Archive for August, 2008
Children’s stories and stuffed animals seem to have a lot to say to grown ups about what it means to love and be loved. Take the Velveteen Rabbit for instance. In what seems to be a tale about a worn out toy, we are aptly taught that beauty is found only on the inside and can be unlocked only by the love of others. In fact, beauty becomes visible in the places we perhaps seem to be the most ugly, worn out or useless.
A deeper reflection on love can also be found buried in the pages of one of my favorite children’s books, Corduroy. At first read, the book is simply about a teddy bear eagerly hoping for a home and a little girl eagerly hoping for a new teddy bear. They are eventually united at the end of the book, but before that happens the little bear goes on a journey throughout the department store in which he lives, searching for a lost button.
As Corduroy searches for the lost button, he encounters many new things such as an escalator, a mattress showroom and a bed. Trying to make sense of such strange things, he ponders briefly and uses his experience and common sense to try to name each thing as well as help himself accept those things as good.
For instance, after accidentally boarding the escalator, Corduroy says, “This must be a mountain. I think I’ve always wanted to climb a mountain.” He comes to similar conclusions regarding everything else in the store. He doesn’t know anything for sure, yet he still convinces himself that each thing is safe and desirable. The showroom is a palace and while he is able to call a bed a bed, he still only thinks he’d like to sleep in one.
But then the next day the little girl comes to buy Corduroy and take him home. Once home, she takes Corduroy up to her room. Her room is just as foreign to Corduroy as the big department store, but for some reason he no longer needs to ponder, assume, think or convince himself.
This is home. And he knows he’s always wanted a home.
As adults, how often do we go about our lives, looking at our relationships, our jobs and everything else and simply say, “Hmm. I guess this is it. It must be right. I think this is what I’ve always wanted. Well, it’s got to be close anyway.”
It’s okay for us to say that because like Corduroy, we too are working primarily off of experience and common sense to make sense of the world around us. The problem lies in settling and never opening the door to experience knowing.
I’ve seen lots of different families build their lives together. I’ve also been in relationships of various lengths with various kinds of guys. Upon encountering each family, each guy, I find myself saying, “Hmm. This must be the way it’s supposed to be. I guess this is what I want.”
I’ve guessed, assumed and settled.
I went around calling the escalator a mountain and convinced myself to like it.
But then I met Dan. He was more unfamiliar than anyone I’ve ever met. My experience and common sense weren’t really even enough to understand him. In fact, when I tried to define Dan based on my experience and common sense, it scared me. I knew the definition wasn’t quite right and I couldn’t convince myself to like it.
Then one day, I just knew. I knew who he was and I knew he was the man I’ve always wanted. Unfamiliar or not, I just knew. He is home. And I know I’ve always wanted a home.
10. Creamy Jiff
9. Bruce Springsteen
7. My IPod
6. The beach
2. Cheese & Wine
1. This guy…
I am going to come clean. I am a closet Paris Hilton fan. I had a few very free months after moving back to the States a couple of years ago and I sat around watching lots of American cable television. I fell in love with The Surreal Life and while I think Paris is too snooty for us to ever be friends, I do think she is a riot. I am especially in love with her jab back at McCain for his use of her image in a recent ad. I am not technologically advanced enough to know how to embed video into my blog and I am way to lazy to read the FAQ’s to find out. But here’s the link. It’s a must see.
The McCain ad for comparison.