“He said you become; it takes a long time.  That is why it does not happen often to people that break easily or have sharp edges or 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.”

The Velveteen Rabbit

As a child I remember this book, The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams.  It was a Christmas Gift.

It felt familiar hearing the words of love for a special toy that becomes your best friend. A friend that is always there when you need to…

  • Share your joy and sorrow,
  • Scare off monsters in the night,
  • Get a hug when you need it.

The Velveteen Rabbit was spellbinding with its insights into a world I understood. The twists and turns were emotional even though a happy ending. At the same time, it was sad.

A Special Toy

My son, who is 40 years old still has his beloved Brown Bear. Not the best-looking bear now, but that does not matter when you love something. Tattered old bears have years of love built into them. Brown Bear had been dragged around, dropped in a puddle, been in the honey pot and through the wash and spin cycle a few times. As the years go by, Brown Bear is still loved, even more actually.

Over time a special toy can really become your best friend and can become Real to you

It’s a thing that happens to a special toy. When a child loves it for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves it, then it becomes Real.

Life Lessons

As an adult, I find this story intriguing.  It embodies many life lessons.

I was thinking of my journey and the journey of loved ones that lead us down a path of understanding and change.

Many lessons are learned by just living.

As years go by, experiences are embedded in our being, and maybe we come out a little worse for the wear. Just like that tattered Rabbit or Brown Bear.

Sometimes we become, more cynical,

Not so trusting,

A little scared and,

A lot more opinionated.

Becoming Real

But is it all bad?

Do we become Real?

Life experiences gives us a perspective that we would not have living in a bubble.

The refiners fire makes us stronger, more able to weather the storms.

“Adversity is the refiners fire that bends iron and tempers steel.”

James E. Faust

True Story

A special person in my life, Emma, led a stellar life.

She charted out a course for herself and her family.

High ideals drove her behaviour. Doing for others and being the best person she could be.

If I had anything negative to say it is that maybe she was intolerant of others that did not share her ideals. “Why can’t these people just be normal” I would hear her say.

Inwardly she would judge, and criticize their behaviour, avoiding contact with them as much as possible. These were people forgotten or dismissed due to a life gone bad.

Interestingly, her life was surrounded by those that had addiction problems.

Not understanding the disease that enveloped the soul, mind, and body of these struggling people, it was hard for Emma to relate or feel compassion for them.

Maybe witnessing this life style made her embrace the life she had even more.

Maybe.

Its ok not to want what you see, but not ok to step aside or over others that live a different lifestyle.

When Tragedy Struck

Years went by and tragedy struck Emma.  One by one she lost the life she built for herself and her family.

All outside of her control, there was nothing she could do.

Slowly the life she despised surrounded her.

All that she held near and dear now was a glossy reminder. So she turned her back on everything.

Just as anyone could predict, addiction became her solace, her best friend. The person she was is now a distant memory.

She was heading down the road toward the forgotten and dismissed.

The persona she despised was looking back at her in the mirror.

Learning About Love & Becoming Real

If you’ve never read it before, the story of the Velveteen Rabbit is about the journey of a toy velveteen rabbit learning about love and what it means to become real. It’s a story that reflects the human pilgrimage we all take to discover and hold onto our authentic selves.

Hitting Bottom

As time went by, Emma lost her reputation and all that goes with it.

Hitting the bottom hurts. It is a bumpy road filled with strange things.

At this point there are two ways Emma could go.

  1. Keep going down this lonely path,
  2. Or turn and walk away.

Walking away is not easy,

It is sometimes just easier to stay where you are than try and regain the life you had.

That is why it doesn’t happen often to people that break easily or have sharp edges or have to be carefully kept.

You must be strong and be willing to open up and reach out for help.

By The Time You Are Real

As the story of the Velveteen Rabbit goes…

 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.

Emma was a shadow of her old self. Looking ahead she had a long road back but…. she did it.

She was loved and supported and not discarded.

The person she had become was still Emma. A bright and shining star just a little tarnished.

Those that loved her understood that and never gave up.

What was most important, she loved herself enough to change.

Emma found her way back, even better… because she became Real.

Having lived the life she so despised, she became Real.

Having felt the discrimination, she became Real.

Having experienced the disease of addiction, she became Real.

Becoming Real gave her the passion to help others in need.

Others that had lost their way.

Looking into the mirror now she understands what it means to be Real.

The Velveteen Rabbit shows us how important it is to remember our past and where we come from—the people who helped us to get to where we are.

Is Life Better When You Are Real?

You can see it in Emma’s eyes, a soul shining through that is beautiful in every way.

It is better.

In the end….

The fairy tale tells the rabbit that because he had become real to the Boy who loved him so dearly, she would make him real to all the world. In the forest, in view of the other rabbits, the fairy kisses the velveteen rabbit, who becomes a real rabbit — a handsome one, at that — and joins the others.


“…once you are Real you cannot become unreal again.  It lasts for always.”

– Margery Williams
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