We postscript it. We call it out as our kids hurriedly grab their lunches and run out the door. We are sure to say it to our grandma after a sweet visit and a hug. We also say it when we don’t know what else to say…
It can be the veil that shrouds the true meaning of the heart.
When does it become REAL? Organic and raw. Uttered from the deepest, most guarded vault of the heart and whispered with sacred awe.
Well, the wise old shabby Skin Horse knew the answer. We would do well to listen in on this conversation…the secret of loving held the answer to real…as the very loved and worn horse knew.
“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.” (Williams, Margery, The Velveteen Rabbit).
Ah! Loving becomes a doing which must require time, patience, and well, some rough handling. Love involves being carried around absently without proper appreciation or being handled with clumsy hands that do not know how to carefully hold you. Love involves comforting and being squeezed too tightly with wet teardrops smattering your best clothes. Love gets terribly messy engaging in day to day honest life; the dirt of adventure and the hot sweats of fever bring glory and fear, deliver delight and despair, breathe familiarity and heartfelt hand squeezing. But, loving is belonging. Loving is giving. Love takes time. Love gets a little rough, because compassion is a heart moving toward someone…
Loving is meeting a need.