“What is real?” asks The Velveteen Rabbit in the wonderful story by Margery Williams.

And the Skin Horse answers, “When a child loves you for a long, long time … really loves you, then you become Real.”

So I must be real now, because two children have really loved me all their lives.

As the rabbit discovered, being real is a two sided thing. There is the deep happiness of knowing yourself loved and needed by a child. But children grow up. And then there is the sudden shock of not being needed: of being left.

When I walked back into the house after dropping off my youngest daughter at college, the emptiness rushed at me, into me, and howled there.

Among other things, I was afraid that I would go back to not being Real.

I was only Real to them.

In the story it is also true. The rabbit is only real to the boy – until the fairy changes him. Ultimately he becomes truly Real.

I believe God will change me too, in one great act; but I think He also means for me to be changing all along.

Even here, on this side of Heaven, I am not yet as Real as He means me to be.



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