I have had a birthday and made a discovery about myself and life.
Friday was my actual birthday, and I got wet, the rain was icy cold, but my lovely, little friend Iris, small, dainty and much older also got wet, but not so wet that on an impulse , thinking of me, she stopped and bought me bright and sunny flowers. She bought on a loving impulse and then found she had no way of getting her lovely surprise to me until Sunday. Believe me those flowers were just as fresh on Sunday as on Friday what made them even more special was the hug and kiss that came with them.
On Saturday I helped another friend celebrate her 90th birthday, a surprise lunch arranged for her by a loving son. Now this lady’s latter years have been years of loss, husband, oldest son, beloved niece, always it seems she carries about with her a little pool of cloudy dark inside, that no matter what sunny, happy events happened around her, she couldn’t lose… Saturday, the sun got through and her Real self shone out.
Our Real self can be submerged, almost we would think lost, when we go through times of loss and sadness, but here are some simple but beautiful words from a story called the Velveteen Rabbit written in 1922 by Margery Williams:
“What is real? asked the a Rabbit one day when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender
“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 is why it doesn’t often happen to people, who break easily, or have sharp edgers, 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 do not understand’
‘I suppose you are Real?’ Said the Rabbit. And then wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive. But the Skin Horse only smiled.
‘The Boy’s Uncle made me Real,’ he said. ‘That was a great many years ago, but once you are Real you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always.’
Well, like the Skin Horse, I was made Real a long time ago, for I have and am loved by many lovely friends, like Iris, like Hilda. who being Real themselves, are still warm, still tender even after many pains and losses, but most of all loved Real by God whose Son Jesus became Real Flesh for us. I have made a Birthday promise to carry on being Real and really loving even after my eyes drop out, and I get loose in the joints and very shabby, because I won’t be able to do otherwise … it last for always … The Life and Love of God.