his grief of heart a man cannot resist Fate, nor can his troubled spirit give him any help. And so those who are eager to be of good report generally keep their sorrow imprisoned in the secret chamber of the heart.”

“Beren, you’re not happy,” they say. “Perhaps you should fix that before you expect to find someone else. There’s no one that can fix you!” “There’s seven and a half billion people on this earth,” my colleague told me over lunch today. He has a good heart, though not a redeemed one. “Don’t carry them all.” Of course, not, but who will? Every man for himself, is that it? And how few are the solutions offered for such problems! They call me cold because I’m awake. They say I despair because I’ve seen the truth. In some ways, I’m hardened by a battle few others see or heed; a battle for the mind. At times I feel as though watching from afar, speaking the truth and being ignored. Only fools think they are immune from the deceptive arts of the evil one.

Darling,
I balk at the term “sensitive,” but there are some indications that I could be described this way. You should know, very few people who encounter me professionally or socially would suspect such musings stirring in the murky depths of my soul. I don’t advertise this. Nor even in my private moments do I break. I don’t collapse. I don’t melt down, or have panic attacks. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God made me strong, and makes me strong.

Yet, even saints have dark nights of the soul; a chronic fatigue of the world’s weight, and a desire to carry it heedless of the cost.

And increasingly, I struggle to find the balance between becoming a better man, the man I know I am becoming with each passing day, and remaining true to myself, not losing my identity and conforming to an image and unrealistic expectations of the world. I dearly hope you are doing the same.

And so I find myself wondering, on the times, however brief, that I want to fall apart, will you let me? Is it okay for a man to have wounded wings, and need a little saving grace? Or shall you scorn the violent honesty of a man who uncovers his wounds? Is it okay if I need you and want you, and know I cannot be happy until we’re no longer apart? Or will you toss your head at such poetic nonsense? There are things husbands need from their wives, and I feel it’s important that you know.

Ah, and Darling, though the wounds be from a friend, they still bleed. What if I have missed the big picture? What if women don’t want to be adored? What if they want me to be strong, to sit down and shut up about the silence within? What if a woman’s lacklustre treatment of me was secretly how she expected me to treat her? What if I’ve failed to communicate my needs in the past, instead of simply hoping to find latent compassion within a good-hearted woman’s soul?

How should I conceal a love so great as to give it in small and disinterested doses? Shall I not lay my cards out, speak plainly, avoid games?

I don’t know the answer to these questions. Yet I know this for certain, that my God is sovereign. Not even my own stupidity or cluelessness can thwart His plan.

And so, we may entrust this as in all things, to our Savior and guide.

The morning birds are beginning their sun-conjuring, my dear. Lightly may your head rest on the pillow tonight! Lightly may your labors alight on your shoulders tomorrow.

Yours,
Beren

June 9, 2014 Posted by | Loneliness, Nights Like These, Poems | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment