“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.”
(from The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams Bianco)
During our lesson time this morning I was reading from The Velveteen Rabbit with my six year old Little Mister. As I read the above conversation between the Rabbit and the Skin Horse, there was a realization dawning on me brighter and brighter with every word. And I just had to copy this paragraph into my commonplace book afterwards. Don’t you love stories that feed all minds, young and old alike?! That’s a sign of a great book; it’s worth reading at any age.
The idea of being “real” is something my husband and I have been working on in our marriage lately. It’s not an easy topic. But if a marriage is going to withstand challenges, we absolutely have to learn to accept each other, no matter what. Offences must be confessed, masks must be dropped…and I mean ALL of them. It can be hard to come out of hiding. Sometimes we’re scared of rejection. Other times we’re reluctant to open ourselves to any kind of accountability. We’re not ready to give up what we’ve been holding onto so tightly.
Right now God is opening our eyes to blind spots we have lived in blissful ignorance of for many years. And for the first time in our marriage we are fully known and fully loved by one another. It’s like standing on the brink of a new beginning, at the entrance to a new and different world we get to explore together. It’s exhilarating, but like anything being birthed, it can come with a fair share of pain. Being this real means a whole lot of vulnerability. Some people won’t understand that. To them, it’s ugly. It’s messy. It’s not worth it. To those committed to becoming real, on the other hand, it will be a beauty to behold!
The Skin Horse is right. It doesn’t happen all at once. It’s a long process, not for the faint of heart! There is no way in our humanity, with our fragile emotions and sharp edges, that we could ever contemplate, let alone complete, such a journey. But thank God that when we are ready, He meets us with a love so overwhelming, so undeserved, that it might just rub our hair off and knock a few joints loose!