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Get real

Get real
Get real
Dr. Wayne Willis

Have you ever known a child who had a blanket or stuffed animal or toy or doll that got more precious and more scuffed with each passing year until you wondered if, one day, it would accompany that child to college?

Margery Williams’ classic, “The Velveteen Rabbit,” almost 100 years old, is about a toy rabbit stuffed with sawdust that eagerly awaits a day when his master chooses him, over all other toys, as a playmate.

One night, the Velveteen Rabbit asked the Skin Horse, the oldest, wisest and most scuffed-up nursery resident, “What is real? 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 happen all at once, like being wound up,” asked the Rabbit, “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 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.”

Have you stepped back lately and asked yourself, “Am I still a work in progress? Am I becoming more authentic and real with the years, less phony and pretentious and superficial, or have I gone to seed?”

Real, like love, is forever.