Sunday, April 22, 2012

Becoming REAL...

 “What is REAL?" asked the Velveteen Rabbit one day... "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"
"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When [someone] loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."
"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept.

"Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand... once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always.”
Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit or How Toys Become Real

This passage came to my mind the other day... When my son made an announcement that he did not want Hippo (his stuffed animal that he had slept with since he was 4 months old) in his room any longer. A few years earlier Hippo had been stuck on one of his bookshelves, now apparently Hippo was being banished from the room entirely, but as you can tell by the pictures...Hippo has been loved!!! 
Hippo in 2000 before all the love

Hippo in 2012 after years of love

Becoming Real... it does come with a cost. I think it is just life. We get hurt and people let us down. We let people down... I have been there. I have been the one who was hurt and broken, and I have done my fair share of doing the hurting and breaking...

I don't know about you, but when I feel as if I have been "broken," I retreat... back to the safety of the toy shelf, the one that is waaaay... up high. I have "sharp edges and need to be carefully kept," and  I do not want anyone to  come too close for fear that I may be "broken" again.

Then I remember... Becoming REAL comes with a cost. Doesn't everything of  value? Am I going to be hurt at times? Probably so. Am I going to hurt those I love at times? Probably so, but in those moments I pray that I will remember the value of the relationship and extend forgiveness and be forgiven.  I want to live this life becoming REAL... In the end I may have  "most of my hair loved off and loose and shabby joints" but I would so prefer that than be in pristine condition because I sat way up high on the top shelf out of reach of REAL life,  REAL friendships, and REAL relationships...

At the end of life I pray that I am like  Hippo...I may be  missing my tail, the majority of  my stuffing gone, and stitched up in many places... but I will  know that I became REAL and was loved and REALLY loved back...

My little man may be ready to let Hippo go... He even suggested I give him to Good Will.  (As if!!! I am sure that no one would look at Hippo in Good Will and know his true value.) But don't you worry....this momma is not ready to let Hippo go.  Hippo is packed up safely because I do know his value....