On Being Real

If I could have a super power, it would be to live without sleep.

I’m without sleep anyway but it’s the living part I’m unsure of.  I’ve come here to write and have started several posts, only to shelve them all.  A voice in my head keeps saying,”What’s the blog about anyway?” and I’ve lost the strength to say that it is about anything and nothing and so much more all at once.

I was awoken the other night by a howling, hissing, growling cat who clearly wanted to kill the other cats in the house.  We spent a long night of this and I whisked her off to the vet in the morning. She ended up with an overnight stay so they could figure out what her deal was but nothing could be found.  She returned home and peace was restored to the land…until this evening, when it began again.  Only this time, all I could think was, “I feel ya, sister.”  Because I want to howl and hiss and growl at the world.  And sometimes that’s just the way it is.

When I first started working in youth ministry, I wanted to show the kids that you could juggle work and life and all the in-between stuff.  But as we went along, I realized it was more important to show them I was real. That sometimes I got tired or depressed or just plain discouraged.  Sometimes I said things I shouldn’t of and sometimes I made decisions that were straight up bad.  Because, seriously, who doesn’t?  I am by no means perfect…and I’ll prove that to you again and again and again.  And there is purpose in that, by design.  It’s interesting how this word I have chosen for this year keeps coming to mind and showing up when I least expect it.  But truly, what is the purpose in pretending?  There is more to being real.

“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit on day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender before Nana came in to tidy the room.  “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you an 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.”

“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,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse.  “You become.  It takes a long time.  That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept.  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.”

-From The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

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