"We make still by the law in which we're made." --JRR Tolkien

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Velveteen Rabbit: All Saints Day or, "Does it hurt to become Real?"

I had to bring this lovely book

back to the library some weeks ago. But, for the Eve of All Saints Day, I wanted to share one more passage which for me is a poignant picture of our relationship to sainthood:

"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 often happen 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" . . .

The Rabbit sighed. He thought it would be a long time before this magic called Real happened to him. He longed to become Real, to know what it felt like; and yet the idea of growing shabby and loosing his eyes and whiskers was rather sad. he wished that he could become it without these uncomfortable things happening to him.


I love this passage because I have the same reaction as the Rabbit! I don't want to have to give anything up or become ugly for the sake of Realness! And yet, on some level, I also know that our reaction means that we are still in the category of "those who don't understand".

For, wouldn't "Realness", when it comes to man, be "Sanctification"? To be a Real man is to be free of all that comes from our fallen nature. Wouldn't a Real man be able to happily give up all those meaningless externals to be truly alive through the power of the love of God?

It seems almost as though the more we strive toward sainthood, the more we understand what we are striving toward. But that means that we have to start without quite understanding what it is we are gaining when we give up our vanities! I so often find myself in the same position as the Rabbit. I long for sainthood, but really does it have to be so uncomfortable? Do I really have to give up my fine fur and my eyes and everything I take pride in in order to become a saint?

Of course I do.

Or, at least be willing to.

Becoming Real is a process of allowing yourself to be loved and changed. And who better to let change us than God?

And so from Saints
Agatha (Francisco de Zurbaran, 1630-33 Oil on canvas)
Fidelis of Sigmaringen
Peter of Verona, and
Erasmus (Dieric the Elder Bouts, c.1458, Oil on wood)

I ask your prayers that we be as brave as you at facing the pain of becoming Real.

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Little Preview

A little something I have been working on for a while and am bringing to a finish!

More to follow . . .

Sunday, October 17, 2010

What Have I Been Doing?

Yesterday was our school's fall Festival. It was a blast! There were games, delicious foods, a silent auction, and a few vendors. One vendor was the school's Handwork Group, a dedicated and talented group of parents who spend hours and hours sewing tiny felt and wool toys to sell as a fundraiser. A couple of weeks ago the head of the group flattered me into making a few things to donate to their sales table. In past years I have had a table of my own, but this year I had more on my plate this summer than I had anticipated, and I was also drafted by the Early Childhood department to help put on the puppet show at the festival. Therefore, I didn't do much sewing this summer, which was really ok with me.

The head of the Handwork Group was very persuasive, and she gave me all the materials I would need, so I ended up having quite a few things to give her. I also cleared out a couple of projects of my own that had been lingering around and gave them away to the Handwork Group. Here are the things I made (with a little bit of the process along the way: I just love the Dr. Seuss-y shapes of some of these items!):

Here are all the styles of houses I have made over the last couple of years:

I had a few extra heads lying around : ) as well as some plant dyed silk handkerchiefs, so these two beauties were born. (At first I thought they would be marionette puppets, but their felt bodies were too stiff for simple strings to move. I think they turned out well anyway.):

Another unfinished project was these pouches. I had intended to make them for a previous fall festival and never finished. I always liked them though, and am glad I finished them for this year.

I have a colleague who always says "the more you have to do, the more gets done". Gladly, this forced productivity helped to jump start other projects that have been languishing. I will have to share those in the coming weeks!