Another example is The Velveteen Rabbit. It's probably my all-time, all-time favorite. I simply cannot read it without shedding a few tears. This magical story takes place in a little boy's nursery where the toys compete for the boy's affection. Upset after being abandoned after the excitement of Christmas, a sad velveteen rabbit is soothed by a tattered, wise skin horse
who tells the rabbit that the boy will eventually love him. The wise horse becomes a mentor
for the rabbit, a perfect model of contentment.
One day, the rabbit asks a question: "What is real?" More than anything else, the rabbit wanted to be real, to be loved and not ignored. The horse replied that real wasn't how something was made. It's a thing that happens to you over time. The little rabbit then asked if it hurt. "Sometimes . . . [but] when you are real you don't mind being hurt. It doesn't happen all at once. You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't 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 those things don't matter at all, because once you are real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."
I hope I don't spoil the story, but the little rabbit does eventually becomes real. His journey to Realville is a marvelous spiritual adventure about honesty and friendship.
While browsing in the health and wellness section at Barnes and Noble the other day, a book caught my attention. There on the cover of the book was the original drawing of the velveteen rabbit, and it was entitled The Velveteen Principles: A Guide to Becoming Real (Toni Raiten-D'Antonio). I had to pick it up, and after reading the first few pages, I had to buy it.
The author is a psychotherapist, a teacher, a mother, and a wife. Her principles are based on the values presented in Margery Williams's story and the insights she has gained from her own experiences. She speaks of love, empathy, and compassion and encourages her readers to struggle against that which is not real in this world. Much of what she shares is reminiscent of Biblical wisdom but is shared in a nonreligious way.
Here are a few of the principles.
- Real is possible.
- Real is a process.
- Real is emotional.
- Real is empathetic.
- Real is courageous.
- Real is honest.
- Real is generous.
- Real is grateful.
- Real can be painful.
- Real is flexible.
- Real love endures.
- Real is ethical.
Jesus left us a model of real. He is our legacy.
I don't know about you, but I crave real - real worship, real friendship, real love, real purpose, real relationship. I desire to live real and to really live; unfortunately, I find myself living too much of the time in Romans 7 doing what I shouldn't do and not doing what I should.
God intended us to live in Realville. It is a possibility, and blessings abound in Realville. Psalm 32: 1-4 says that there is joy for those whose sins are forgiven and who live in complete honesty.
God's blessings on your journey and on mine.
Check out the following if you haven't already:
- Stone Soup
- You Are Special
- The Selfish Giant