Becoming Real: 40 Days with the Velveteen Rabbit
Day 37 – Wednesday in Holy Week – 31st March2010
And she held the little Rabbit close in her arms and flew with him into the wood.
It was light now, for the moon had risen. All the forest was beautiful, and the fronds of the bracken shone like frosted silver. In the open glade between the tree-trunks the wild rabbits danced with their shadows on the velvet grass, but when they saw the Fairy they all stopped dancing and stood round in a ring to stare at her.
“I’ve brought you a new playfellow,” the Fairy said. “You must be very kind to him and teach him all he needs to know in Rabbit-land, for he is going to live with you forever and ever!”
from The Velveteen Rabbit
by Margery Williams
I’ve brought you a new playfellow. What sweet words these must have been to our rabbit? To find that, when all he was expecting was the bonfire, he was surrounded by a new group of friends. The wild rabbits who had challenged him to leap and run and dance were now to be his family. Those same ones who had sniffed at him and proclaimed him to ‘not be a rabbit at all’ were going to live with him forever and ever.
In our Christian journey, I’ve noticed most often when we are at the end of our resources, God brings into our lives new friends; people who see the ‘real’ us and welcome us into their dance of joy. In my life for many years the Franciscan community has been this place of welcome. When I am amongst them I am simply ‘Andrew’. I am valuable to the community not because I am a priest, not because I can serve the Order in one way or another, but because I am simply Andrew, a friend and brother. There are other places of welcome as well. Cursillo, Happening, L’Arche, are all communities of unquestioning welcome.
All we need to help us realise that we are ‘really real’ is places and people who offer unquestioning welcome. Some friends, perhaps scarred from being too close to the bonfire, do not find it easy to seek out these new homes. Too many Christians find themselves on the rubbish heap of life instead of the fairy dance of the wild rabbits. This makes it all the more important that each of us becomes a place of welcome for those worn out from being loved to pieces by lonely boys in the nursery.
That is one of the reasons why the writer of the Letter to the Hebrews says:
And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and even more as you see the Day approaching
The gift of community, the ability to dance with the wild rabbits, begins with us. If you are in the fortunate position of already being in a place of unquestioning welcome make it your aim to extend this welcome to as many people as possible.
If you find yourself still on the outside of the dance of the wild rabbits ask God to give you patience and be willing to be led to people who will help you to see that, because of God’s great love, you are ‘really real’.
do you invite me to sharein the glory of the resurrection?
Please stay with meas I struggle to see
how accepting the crosses of my life
will free me from the power
of the one who wants onlyto destroy my love and trust in you.
Help me to be humble and acceptinglike your son, Jesus.
I want to turn to youwith the same trust he had in your love.
Save me, Lord. Only you can save me.
© Andrew Dotchin – 2018