Letters to Luthien

Letters to My Future Bride


Church StreetDear Darling,

I’ve been meaning to go down there for a while now. Tonight, it seemed the best way to solve the silence — or at least pretend.

After all, I can’t just haunt country back roads or lonely parks. I may as well venture downtown and see what there is to see. Not that Saturday night after the races is the ideal time. It’s not like I don’t know who I’ll be seeing…the same inebriated and the partiers I saw trackside earlier, the stags and drags of the town who’ve shuffled through another week and are ready to tender their wages into drinks. They’re loud. They’re inappropriate. And they look like they’re having a darn good time. I guess those sorts of things just aren’t marked out for me…I don’t want to surrender my caution or senses to the bottle. I would be less useful to people if I did. Don’t envy the wicked, right? Don’t desire their company. Be zealous for the fear of the Lord, right? Aha, and who is fearful or zealous for the Lord anymore?

For good or ill, we’ve gotten away from who we used to be. Feminism in its more extreme sense arose in response to the perceived insult on women. But I read an intriguing theory on this construct recently. It says that the concept of male and female equality only emerged because there was no longer hardship or competition in the land. Men no longer commanded respect for founding the household, providing the food and shelter or protecting the family from danger. Man has become weakened through his success.

None of that is on my mind as I stroll passed the eateries and pubs. The landmarks are of greater interest to me. I’ve been here before, last year. I may be haunting the city, but its bittersweet memories haunt me back.

The fountain in the park presents a fetching portrait, as does the courthouse by night. As I walk along the row, I spy a lit church steeple a few blocks over, under a crescent moon. The music and frivolity are fast to die away as I make my way to the base of the church. I’m sure there was a time when a restless and world-weary fellow could walk inside and be welcomed there, and meet with his Lord silently. I do love a good empty sanctuary. But of course, it’s Saturday night in the city, and nobody’s home. Those lights are just for show. (I’ve known Christians like that.)

It doesn’t last long. ‘Tis no place can quell the dissonant vacancies that stir my heart night after night.

I know one reason why I’m restless. It’s not just the weather. It’s that I’m not useful. I’m not really caring for anyone. Today I worked, but I only put on band-aids and tended drunks, not the truly ailing. Nor do I mean just patients. I guarantee I’ll be restless even through the summer as I work. I mean you. I keep thinking of places to go or things we can do. I keep thinking of nice things to do for you, and then those inspirations just sit unused.

It’s my job to make sure you’re okay, and I’m not able to. There’s a lot of things in this life trying to make sure you’re NOT okay and I’m sorry I’m not there to balance those out. Such a mystery God would create a heart bent on giving, and then withhold the soul who would receive it.

Rest well tonight, love. See you soon.


P.S. Did you know that humans glow?

May 4, 2014 Posted by | Loneliness, Nights Like These, Restlessness | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gypsy Soul

TheWandererDear Darling,

These days, if my feet aren’t pacing, my mind is.

I can’t explain it to you because I don’t quite understand myself. All I know is, I have to be on the move. Something in the core of my soul, if not my body, drives me to press on and conquer and achieve.  It’s not like I don’t have plenty to do. Easter was spent at the house of Gladhbrui’s family for lunch, and then my family’s for dinner. When I returned home, I had a presentation and a paper to complete, among other assignments. Monday was full of class, exercise and Bible study, after which I worked the overnight and then went to clinical the next day. After a 28-hour day (I’ve missed those long hauls!) I slept four hours and then cleaned the house.

Still. Restless.

You’ll find this about me, my dear. I owe allegiance neither to day nor night. I will be up late into the wee hours chasing a muse, or up early chasing a paycheck. I may be up all day, or all night, or both. It’s only fair to warn you that no hour will be off-limits for me, except for consideration of your consonant slumber. (I look forward to the day when sleep is a privilege and joy rather than a begrudging obligation.)

Last week, finally free of the majority of scholastic encumbrance, I vented my repressed energy by running a league, swimming three furlongs and doing some lifts. (In another life, maybe I was meant to be an Olympian.)

I visited the family too, and paid call to the bridge. The weather’s far more inviting now, so I parked my car at the top of the hill hoping no house nearby found it disturbing, and slowly descended toward the creek. I think a lot of people mistake the calm and communion with nature for connection with God, or a substitute for being in His house. Drawing near to a perfect and holy God isn’t always the serene and comforting experience people hope it will be. But for me, I find it hard to be genuine with the Lord unless He and I are alone. Still more, in a still evening with civilization miles away. But it bothers me. I should be glorifying God in my prayers. On the eve celebrating His suffering, death and victory, I should be thanking Him only for His indescribably gift of salvation and redemption. To be sure, my prayers have been filled with more gratitude of late, but sometimes I feel it’s a broken record, of gratitude, requests, prayers for others, and prayers about you. I’m grateful the Lord doesn’t weary of prayers for and about you.

Still. Restless.

I wonder what Alegfast thinks. “What’cha looking for?” he quizzed, as I dug through a volume of poetry. “Inspiration,” I sighed. Most evenings now, I walk the blocks trying to pray through the clouds and the pollution of lights. I walk past so many houses with TVs on and find myself hoping I never become someone so simple as to be content just watching TV every night. Some of us have to earn our contentment with heroic efforts, and sometimes I wonder if life wouldn’t be easier if I were satisfied by a disposable dinner and a TV show warmed over.

Maybe I have the trademarked gypsy soul. It’s not as though I never want to settle down, or have developed a penchant for hoop earrings and itinerant panflutes. But I do get chronically restless just sitting still. I have to go somewhere, be on the move, even if it’s just for a walk. I have to escape, to the bookshop or the roadside jogging trail, or the gym. I’ve been searching lately for another park to haunt.

Haunting, as everyone knows, is a deed best performed alone. Searching on the map, there’s only squares of green, and none to tell you which ones are open, which ones offer moonlit pastures or which are free of other wanderers. I spent some time visiting some of them recently, but I’ve yet to find what I’m looking for. (I now have a better knowledge of my surroundings, but I’m out the gas and time and took to find them.)

But haunting is also a lonely and, yes, restless business. Sometimes I’m out there all alone and think it would make a great story if you were out there wandering also. But that’s just the fatalistic nonsense the fairy tales are made of. And anyway, we’d both be startled out of our wits to find we’re not alone.

For now, the pedagogues and headmasters are nearly through exacting their penalties for choosing to pursue the path of the healer. It’s been an incredible year already to spend in the world of mothers, babies and childbirth. It’s presented its singular frustrations that I’ve had to withhold. I know which hospital to choose for the birth of our children. I know what songs I’ll sing to them. I know how to go about raising them. More education I’d rather have received with you.

I’m hoping and praying you’re not quite as restless as all this, and that maybe you’ve found a peace and a calling to last you at least until we meet. Until then, I’ll just be here, searching for peace and chasing forever.


April 25, 2014 Posted by | Loneliness, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment