By The Time You Are Real…

by Kim Giles

    One of my favorite books is “The Velveteen Rabbit,” written by Margery Williams in 1927. The lines I treasure the most are:

    "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."

    It has taken me many years to truly understand the truth and depth of these words. How often do you experience this in your life? Think of the people with whom you are able to be Real. They are probably those who have been with you when you’re cranky, or tired, or not feeling well. They love you because of who you are- not because of the clothes you wear, your address, or the car you drive.

    For myself, I encounter evidence of this almost every day. I visited my grandma, whose scars are healing from a life-saving surgery she had on her neck. She believes these scars make her look ugly, while I think she is beautiful. I saw an elderly gentleman at a park who kissed his wife on the cheek, said, “Time to go, my gorgeous bride,” and proceeded to wipe her mouth before taking her back to the hospital. I watched some squirrels for almost an hour as they worked together, scurrying around to gather food for the winter. It can be seen in the interactions between loved ones learning how to handle a newly diagnosed illness, or a husband trying desperately to convince his insecure wife that to him she is the most beautiful woman. It amazes me how difficult these loving words can be to hear at times, when the sincerity behind them can be so genuine.

    Perhaps the most incredible aspect, though, is to think of this in terms of God’s love. Our loving Father knows all of our doubts and insecurities and He loves us anyway- in spite of our big nose, ungrateful actions or sinful heart. This can be especially appreciated during the Christmas season. So often we get caught up in the things of Christmas - the decorations, gifts, music- the preparations for the celebration. What we should really be thankful for is the celebration itself. The birth of Jesus Christ IS the celebration.

    Because of the birth, death and resurrection of Christ, we have received the greatest gift of all- the gift of eternal life. We are a lot like the Velveteen Rabbit. As we experience more of life, our joints get sore (we cal it arthritis), our eyes may not drop out, but our skin does begin to sag (wrinkles), and some of us may lose our hair. Regardless of our broken hearts and baggage of lessons learned along the way, God loves us anyway. He is able to see the Real us- the us with potential beyond our wildest dreams. The child of God that can help to change the world. And once we remember that, then we never need to feel ugly again.

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