Becoming Real: 40 Days with the Velveteen Rabbit
Day 9 – Friday after First Sunday of Lent – 26th February2010
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.
from The Velveteen Rabbit
by Margery Williams
‘Costing not less than everything’, words from T.S. Eliot’s ‘Little Gidding’* are always the ones which come to my mind when I read this part of the story. I feel for the velveteen rabbit. I too long to be ‘Real’ but am not sure if I can wait that long or am willing to pay the price of transformation
The love of God will change me – a change I desire with my whole heart – but I still hold on to so much of the way I am now. With St Augustine I have so often cried ‘Lord make me chaste, but not yet’.
For God to work the miracle of transformation amongst us we must be willing to move. To meet our heart’s desire we have to realise that we cannot hold on to two worlds at the same time. There is the safe world where we are in control and nothing changes – but life is a pale shadow of what it is meant to be. Or there is the world of becoming ‘Real’ where God will take us who knows where? But wherever God takes us we know we will be secure and loved.
For me, I hope I have come to a place of knowing that I have nothing of my own to hold on to anyway. All that I have ever been, all that I am, and all that I may yet become is the consequence of God’s generosity. I don’t deserve any of the things I hold in my hands but, in his profligacy, God gives them anyway.
For each of us to become Real will cost – but didn’t HE pay the price in the first place?
What are you holding on to which prevents you from becoming ‘Real’? Put it back in to the hands of God who, after all, fashioned all our possessions in the beginning.
You know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves:
Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls,
that we may be defended from all adversities
which may happen to the body,
and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
*from ‘Little Gidding’ by T.S. Eliot
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always—
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.
© Andrew Dotchin – 2018