I recently went on a cinematic adventure into the world of Disney’s “Christopher Robin,” which I highly recommend to children of all ages, from 1-101. Filled with innocence, humor and wisdom, the movie left me contemplating life, time and relationships in a fresh way.
It also reminded me of one of my favorite children’s books, “The Velveteen Rabbit” by Margery Williams. First published in 1922, “The Velveteen Rabbit” is a British tale of a stuffed rabbit and its nursery toymates, the oldest and wisest of which is the Skin Horse, who captivates the others with his stories of becoming “real.”
In the book, when the Rabbit asks the Skin Horse what it means to be real, he explains:
“‘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.’”
When the Rabbit asks the Skin Horse if he is real, he smiles and explains:
“‘The Boy’s Uncle made me Real,’ he said. ‘That was a great many years ago; but once you are Real you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always.’”
This rule also applies in “Christopher Robin.” The film’s characters, in all their “stuffed with fluff” glory, are just as real the day they are reunited with the adult Christopher Robin as they were the day he, as a young boy, left for boarding school.
Memorable quotes overflow from the movie like honey pouring from an overturned jar. Most of them are spoken by Winnie the Pooh, whose simple, childlike life philosophy is just what the “lost” Christopher Robin needs.
“Doing nothing,” Pooh says in one of many such moments, “often leads to the very best kind of something.”
Most of us can relate.
For me, ever since I learned to read, “doing nothing,” has often meant immersing myself in a good book. I grew up with The Boxcar Children, Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, Mandie and many other literary friends.
And it feels as though I have a second home in C.S. Lewis’ world of Narnia. I love them all but my favorite of the chronicles is “The Horse and His Boy.”
Nowadays I enjoy an occasional piece of historical fiction, but I’m also drawn to nonfiction, especially in the inspirational genre.
My favorite nonfiction author is Donald Miller. I’ve read his “Blue Like Jazz” at least three times, and it was my favorite until I read his “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years,” which quickly took first place.
Two others on my favorite author list are Bob Goff and Francis Chan. I’ve read Goff’s “Love Does” twice (incidentally, the forward is written by Miller), and Chan’s “Crazy Love” is on my “to re-read” list.
Another of my favorites is “The Reason” by Lacy (Mosley) Sturm, former lead singer of the band Flyleaf. My autographed copy, which I breezed through in just a couple sittings, is a prized possession.
Currently sitting on my nightstand is “Anxious for Nothing” by Max Lucado, which I’m slowly studying with a couple of good friends, Nicole Fenton and Natalie Morgenroth.
I’d run out of newsprint if I tried to list all my favorite books, and I’d run out again if I attempted to name all those on my “to read” pile. But I’d love to hear from readers about your favorites. If you’d like to share, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today is National Read a Book Day, which gave me the initial idea for this column. But maybe it should be called National Do Nothing Day instead.
After all, it’s likely to lead to “the very best kind of something.”