Becoming Real: 40 Days with the Velveteen Rabbit
Day 24 – Tuesday after Mothering Sunday – 16th March2010
Just then there was a sound of footsteps, and the Boy ran past near them, and with a stamp of feet and a flash of white tails the two strange rabbits disappeared.
“Come back and play with me!” called the little Rabbit. “Oh, do come back! I knowI am Real!”
But there was no answer, only the little ants ran to and fro, and the bracken swayed gently where the two strangers had passed. The Velveteen Rabbit was all alone.
“Oh, dear!” he thought. “Why did they run away like that? Why couldn’t they stop and talk to me?”
from The Velveteen Rabbit
by Margery Williams
Isn’t it odd how we long for the company of those who dismiss us? Even though the wild rabbits had decided that our velveteen friend was not ‘real’ he still wanted their company and conversation. It is an odd truth of life that rather than be left alone we would spend our time in the company of those who despise us.
Looking back on my life I realise that the times I have really got things wrong have been the times I have met with loneliness. This has not been a question of being ‘alone’, I am quite comfortable with my own company, but instead times when I have felt excluded from the fellowship of others. On those occasions I have done some of the things I regret most, and all for the dubious privilege of ‘belonging’. And in my case belonging to groups who make me to be less than I am! Less ‘real’.
Being ‘real’ is hard work. Not everyone realises that you are on a different journey. It is all too easy to give up on the journey and end the ache of loneliness. When we do that we end up following a false road – after all it is someone else’s road not ours. A book I have never read is by a monk of New Clairvaux and entitled simply ‘Don’t You Belong to Me?’ It is a book about the elements of the Spiritual Life and I am sure the advice it contains is good. It is, however, the title which calls me through the lonely times when I am tempted to go chasing the ‘Wild Rabbits’ of my life.
Next time the journey is challenging and you are tempted to follow ‘wild ways’ listen for the voice of the One who loves you best whispering, ‘Don’t You Belong to Me?’
Merciful Father – Loving Mother,
I know that the tiny sacrifices I make this Lent
can never serve as a real penance in my life.
But help me to make my whole lifeone of following your Son.
I am filled with your love.
Let your love shine out from within me
and guide my life in this sacred journey
toward the Easter joy you offer me.
© Andrew Dotchin – 2018