Tuesday, 21 November 2017

What is REALLY important?

Recently I heard the story of ‘The Velveteen Rabbit’ by Margery Williams Bianco for the first time, and it got me thinking about what is REALLY important in life.

Two toys in a nursery are having a conversation. The Skin Horse, who ‘had lived longer in the nursery than any of the others. He was so old that his brown coat was bald in patches and showed the seams underneath.’ And the Velveteen Rabbit, a newcomer to the nursery.

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day... The Skin Horse replies,
"Real ... is 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 hurt?" asked the Rabbit. 

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt." 

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," the Rabbit asked, "or bit by bit?" 

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time .... 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.”

We often fail to notice some of the most important things in life, like the connections and love we have with people, because we spend so much time thinking about stuff like how we look, or what people think of us. This is when it is worth asking “What is REALLY important here?”

I also thought about the fact that this is what this story is saying to me, today, but the last time I heard it I took a slightly different meaning from it. Stories are very powerful, partly because they mean whatever we need them to mean to help us at the time. What you take from this story might be very different from what I take from it, but just right for you.

By the way, the picture is of my niece’s much loved rabbit, which went everywhere with her for many years!

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