On Being Real

This blog post is for Corey.  It will make more sense after I tell him the story of the Velveteen Rabbit.

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“Real….it’s what happens to you.”

When he was young, my son begged me not to read him “The Velveteen Rabbit” because I could never make it through the book without crying.

Through my tears, I saw many truths in this piece of children’s fiction that has a decidedly adult – even Christian – message.

For all of us, love – when new – is a totally ecstatic state of being.  This is the first message in the book that is universal in nature.  By itself, however, this happy state cannot last as it is ether in the air – light, laughing fun sent into the sky on brightly colored balloons that eventually must return to earth.

After a time and much use, love becomes the eventual bedraggled state of the Velveteen Rabbit – his tail completely unsewn, the pink rubbed off his nose, stuffing out of place. This sacrifice of being is what makes love real.  It speaks of love’s loyalty and the depth of feelings the Rabbit has for the Boy.

The story teaches that to be battered and saddened in love’s name can lead to the sublime.  Few can endure these things to the burnished state of such.  For most, our love does not reach as deeply as that the Rabbit feels for the boy.

The Rabbit loved the boy with all its heart and soul, to the point of sacrifice by being with the Boy when he catches scarlet fever, only to end up on the trash heap once the boy is made well.

Once such love has been given, it cannot be returned.  It is one lover’s gift to another.

In that bestowal we must find our grace and bravery, as did the Rabbit.  Because when you finally become real, as the Rabbit did, you can withstand being thrown on the trash heap.  And be resurrected.

 

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