14 February 2011

Book Nook

In today's instalment we have The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams.  When my father sent the book for K, we had a bit of trepidation.  B & I had both remembered the story being very sad and thought it was more traumatic than it is.  K took to the book pretty quickly, and it soon became one of his favourites.  I'm glad I've become reacquainted with it, and that it isn't as sad as I'd thought before - it's become rehabilitated in my eyes.

 *Spoiler alert*

There's also a section that makes me tear up a bit, and I think says a bit about our journey on the path of holiness.
 "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. 

"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."

The Rabbit sighed. He thought it would be a long time before this magic called Real happened to him. He longed to become Real, to know what it felt like; and yet the idea of growing shabby and losing his eyes and whiskers was rather sad. He wished that he could become it without these uncomfortable things happening to him.
For me, this excerpt is a reflection of how we don't like the mortifications and such that are necessary to become holy, but they make us real, in a sense.  As a mother, I can perhaps relate this exchange to the stretch marks, wrinkles from said stretch marks, and other marks of motherhood.  But in the end, even if no one else sees me as beautiful, I pray that God will.


  1. He already sees you as beautiful, and so does your Daddy.