"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"
"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's 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." --The Velveteen Rabbit
"To love another person is to see the face of God." --Les Miserables
His compassion, they say, fails not. He's sees us, knows us. I am the one who has trouble seeing and knowing people in love. If, if we really knew. Behind that neighbor's face is a person, someone who can know and be known. When we are so busy that we cannot stop to hear another person's pain, listen to another person's story, then life ceases to be what He really meant it to be. How can we love our neighbors as ourselves when we don't even know them? It is easier to love myself. I justify it by saying that I need my down time, my alone time, my clean the house time, my quiet time, my personal time. Because honestly, it does take some amount of sacrifice to see, know another person.
I want to be real. I want to know and be known. I want to be really loved for who I am, and not what society thinks I should be. I want to be loved in spite of my mistakes, and I want the good of what I am to be acknowledged. Yet, it is easier to hedge up my life in fear that if someone really knew me, well, they wouldn't love me. So I get caught in my down time, my alone time, my clean the house time, my quiet time, my personal time.
Maybe it's better that I learn from the Velveteen Rabbit. Real is when you really, really love someone.
This spring our neighbors lost their house in a tornado. It is impossible to list how this has affected/effected them, and perhaps it is best said that when we are loving others as we ought, our compassion moves us to action. We've been active in trying to encourage them. This summer we got word a friend has stage 3 lung cancer. He's setting his life in order and getting ready to finish this life. We watch as the sun goes down, and comes up each day. We're thankful for times like these when we can be real with other people. Even if life doesn't quite turn out like we expect it to, and even in the disappointments. If we were to sugar coat and white wash what we've been through, that wouldn't be real. Real, sometimes, makes you feel old and worn out....but incredibly, crazy loved.
Are you real with people? Do you let them know the real you? How can you actively be real with people you meet? What keeps you from being real?