Letters to Luthien

Letters to My Future Bride

Requiem For a Day Gone By

20. Perez, Fabian - Baladas In Buenos Aires

“When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things past,
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear time’s waste:
Then can I drown an eye, unused to flow,
For precious friends hid in death’s dateless night,
And weep afresh love’s long since cancelled woe,
And moan the expense of many a vanished sight:
Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
And heavily from woe to woe tell o’er”

Dear Darling,

Again the thought comes to me in amusement, how I can burn so brightly the days in labor and study and then arrive at a day like today, containing no work or school obligations, containing no true obligations whatsoever — exactly the kind of day I needed — and I find myself bored. Did I tell you once, a friend observed how quickly I took to restlessness, noted I seemed to require “constant stimulation” and then noted that my future wife would have her hands full. Well yes and no, because in your presence I’m sure you will apply a steadying, calming influence and make me more content to apply the brakes. But in some ways, it does seem like the day was “wasted.”

Actually, I reviewed and signed a contract for the sale of a website, researched another article, submitted a supplemental document for the state medical reserve corps, laid plans for Christmas gifts, and attended a movie premiere tonight.

Tell me, how was your world today? Was your day productive? Did you find time to be happy, or to slow down and breathe, pray, to think of me? Is it cold where you are?

When was the last time someone said something genuinely encouraging or complimentary about you? It’s not uncommon to hear negative remarks from many — including myself —  and there’s just too much of that in the world. I’ve been trying to work on my encouragement, to some success. But on the opposite side of that, some remarks this have occasioned a reexamination of my reluctance towards accepting praise.

We all want to be unique and inspirational, to thought helpful and useful and wise. We all want to be someone of whom other think well. But as much as I strive for this to be true, I don’t know how to respond when people affirm it. I attend a weekly Bible study, whose study guides I regret to say are is often filled out in haste an hour or two beforehand. The subsequent discussions are often profitable however, and during the lecture my mind clears not just to hear the Word but to jot down thoughts for the day, or goals for the week, or notes about you. During this week’s, I talked with two other men older than I, who both asked me about my thoughts on a subject, and on one point noting “I wanted you to say something” during the group discussion. The phrase surprised me, and stuck in my mind — how do you handle it when someone praises you so highly? Another day, a friend and colleague referenced another colleague and said “he’s not like you; he doesn’t put others first, he puts himself first.” Again I was surprised at the flattering candor, and it stuck with me. At work, I encountered one nurse who had not seen me in two months, but enthusiastically requested my name and manager’s name again, to commend me formally on my help during a night when a patient neared death.

I remember one morning, about four years ago. I awoke in a strange hotel room with the knowledge that I had to deliver a speech, one I had been practicing for weeks, to a crowd of over two thousand. I felt small compared to the task, and remember taking solace in the song “Hold Me Jesus” by Rich Mullins. It’s still a song I turn to when I need help asking for peace from my Savior. I gave the speech to resounding results, though none were more gratifying than my mother meeting me offstage with a fierce, tearful hug and a whispered “I’m so proud of you.”

I don’t feel wise, or smart, or insightful. Indeed, I’m continually frustrated by my own ignorance, and the time I lack to remedy it. And I find that no matter how hard I’ve tried to become a little better than myself the day before, I am naturally inclined against accepting flattery or praise. Maybe it will serve me well one day.

But day by day, whether productive or idle, it is cheering to know the days are speeding on towards our meeting. It is good to see how God provides continually for me and forge ahead the paths He appoints.

But like today, it is sometimes dismal to eye the pile of days past, smoldering and spent, and to think of what we’re missing, together. It is not written in heaven’s Book of Days, yet I cannot shake the feeling that these ought to be our days, that something is amiss because we’re not spending them forging and celebrating our love. You should be calling me on my way home from work to pick up groceries. I should be buying for two, paying for two, ordering for two. I should be brushing your cosmetics to the side of the sink, kissing you good morning, and smiling to hear you stretch.

We should be crawling into bed together at night, reading to each other, discussing the news. We should be weighing each other’s opinions, advice and counsel. We should be singing together as we wash the dishes, reminiscing our lives and memories before marriage, mulling over how and where to spend the holidays. We should be crying and fighting and laughing. We should be kissing away these evenings, dancing in the dark, cuddling on the couch — guiltlessly feeding our desire for each other, finally content to do nothing more than exist. Our days should begin and end with God and each other.

Instead, alas, I’m alone and spilling my mind onto a blank page. It’s a poor substitute.

Listen to this song tonight my dear, because it made me think of you, and I hope that wherever you are, you know once again that I’m missing you tonight.


“The sad account of fore-bemoanèd moan,
Which I new pay as if not paid before.
But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
All losses are restored and sorrows end.”

– Sonnet 30, William Shakespeare

November 8, 2013 Posted by | Loneliness, Nights Like These, Poems | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment