Friday, December 25, 2009

A Year-end meditation on being Real

I remember reading Margery Williams' classic The Velveteen Rabbit to my kids when they were little. They are now young adults. If you've never read the book, get a copy, and find a kid to read it to. It is a subtle and beautiful work.

I still can't read it out loud without getting choked up. But that's just me.

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "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 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 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."

...May you become real.


Dan Brekke said...

Thanks for posting this, Doc.

If you haven't heard it, find the recording of Meryl Streep reading this (with George Winston's music).

The choked-up part -- it's not just you.

Flee said...

Reminds me of my 17 year old son's stuffed Tigger, he has been loved very real! Very Beautiful! What a wonderful wish!