“What is REAL?” the Velveteen Rabbit asked the Skin Horse 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 a child 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 Velveteen Rabbit.
“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”
“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often 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 your 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. But once you are Real you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always.”
(“The Velveteen Rabbit” by Margery Williams)
I came across this quote in my web browsing the other night. I have always loved it. I have it written in a book I began keeping in my teenage years filled with quotes and poems that inspire me. When I stumbled across it the other evening, I was touched once again. There is something within these words that tugs at me each time I read them. “What is real?” is a question begging to be answered. It is a question loaded with infinite possibility.
We actually have a ‘Real’ rabbit here in our home. His name is Rabbie and he was given to the Tween on her first Easter by my father and his partner. The Tween was 5 months old at the time. Rabbie went everywhere with her. One day she left it at her aunt and uncle’s home and he had a ‘sleepover’ with them. Unfortunately for me, she did not sleep much at all that night because Rabbie was not there with her. Now that she is a Tween, Rabbie still shares her pillow. He also shares with the owl I made her and a couple of other toys (all with names) but he still shares her bed. Each time we go away on holidays and road trips, Rabbie and Bailey Bear are the first unpacked from her suitcase and placed on the bed each evening. Both are extremely well travelled (although Rabbie has more kilometres clocked up than Bailey). Rabbie began life with a pretty lace collar that has long since disappeared. He has had surgery (in my craft room) on a number of occasions. He has been sewn up and re-stuffed and seen the inside of the washing machine more times than I’m sure he ever wished to. Rabbie has become Real.
The Christmas photo at the top of the post was taken in 2004 with Lavender Bear who was a birthday gift to the Tween from my brother. She chose to have the bear in the photo shoot I did. (The Tween had her birthday yesterday so you can see she is quite close to Christmas). Poor Rabbie. Although he missed out on the photos shoot, he can console himself with the fact that he is now Real but Lavender Bear isn’t.
So where am I going with this post? Like Rabbie, I have become real. My joints have become stiff, rather than loose but I have parts that are breaking and falling apart. My stuffing moves around to various places all the time and I have had to be stitched up and repaired more times than I care to remember. To be real, you put up with all kinds of things in your life and you can be dragged from one situation or place to the next wondering if you’re going to make it out in one piece. But you do. Because when you are real, you are loved. It is that love that makes going on worthwhile. It is that love that picks you up when you fall and dusts you off. Being loved means that you have company on your journey. You don’t have to do it alone. Being loved means that joys are shared and blessings flow.
This can be summed up with a simple formula (although Einstein I ain’t):
Being Real = Being Loved
So to all of my Real friends out there – Have a blessed day 🙂