Funny thing happened Sunday at church, that last little bit of my heart that was closed up tight got watered with my tears and received rays of sunshine from our guest speaker Mindy Audlin. The funny thing is – I didn’t even know I had that last little bit to open up and heck, who knows – maybe it really isn’t the last little bit to open up?!?
She spoke about reality – what is Real to us, Real with a capital R. She referenced the story of the Velveteen Rabbit and him talking to the old skin horse and just wanted to know what it felt like to be real.
Passage from the Velveteen Rabbit:
The Skin Horse had lived longer in the nursery than any of the others. He was so old that his brown coat was bald in patches and showed the seams underneath, and most of the hairs in his tail had been pulled out to string bead necklaces. He was wise, for he had seen a long succession of mechanical toys arrive to boast and swagger, and by-and-by break their mainsprings and pass away, and he knew that they were only toys, and would never turn into anything else. For nursery magic is very strange and wonderful, and only those playthings that are old and wise and experienced like the Skin Horse understand all about it.
"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 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."
"I suppose you are real?" said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive. But the Skin Horse only smiled.
After she read this passage, she talked about us being Real – Real with ourselves, Real with others, Real in life. And it really had me thinking – how often are we not real with ourselves.
We try to make ourselves happy with this or that but if this or that doesn’t do it? I was debating with myself before last Sunday if I should put Ian in Thursday MDO as well, so he would go 3 days a week to give me more time to work on my “stuff.” Well after the story she told – a lady at a conference came up to her to speak after she gave a talk about her life. The lady revealed she had been laid off from her 200K job and was then at home with her 11 year old daughter and found the daughter’s journal in which she expressed how unhappy she was with her life, suicidal thoughts and how she wanted her mom. After her mom read this of course she was taken aback because she had no idea. But here was the thing - the mom still felt she needed a 200K job to give her family the “quality of life” they were used to. But what is that quality of life Really if the whole family is upset that mom isn’t home?
So that completely sealed the deal for me – there will be no Thursday MDO for Ian. I am not sure where this is going but it really made me think of the “stuff” we put in the holes that we are trying to fill when it more than likely if we put love, kindness and joy in the those holes we would be Real and not have those holes – who knows though? I might live in a fairly-tail land but I have found I would rather live here and fail then to have not lived here at all. In my mind, it is worth a try.