RWM: The Velveteen Rabbit
Some children’s books really help you feel the Spirit as you read them because they discuss a true principle and our hearts resonate with it. When I read this book to Anna recently, she cried. I know how she feels, because as a child, I did the same thing when I read this story. Surely that is one of the reasons this story has been a multi-generational favorite. We are so happy to know that a rabbit that was so well-loved gets to live forever!
Reading it today made me think of my step-dad, Doug. He was in a wheelchair for around 20 years. Earlier in his life, he had been healthy and strong, athletic, a top gun-type pilot in the Canadian Air Force. Then he had worked hard running construction companies. He was a tough guy who softened significantly over the years and with the experiences life brought him. He had a very tender heart that you loved when you knew him well.
He learned a lot from being in a wheelchair. One of the challenges, my mom told me once, was that people don’t look you in the eye, or they don’t talk to you, as if you weren’t even there! Can you imagine? As if the sitting in a chair instead of standing had bearing on your character or reality!
The Velveteen Rabbit tells the story of a toy rabbit who became real because he was so loved by a little boy. (Click on that link, and you can read the story and see illustrations.) Eventually he is turned into a real rabbit by a fairy, so he can live forever. Reading the story again today to Anna reminded me of my step-dad and how he will be resurrected and be whole again. For now, his spirit is free from the bondage of a body that wouldn’t do all he wanted, but someday, when he is resurrected, his body and spirit will be reunited, and he will be able to walk, run, and even dance with my mom again.
I couldn’t help but think of a beautiful song that I first heard sung by my daughter’s choir. I saw her and I saw a beautiful, frail young woman with very short (near shaven) hair and what appeared to be an IV tube extending from a bright orange, fashionable purse at her feet up to her arm. She and the rest of the choir sang the song “Pilgrim’s Song” by Ryan Murphy.
As they sang the words, “I’m going to live forever,” I had one of the most moving experiences I’ve ever had listening to live music. My whole soul was riveted to those words.
This young woman, already a friend of my daughter’s, became of friend of mine, too. She passed away from years of battling leukemia just a few short months after that performance. A family in our community is donating a harp to the hospital that, when played, will celebrate the life of Emily Austin.
I remember Emily whenever I hear this song that was song by her high school choir at her funeral. And I think of Doug and Emily and how happy they are that they can live forever.
Happy Remembering the Resurrection,