My metaphor today is actually not mine at all. Today I have a confession to make:
I only just a few months ago understood The Velveteen Rabbit.
I know, I know, you’re laughing at me, aren’t you? But it might have something to do with the fact that I had not actually read The Velveteen Rabbit as an adult until a few months ago. I had read it many long years ago when I was a kid, and at that time it read more like a documentary, because duh! Every one of my stuffed animals was definitely real and came alive at night, no question.
However, the other day I came across a beautiful hardback version of the tale at the bookstore (used) and realized my gross error in parenting; my children had never even heard of it!
At home, I sniffled a little as I began to read. Then I shed a tear. Then started blubbering like an idiot.
What a story, my friends.
What a beautiful multi-layered metaphor. It is my opinion that the very best children’s books do not smack the child upside the head with the moral, or use the children’s-book platform to write a book that is really meant for adults (!) Because that’s just plain annoying.
TVR manages to walk that line just perfectly. I encourage everybody to have a copy of this book on hand. My middle children loved it, by the way, but I haven’t even attempted to read it to the littlest as of this moment. I know they’ll just wonder why Mommy is honking into a tissue every few pages.
I struggle, in life, with letting myself be vulnerable. I put up a lot of protective barriers between myself and, you know, things that hurt. I am afraid to lay it all on the line. I know the Lord has been working on me in this area with scriptures like True love casts out fear and all that jazz, but He really socked it to me through this little book.
Here’s a little excerpt of probably the most famous conversation in the book, between the Velveteen Rabbit and the wise old Skin Horse in the nursery cupboard:
“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 often happen 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, andyour 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.”
Excuse me while I compose myself.
I want to be real. I don’t want to demand careful handling. I want those sharp edges to be worn off by that Love that isn’t afraid to be hurt. Can I stop being afraid of breaking long enough to let that happen?
As always, if you have a metaphor to share, leave me a comment along with a link to your site so I can come and read and celebrate your cleverness!