Letters to Luthien

Letters to My Future Bride

Help Me Lose My Soul In Your Song

Framed by MoonlightDear Darling,

It occurs to me that in unburdening myself from the plurality of doubts or questions that assail me, it’s possible I’m only adding to your sadness. Could it be that sharing the loneliness and darkness which lurk in between the hours only makes me a sort of emotional parasite?

I certainly don’t mean it to be. I mean it to be the sharing of my innermost thoughts, a reflection of the things I will find precious in you. It’s a demonstration of trust. Most secrets are a burden to the soul, but for now only you can be trusted with this, that at times, blackest night fills my soul.

Now you may rightly suggest such trust is diminished if yours aren’t the only eyes that can read them. And perhaps those eyes too turn away, like humanity does when it observes a plight upon which it cannot improve. But I believe in setting an example in all things, and you should know that I have received letters from the other souls who were inspired to create the same treasures for their future spouse, and to better themselves in the meanwhile. And I hope you’ll accept that in fair trade, knowing that there is only one person in all of humanity for whom these words are written.

Who do you inspire, being the lovely creature I know you must be? Being someone’s inspiration is always gratifying, and for me it seems to be occasioning more often of late. It happens when I’m not trying. Miluihun has taken up swimming because it was something I suggested. I’ve been cooking up enough food for a week at a time, as well as working out, both of which are habits to which Alegfast has expressed interest. I think we should always strive to be someone that inspires others…if for no other reason than because in so doing, we inspire ourselves to become better. We never know who is watching and imitating.

So tell me, how was your day? Was the weather as opulent for you? I spent most of it sleeping off last night’s shift, an exciting night fraught with people trying to die. And as I wander the neighborhood tonight, I find myself settling into a feeling of contentment. Correctly I judged that restlessness rears its head when I’m not caring for others. The night was exhausting, and fulfilling, and educational and gratifying. It doesn’t hurt that school is out and I’m free to perform these labors; I’m glad to break free of days yet again, no longer thrall to the sun.

I think it’s important to enter the throne room each night. (Of course, I also think it’s also important to approach God’s Word every day and on that matter I’m less faithful.) That’s one reason I take my walks. It’s a form of meditation…it allows you to step outside of your own head (or perhaps inside of it) for a while. When you walk into the throne room, you realize how much you’re carrying from the day, how much you need to unpack and sort, what to throw away and what to hold on to. Sometimes I realize I haven’t really thought about the Lord for a lot of the day…much less you or even myself. But I’m not always sure that’s an evil.

It’s the perfect temperature out here tonight, with silvery clouds framed by a burgeoning moon. (The photo you see above.) The streets are silent and vacant. A blended host of fragrances wax and wane during my walk, earthy moisture, soothing winds, pungent shrubs, fertilizer. And although I try to pray, or compose letters in my head, I find silence serves me better than anything. I think perhaps this was even the Lord’s doing…to compel me to be still and know He is God. God wouldn’t have left us those words, “be still and know I am God,” unless our human natures inclined to the opposite of both. (I think if there were only two words I were permitted to travel back and give my younger self, it would be “talk less.”) Sometimes prayer or worship takes work…but sometimes there’s a restorative peace in these silent walks, and I hope you have the opportunity to duplicate them.

I booked the band for our wedding tonight, by the way. Now don’t get ahead of me, for you’ve final veto authority if you’d like. But of course such are always in the back of my head somewhere, and tonight I attended a live jazz concert outdoors, and as the music poured over my ears like so much honeyed brass, strings and reeds, I thought of you and wished for your presence. We’d have danced, I think — not particularly gracefully, though I daresay it won’t be vain if we learn together some day. (Few things lift my heart like live jazz, much less the renditions of the songs from a bygone era.) I approached the director afterward to inform him that I would like him to play at my wedding. He asked when it was, and I explained that with my first sentence, he now knew as much as I did. They gave me the going rate, and as far as I’m concerned, they are hired. I can already see you swaying in my arms to the gentle sounds of big band romance.

They played this one song tonight, Darling…I think you’d have liked it. Rio De Janeiro Blue. “Months go by,” went the third verse. “I wonder why, I’m left here on my own. Could it be my destiny, is to live this life alone? These dark and rainy days have turned me cold; long and sleepless nights, gettin’ on and I get a feelin’ that I’ve seen the last of you, Rio De Janeiro Blue.” (Aye, more of the blues than jazz in that song, but ’twas here especially that it plucked the chord of loneliness in your absence.)

All around, I see the continual reminders of the advancing years. I’ve told you about the marriages and engagements and such, but even within my friends and younger family, job interviews, graduations and drivers tests abound. A foreshadowing, perhaps, of how parenthood will speed by in the unfolding of the years, and as we watch our children grow. For all practical concerns, all of the life we’ve lived before now has taken place in a second. Every year we’ve lived is now compressed into what has passed, existing now only as a memory. I’m a sad frown, adrift in a sea of smiles; couples and dancers and young love’s romancers, all whirling and gay and if they look at me, it’s with the unspoken question, what’s wrong with him that he finds not the love we found with such ease?

And yet, I think we may rightly console ourselves that the best of the years are still in store. It is with this hope that I close this letter, sealed with a kiss blown onto the night air. There may it be carried to where you sleep, and there may it warm your dreams.

Love always,
Beren

May 14, 2014 Posted by | Nights Like These | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Your Time Is Coming, Part 2

On The Marriage of T.K and C.C. The Morning Stormy
Thomas Carew

Such should this day be, so the sun should hide
His bashful face, and let the conquering Bride
Without a rival shine, whilst he forbears
To mingle his unequal beams with hers;
Or if sometimes he glance his squinting eye
Between the parting clouds, ’tis but to spy,
Not emulate her glories, so comes dressed
In veils, but as a masquer to the feast.
Thus heaven should lower, such stormy gusts should blow
Not to denounce ungentle Fates, but show
The cheerful Bridegroom to the clouds and wind
Hath all his tears, and all his sighs assigned.
Let tempests struggle in the air, but rest
Eternal calms within thy peaceful breast,
Thrice happy Youth; but ever sacrifice
To that fair hand that dried thy blubbered eyes,
That crowned thy head with roses, and turned all
The plagues of love into a cordial,
When first it joined her virgin snow to thine,
Which when today the Priest shall recombine,
From the mysterious holy touch such charms
Will flow, as shall unlock her wreathed arms,
And open a free passage to that fruit
Which thou hast toiled for with a long pursuit.
But ere thou feed, that thou may’st better taste
Thy present joys, think on thy torments past.
Think on the mercy freed thee, think upon
Her virtues, graces, beauties, one by one,
So shalt thou relish all, enjoying the whole
Delights of her fair body, and pure soul.
Then boldly to the fight of love proceed,
‘Tis mercy not to pity though she bleed,
We’ll strew no nuts, but change that ancient form,
For till tomorrow we’ll prorougue the storm,
Which shall confound with its loud whistling noise
Her pleasing shrieks, and fan thy panting joys.

March 21, 2014 Posted by | Poems | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Your Time Is Coming

GleamingBrideDear Darling,

We all have our time in the light.

I’m not talking about fifteen minutes of fame. I’m talking about the moments where the sun shines fair and the light catches us just right to magnify all of our best and favorite features. We look our best, and feel our best, we feel grand and capable and hopeful, and everyone is looking at us while it happens, wishing us happiness and joy.

You’ve had a taste of that here and there, I know. Times you won, times you were proud of yourself, never happier to be you, times when everything came together at just the right time, or you were paid a compliment that somehow fell through your defenses, or you caught your reflection smiling back and approving your favorite outfit.

One day, someday soon, that day is coming round, bigger and better than it ever has been. It’ll be the sum of all those parts put together. Your friends will come to honor you, our families will celebrate and give gifts. The bells will ring, the organ play and down the aisle will come the only person that matters among the whole crowd in the entire church. Every eye will turn to you, radiant and glorious in white.

You will get to fret over wedding cards and decorations and venues just like you’ve wanted to, only this time you won’t be worried about bridesmaids’ outfits which fit or compliment you, but your friends. You’ll shine brightly in our engagement and wedding photos, and of these I attach the greatest premium. I don’t see us lacking for photographers with as many friends as I know in the industry, and these are the captured moments that can outlast a wedding gown or bouquet. We won’t let our friends and family be snapping away with their phones, but invite them to be present in the moment itself.

You will go from joy to joy as we seal our vows with a kiss, celebrate our union with a dance, and then depart at last.

But it’s not just a day, sweet heart. Days can disappoint, fail, be sabotaged. Winds can mar, rain can soak, tempers can flare. We can’t hinge all these golden hopes on the one day, but each one after. We can rest in each new morning, in the simple and intricate confidence of knowing we rise together to face life’s challenges.

You can rise knowing you’ve found something equal, something new. Something that turns your head because it touches your mind or heart in a way no one ever does, that you thought no one could. Something surprising and unexpected. Someone who asks questions, appreciates rawness, can get you to talk more, invite themselves to listen more. Someone who gives you an outlet, a ray of hope, a new perspective…or who will at least try.

Oh my dear, you’ve lived in the shadow often enough, unappreciated, unrecognized. You’re a crown of beauty, and one day the curtain will draw back and you’ll be properly brought into the light.

And oh, how you’ll gleam.

Until then.

Love,
Beren

March 20, 2014 Posted by | Anticipation, Our Timeline, Our Wedding | , , , , | Leave a comment

Finally

Dear Darling,

Hunger is the best seasoning. Too rare are the moments when both the word “finally!” and its significance can be breathed together. Life is a struggle, and things seldom go just the way we want. More often than we admit, that’s best for us.

Yet there do come moments whose sweetness is almost beyond savoring, moments where the burden of cares and of life itself is lightened, sometimes forever.

It may be the job we’ve always wanted, introducing us to achievement, respect and a new income bracket.

It may mean the luxury of new living arrangements, easing the constriction of a troubled mind.

It may be finally conquering a lifelong worry, finally understanding that we’re greater than the sum of our fears.

It may be succeeding where we thought we would fail — or the sigh of relief when the speech is done, the song is sung or the concerto played.

It may be triumphing over an exam or a class, when after anxious seconds the score is known and the knots of your gut finally loosen.

It may be a truth finally learned, a mystery solved under whose darkness you’ve labored for years.

It may be the slow and gradual awakening to the fact that we are capable and strong, the envy not of our peers but of our former selves; to realize you’ve become the self you aspired to be.

And then, it may be the peace and joy of finally, finally finding that long-sought special someone for whom we’ve pined.

None of these things solve life’s problems. They simply ease them. They don’t cure the affliction…but they do manage the symptoms. After all, it isn’t until you escape the surly bonds of earth that you recognize what a burden it is being a slave to gravity. Accustomed as we are to earth’s weight and pull, the lifelong struggle merely to stand erect, we don’t know what such relief is like until it happens. And then it does. And all the rest of life pales by comparison.

The irritations of life are diminished and its joys enhanced. Life’s problems loom less, its pleasures more. The world itself seems changed. Food is better, touch is kinder, patience keener, sun brighter. Sheet are softer, sleep is sweeter — and we are none the worse for waking. We wring meaning from life instead of life wringing meaning from us.

Perhaps this sentiment won’t feel as it seems, or else how could couples restrain themselves within the joy they’ve found?

I’m at the stage of life where most of these are still just a promise to strive toward. Which can be difficult since my peer group tends toward people who are already unwrapping those moments for themselves.

My dear, in this earthly life, marriage should be the single greatest and most important thing. School and work should be secondary; they will always be there with their opportunities, the bills will always come, the sick will always need of treatment. And maybe I do wrong by having to prioritize those things to keep the lights on and to keep progressing on the track towards which I can be your provider.

Age, though it asks only a day at a time of our lives, will continue grinding away at our hopes and our destinations. God knows what He’s doing…but we have our own “finally!” to find. Several of them, in fact. The ones we first say silently to ourselves as each learns more about the other. The finally of a relationship in which we both feel secure. The finally at the altar, or the honeymoon suite. The finally of a first house and a firstborn child, and all the other finally’s I wrote above. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to get them started. One can be driven mad with the changing promises of those moments and their arrival. All we can do is keep pressing on. So Darling, I’ll see you there, and until then, I will see you in my prayers and dreams.

Love ever,
Beren

February 16, 2014 Posted by | Anticipation, Loneliness, Nights Like These | , , , , , , | 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