Becoming Real

While driving to work today, my attitude wasn’t so great. More often than not, I’m a bit like Tigger from Winnie-the-Pooh, but today I felt like Eeyore. I know in my head that stress and demands exhaust my spirit, but the journey from my head to my heart is a long one. On days like this, I look back through my journals. Doing this helps me remember that life is a process. Dated September 2005, I wrote the following. Reading it again today lifted my heart. I hope it encourages you as well.

I picked up one of my favorite books today . . . The Velveteen Rabbit. It’s a story about a soft toy rabbit who learns from an old rocking horse what it means to become real. The nursery setting delights me, and there is such wisdom shared in conversations between the skin horse and the velveteen rabbit. But who would have thought the process of becoming real would entail such anguish?

The old horse helps the rabbit understand just what it means to be real. Becoming real leads to shabbiness. It means we’ll eventually fall apart, something that won’t happen when we just sit upon the shelf and appear beautiful. The experiences of having whiskers pulled out, pink lining turning gray, and stitching coming loose turns a fragile person into a real person. There is a lot of shelf-sitting in my life, a lot of waiting and wanting to belong. But that won’t make me real. For the rabbit, love turned him shabby. And, though threadbare, he became real. The same will be true for me—if I allow myself to love and be loved so much that my layers fall apart.

I’m learning now a few things about being real:

  • Real is being able to say, “I don’t know.”
  • Real is allowing myself to fall into the arms of Jesus without worry.
  • Real is knowing that I may not understand God’s ways, then remembering that those of valiant faith were never told “why”—they simply believed and followed.
  • Real is saying, “I’m sorry.”
  • Real is being present in each moment and knowing that the present is exactly that . . . a gift to enjoy, not a possession to own.

Today, I hope you’ll let the lesson of The Velveteen Rabbit prepare your heart for the process. Have a great week.

Posted in Christian Living, Parenting, Special Needs.

Colleen Swindoll Thompson holds a bachelor of arts degree in Communication from Trinity International University as well as minors in psychology and education. Colleen serves as the director of Reframing Ministries at Insight for Living Ministries. From the personal challenges of raising a child with disabilities (her son Jonathan), Colleen offers help, hope, and a good dose of humour through speaking, writing, and counselling those affected by disability. Colleen and her husband, Toban, have five children and reside in Frisco, Texas.