Beloved’s friend John said that he doesn’t have to believe in something just because he can feel it, see it, or use it. John says it is possible to accept something in the moment but not really believe in it or have feelings about it one way or another.
John is recently out of the military after spending several years traveling and seeing things the average person would never see. John has done things that Beloved could never imagine.
They were talking about John’s adjustment to civilian life when John announced that he doesn’t believe in things and can still use them and relate to them. He said that he never believed in violence, even though he was a part of a group that used violence for good.
John doesn’t believe in love, not the kind to sustain a person, nor does he think things have to last for long. His life and experiences have taught him to accept things at face value as they happen. He also learned not to expect anything from anyone or any place.
He has learned to make the most out of living out of the moments, and he knows that he can find things temporarily and have that be okay. Of course, he believes life is temporary too.
I told Beloved that I find this all a bit sad and wondered if John would change what he believes as he welcomes civilian life more. Beloved just shook his head and gave a slight shrug of his shoulders. I wondered where things went wrong for John, or if he has seen something wiser than I could grasp.
Beloved was gifted a lovely cardigan recently. It’s a nice, light grey color and perfect for cooler evenings or such. The four-footed one has become enamored with this article of clothing.
It started with her wanting to be picked up for snuggles when he wore it. She would push herself into the cardigan as if trying to become one with it. When discovered that he wasn’t always wearing it, she would curl up in it, make a nest of sorts, and sleep in it.
The other day he evicted her from her happy nest to wear the cardigan while taping a lecture in the cold office. She was displeased by the interruption, and the rest of the neighborhood was allowed in on the displeasure.
I had to take her for a walk, a long one so that he could record the lecture without her howling in the background. When we came home, the first place she went to was the office to see if the door was shut.
Discovering it open, she ran to the library, found Beloved there. She stayed with him for less than a minute before heading to the bedroom where the cardigan was on a chair. She spent a few hours napping in her nest before returning to us to look for some attention. I’m pretty sure if she could, she would have brought the cardigan with her.
The four-footed one decided my feet needed to be kept warm and held down. She also wanted to rest, and so she used my feet as a pillow.
Beloved had moved silently, making tea without a sound so that she wouldn’t wake up. I hadn’t asked him to make tea. However, there are times when he says tea is the answer. If you feel unwell, under the weather, or happen to be having a lupus flare, tea is apparently the answer.
He placed the tea beside me, moving silently to return to his chair with a teacup and saucer of his own. Naturally, if you make tea for someone, it is only polite to join them in a cuppa, as he would say.
I struggle the most with these acts of help and kindness. I work more to accept them and not feel helpless because of them than I struggle with the disease of lupus itself. Sure, these are signs of love, care and are offered as such.
I know neither the four-footed one nor Beloved see me as a burden, useless, worthless, or anything else of the sort. I realize that at times I allow lupus to make me feel those things. But I’ve spent so many years proving to myself and others that I was just as capable and healthy as they were that now these actions seem wrong somehow. I’m working on asking and accept these acts for what they are, acts of love.
A small stream of anger was rising up from within me. I could feel it trace the path from its origin to try and settle to the top of my mood. For years I have felt this anger try to be the emotion I feel most when lupus strikes.
The amount of anger I was feeling over the dropped and broken coffee mug was out of balance. It wasn’t about the broken ceramic, even though it was a favorite mug. It wasn’t about the spilled coffee either, even though I had been looking forward to that.
It was directly because lupus was flaring more so again. No matter how hard I try to keep it in check, there are times when it runs amock despite medications meant to prevent these flareups. The anger was because I did everything I was supposed to do, and still lupus was flaring.
The anger was because I knew that it would mean canceling plans and things I was looking forward to. It was because I would have to rely on others, require more help, and feel useless again.
That anger was because I knew it was absurd to feel this way since lupus is a daily part of my life, yet still, I respond the same way as I did when I first realized I wouldn’t be cured of this disease and instead would manage life with it.
So I left the wreckage where it was, took a few cleansing breathes, and reminded myself that the anger would not help the situation. And then I called Beloved, and I asked him to help.
A friend had insisted on giving Beloved a candle before we left for this latest adventure. It had survived the trip and somehow managed to survive Beloved’s penchant for burning candles until now.
The pillar candle was beautiful, a gentle grey giving way to lighter and lighter layers before reaching pure white at the base. Inside, near the darker part, the top had darker blobs randomly scattered throughout.
The mystery objects slowly revealed themselves as the wax yielded to the flame’s heat. Tiny, multicolored rocks gleamed through the puddle of wax.
As the candle slowly melted from layer to layer, these little rocks would sink into the next layer. It was a bit like watching the slow effects of erosion, and somehow it was a bit mesmerizing.
Rather than blowing the candle out after a few hours, Beloved decided to let it burn itself out. Unlike other candles, once this one was burnt out, there would be the little stones as a reminder of the gift it once had been.
Something is soothing about the simple act of washing the windows. The rains had moved through, followed by massive gusting winds. The result was dust caked to the windows so thickly that the sun was a dim representation of itself.
Armed with buckets, rags, and time Beloved and I decided to let the sun back in. We weren’t in any hurry as we made our way around the house. I left the higher up windows for Beloved to deal with while I focused on the ones I could easily reach.
The four-footed one napped in a patch of sunshine while we worked. Of course, she would be thrilled with the results of our labor as the dirty windows had meant fewer places in the house to find the perfect patch of sunshine to have a nap.
We were also thrilled because there are stunning views throughout the house, and the dirty windows had muddied them. The windows fairly sparkled in their newly cleaned state, and I confess to taking a few breaks to soak in the beauty of clean glass. It’s a simple beauty, but one that brings great joy to me. Beloved probably had a slightly different feeling since he had more to wash!
Beloved took the four-footed one down to the market so I could rest rather than have to chase her around the house. The four-footed one enjoys the market almost as much as she enjoys being chased throughout the house.
I had gotten comfortable with a book and a cup of coffee, knowing I would have at least two hours to myself. Two hours of doing whatever I wanted with no guilt. Sometimes this is reversed, and I take the four-footed one out so Beloved can do whatever he wants.
Don’t misunderstand. We love our four-footed one to death. We adore her, but sometimes we want a few moments for ourselves, and she doesn’t always agree with us on this point.
You see, the four-footed one is thrilled to be near us all the time. She is happy to find something for us to do with her if we are missing an opportunity. Frequently, she thinks we are missing opportunities for great fun, such as running around the house.
She will come back full from her adventure and be exceedingly content to curl up with me while I read or rest, and Beloved will be free to do as he wishes too.
Beloved was humming in the kitchen, the four-footed one supervising both he in the kitchen and me in the library reading. I had hinted, just a little earlier, that I might be hungry.
Beloved took this as an invitation to make muffins while planning a much larger meal to have later in the day. The muffins were more than enough. Frankly, one had taken away the hunger, but Beloved wouldn’t listen.
So he was humming while he made pasta and chopped vegetables. The humming carried on while the water boiled, something sizzled, and the four-footed one crunched on vegetables.
Without going into the kitchen, I knew that there would be enough food for more than the two of us. Beloved was cooking up a storm, but a joyful storm. From the smell, it would be a delicious storm.
This is the type of cooking Beloved loves to do. Say you are hungry or mention a particular food that you like, and suddenly he is planning and creating meals in the kitchen.
Since I had not been feeling well, the fact that I suddenly expressed hunger, Beloved moved into cooking mode. Muffins to nibble on now, with a feast for later in that day, was crafted. All of it sprinkled with love and care.
The four-footed one was just a few feet away, bouncing with joy as she made her way down this path. This walk is a favorite of hers because we stop and wave to the elders who live here on the town’s outer edges. Some of our visits result in her taking some tasty berries or vegetables freely out of gardens.
So as we headed down the path, she knows where we are going and has great expectations. If she could have, she probably would have been clicking her paws together with each bounce up in the air.
I was glad for the walk as well. It was the first in a while that Beloved was okay with just the four-footed one and I on the adventure. However, I wasn’t about to jump up and click my heels. I didn’t have the energy for that knowing how much further we had to go. But my heart was behaving similar to how the four-footed one was acting.
When we reached the small cluster of houses, we greeted each person with tail wags (the four-footed one) and waves (me). We stopped to chat, and the four-footed one managed to score many affectionate pats and six berries. All in all, she had been right to have such joy for this trip.
Have you ever been so happy to be around people, your favorite people, that you cannot contain your joy? Have you ever been so excited to see someone that you lose control?
If you are the four-footed one, this is a regular occurrence. Heck, she starts her day excited to see her people, greeting me with such energetic wags that her whole body shakes.
If you step out of the room or leave her for a couple of hours, she will greet you with such delight that she is dancing all around while trying to wag her tail and insist on being petted.
Small children frequently have the same issues from what I’ve witnessed. Somewhere during the growing up period, we tend to learn to contain our feelings a bit more from the joy and excitement to everything else.
Rarely do you see adults running around and into their favorite people. Most societies wouldn’t tolerate this type of behavior in adults. It would certainly make going to work more interesting.
Imagine the encounters as you bump into friends in stores or such. Or imagine if you randomly encountered a long lost friend while you were out eating with someone else.