When Chad and I got married, the pastor read from the children’s book The Velveteen Rabbit. He read these lines,
“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.”
It may be a children’s book,but these lines are very wise words pointing toward what we really want in life. Maybe one of the gifts of sheltering at home is that we are free to get real.
Early in our sheltering in place, I wrote in my journal, that being married has made me a better person. If you have been married any length of time you know that becoming ‘better’ is a process. Just like the Skin Horse outlined, it is about learning over and over again the basics of loving self and loving the other. There is always a gap in understanding. I can no longer recall why I wrote those words, no doubt I was feeling I failed or that I was misunderstood.
I read a tweet the other day from a husband who said, “I can no longer chew, type or stir anything.”
There is no way to share a home while sheltering in place without getting on each other’s nerves. Perhaps those ‘nerves’ teach us more about loving and being loved by each other? Like the Skin Horse advised our edges are being sanded down for the sake of love.
Find time for your partner this week. Give space for connection. Romance like a fire needs tending. Sense what you mean to each other. And help each other with the power of understanding that you alone have been given the permission to bring to one another.
With you on the journey,