Mike reminded me of quotes from The Velveteen Rabbit. The beautiful Velveteen Rabbit asked the very worn and injured Skin Horse toy about becoming real.
“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.”
“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 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.”
In the last few weeks, we’ve had the opportunity to reconnect with people we haven’t seen in many, many years. We looked back at the time when we had been classmates with one and also teachers and student with the other. When we thought of those years, we remembered so many mistakes. We were different people back then, young and just feeling our way along. We didn’t know how to be what we needed to be in those situations. We felt we were failures.
As we met these old friends, we got a glimpse of how they saw us in those early, early years. They didn’t judge us like we had judged ourselves. We heard from their lips ways we helped and encouraged them. We heard about what our friendship had meant to them. We told them what they meant to us and how they had also blessed our lives all those years ago.
We heard how they had been knocked around, rubbed raw, and left alone at times in the past. We shared our bumps and scars and calluses. Like the Skin Horse we all feel the effects of aging. Also like the Skin Horse we know the harsh effects love has sometimes had on us.
The thing we had in common with these old friends was that though people and life had sometimes treated us harshly, we knew Love and that’s what has made us real. We have not had to go through these experiences by ourselves, though at times it felt really lonely. God never left us! He provided what we needed to keep us going. He healed, strengthened, provided, comforted, and even used us through the tough times. These bodies show the wear and tear, but our spirits shine through with Light.
These friends had loved us and cared for us many years ago. They carried pictures of us in their heads of the way we were back then. We see the Skin Horse that we’ve become and sometimes rue our lost youthful glow. But love from the Father and love from these and many other friends over many years have made us real.
We had such sweet conversations filling in an outline of our years apart. We were amazed at some of the similarities. Though our paths have been different, we have come to many of the same opinions and experiences.
Is there someone you should try to find from your past? Why not reach out? Your love and good memories of them may be just the lift they need.