Are You Real?
One of my favorite passages from a book is the following from the Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams: “What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day. “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. You become. It takes a long time. 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.”
What makes us Real? What makes us loved?
Over the past months our membership has lost loved ones to deaths which have been slow and debilitating, little by little, day by day, taking away the quality of life and energy once so naturally enjoyed. The physical and mental diminishing of one’s abilities is among the saddest of loss for the person and family who have loved them over the years.
Easter is a time of new life; the color, light, hope and miracle, all fill our minds and encourage us to rejoice. “He is not here, he has been raised.” (Matt. 28)
But three days earlier, the scene was devastating. Jesus, a 33 year-old, fully able-bodied man with a keen mind and miraculous power, was broken, dehydrating, losing consciousness, bleeding, and becoming a shadow of his physical and mental self. Around the scene were those who could do nothing but watch their loved one die. Mary, Jesus’ mother was there as was Joanna, Salome, Martha, Peter and other disciples, men who had worked with Jesus and shared stories and jokes, family happenings and adventures. They couldn’t do or say anything to change the unfolding of Jesus’ death, but I am sure they wished they could have changed his pain and his anguish.
Jesus, even though weak and broken, was no less loved and cherished. Jesus was “real,” loved unto death and then beyond to eternity. The picture snapped at the cross was not pleasant to see, but once you have been loved, you can never be looked at the same; love overshadows all the loss, grief, and brokenness of death and makes a person beautiful and real!
“By the time you are loved so much, your whiskers are gone, the pink lining to your ears turn grey and your brown spots fade. You even begin to lose shape and scarcely look like a rabbit any more – except to those who have loved you. To them, you are always beautiful.” (adapted, Page 32, Velveteen Rabbit)