Letters to Luthien

Letters to My Future Bride

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,

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

Sundry Thoughts for October, Part III

23. Svabinsky, Max - The Confluence of Souls, 1896Dear Darling,

1) I forgot about you today. Don’t be upset, I pretty much forgot about myself for a while too. When you’re absorbed with and orbiting around the lives and hurts and pains of the ailing, you can easily forget about yourself, immersed in the problems of others. It’s  probably a good feature for someone aspiring to be a servant of Christ. And anyway, it’s just that much cheerier when my mind finally comes to its senses and remembers you. I can see myself making my way through the cold to the car, being warmed by the very thought that a warm house, meal and smile are waiting for me. It’s the kind of thought that pierces any gloom. But today the gloom remained unpierced, even if I do like a stiff overcast day.

2) It’s funny how so many things can be going right, even while you feel like they’re going so wrong.

3) I don’t feel like it’s okay to be weak in front of people, but I need a little help tonight. A shameless, pitying “there there.” A shoulder to cry on. I guess I wind up wanting that a lot, don’t I. But I know, that’s not what men are supposed to want. This cloak of anonymity allows me to be emotional; the words cry for me. But that’s not what you look for in a man, that’s not what’s expected of me. You may say you want to see your man’s frailties, but in reality a man that is stable and strong, always there for you, always a pillar of support, never buckling and always giving is something you’d like. And when I was driving home today, even though it all seemed to be going wrong, my mind turned to you, and how it would be the proper act of self-discipline to turn aside from all my so-called cares and focus only on yours.

But if you want the scoop, the insider’s tip on how to help me, here you go: push past my aversion to being focused on. Just as I would seek to conceal my troubles in deference to yours, push past my self-taught instinct to gloss over my troubles and show me you really care about mine. I’m afraid it doesn’t take very much to make me want to unburden, once someone shows me they care. I’ll need you to control me. On those nights when my soul runs wild, on those days when I overstress myself, when I fret overmuch about the world and its schemes. When I get out of control and work too hard, you may have to reign me in. I’m not sure I can instruct you more beyond that. I’ve spent only 8 of the last 62 hours asleep, The rest of them were spent mostly on work and school.

4) You know how often I’ve said I hope you’re waiting for me. I think there are limits to that. What I mean is, don’t wait for me too hard. You should live your life. Learn about yourself. Make friends. Find hobbies, learn skills. Even…even go on dates. If for nothing else than to see what society has to offer, so I look even better when I come along. (Wink)

5) A quote I read tonight, offered without commentary: “Oh darling, you will be good to me won’t you? Because we’re going to have a strange life.” – Hemingway, “A Farewell to Arms”

6) Have I ever told you about that night I read a nurse’s mind? I doubt it, because it only happened a couple of nights ago. You see, there comes a witching hour between two and four in the morning, when nurses find themselves with little to do but gather to talk. They share the most startling of thoughts, truths and disclosures here; very little is off the table. A proper gentleman might ought to walk away from such secrets, but then, would the servant of Christ shun an opportunity to be His voice for the sake of propriety? (I am afraid, though, that despite my best efforts, my mind is very accustomed to being present for the discussion of ungentlemanly things.) The topic was relationships. (A classic choice.) One nurse told of her fiancee. Another shared her cynical opinion on romance, although subconsciously confiding that she still longed for it. A third merely said she didn’t wish to discuss her love life. After a couple of questions which revealed she had a long-term boyfriend, awkward silence ensued. The unspoken is often much more telling, and I gazed silently at her as I mulled her reluctance. Finally she asked why I was looking at her that way. I told her I was formulating her background in my head. Intrigued, she insisted I share, so I told her that from the little she’d said, I could tell she was in a rocky patch with her boyfriend, but that it was nothing new, was typical of the problems they’d had for years, and so unlikely to change, and in light of that she was weighing the odds of whether or not she wanted to stick with it. Startled, she said that was pretty much exactly it, and asked how I knew. I shrugged it off, but then realized shortly after that this was something God had revealed to me. And if it was, then the glory belonged to Him and not to me at all. “Tell me that again?” she asked soon after while in a patient’s room, and pressed me again on their source. Giving God the glory sounds hackneyed and hokey at times, but I told her sometimes God just shows me things. She later said she wanted to think of more deep questions to ask me because I seemed to have answers. I told her I didn’t, but knew the One who did. It was a very poignant experience in retrospect, one which I wouldn’t share with many I know to avoid boasting, but it was strange to carry that revelation (or was it merely simple deduction?) and the ability to shine for my King to the extent someone wanted to know more.

7) The same nurses pressed me on my relationships, and why they were so rare. Strangely, I have grown to where I dislike discussing my standards, or why I am still alone, not through lack of comfort but because experience tells me they will not understand. Inevitably, I begin to suspect some of them are weighing their odds of connecting with me. I shared that waiting was a precious virtue of mine, and one I sought in someone else. But I realized later that I need to stop talking about it, even when asked. It makes people feel guilty. Truthfully, I’ve come to a difficult conclusion: God doesn’t give you any brownie points for waiting. It doesn’t make me any more special, and I’m not even sure it makes God that proud — especially if the sentiment carries with it the presumption of finding the same gift in another. I don’t regret my choice, but as I think about it, the culture has changed on such a fundamental level that such things are fine by societal standards, and the best you can hope for is that people own up to them as “mistakes” for which they’ve forgiven themselves. A man who hopes for more is an anachronism.

That’s just what I am. A man out of his time.

8) I think exhaustion from love will be about the best kind there is. Don’t you?


October 24, 2013 Posted by | Loneliness | , , , , | Leave a comment