Worn Spots

One of our daily walks includes the Baybrook Court Bridge that gets us from the north side of the Boise River to the south side, with ease. We never fail to stop, rest our foot on the railing, and take several minutes to appreciate the river as it meanders along, often carrying ducks and geese, and in the summer, rafts of people enjoying themselves.

You can tell from the worn spots in the paint that the bridge is well-loved. I hope that by the time I reach my expiration date I have lots of “worn spots” too. To me, it seems like a grand way of measuring one’s “loved-ness.”

“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 your joints and are 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 Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams

How do you measure love?

© lauriebuchanan.com

54 thoughts on “Worn Spots

      • I am new to this. After we met at the institute, I wanted to try this. If I recall it is, “never having to say I am sorry.” from “Love Story,” the movie. That is not exactly how I would put it, but it always sounded nice. Love is not something I would measure, I want to appreciate all levels of feelings. Thank you for giving me the chance to think about,”love”

  1. I wish I could see the view from that bridge while I rest my foot on the railing and leave my ‘lovebite’ there. That is a big question: “How do you measure love?” By everyday kind actions and words, by being there when it matters, by giving and taking in equal measure and by not forgetting any of the above.

  2. I love the quote from the Velveteen Rabbit. I measure love by thoughtful actions, kind words and looks. I am lucky to be surrounded by love and to have a sweet dog that really makes me feel loved.

  3. That is a helpful quote as I reach the point in life when I have to learn to love the deep wrinkles, and when I am feeling more Real than ever.
    I’ve never thought about measuring love. An impossible task?

  4. When making art, I keep in mind that when the piece is finished, I’d like for the viewer to be able to see how it got to that point. So, brush strokes are encouraged, mistakes are not erased away and signs of life and wear are okay. I like to look at people that way, too. Whatever outside forces got us to this point, show up, still. The signs of wear are reflections of life, and what makes each of us unique. Love made visible.

  5. Measuring love, seems hard to explain or define at first and then the words connection and kindness float forward.
    I have connected to my body deeply right now. In healing mode. I have 45 adrenaline releases per hour as part of my past – i am working to find more “control” and get this hair trigger problem more reasonable. Empathy makes me a grand counselor but disabled my boundaries and I often carry around other’s pain. Being home and not working , walking helps a great deal. I work at connecting through email and social media rather than in person these days. I think I am trying to measure loving by losing weight and not eating sugar. Finding calm Fabulous question and idea sharing thank you

  6. The “Velveteen Rabbit” is one of my favorite books. I always read it to my 3rd grade students and then to my children and grandchildren. Yesterday, Jordan and I celebrated our 51st Wedding Anniversary. We measure our love, over our lifetime together, by remembering the joys and sorrows we have shared and encouraged each other through, with respect, affection, understanding, compassion, kindness, and humor.

  7. I am not sure I have ever thought about measuring love Laurie. I can tell you about a long visit I had with my 88 year old aunt this week that was filled with mutual warmth, respect and love. I had lived with her while I was pregnant with my son and about to become a single parent at all of 19 years old. While we were visiting this time, the years just slipped away and we were deeply rooted in this place of familiar and most delightful companionship that has stood the test of time without much encouragement. We talked about all the things that are important to both of us and yet there was no need to talk at all. We would have been just as happy if nothing had been said really. Conversation was a value-added, a bonus. This is a great measure of love for me and I could tell by the expression on my aunt’s face that this was equally true for her. It was a good day – for both of us!

  8. This was a very special “read” today, Laurie. I have loved that quote for such a long time, and the way you’ve tied it in really speaks to me. I actually need to think about my response for awhile, however. I think I’m loved by the way I feel with family and friends who express care and appreciation and show they value me by their words and intentions, but in the nuances, I wonder how I DO measure love. Maybe I’m not nearly as sensitive to the gift of love and if not, perhaps not as giving myself. This is worth a little added contemplation!

  9. I love the well used resting spot . ..you can’t beat a place to ponder . Have you heard of ‘Poo Sticks’ first mentioned in Winnie the poo of course …looks a great bridge for that .
    I adore that quote from the velveteen rabbit …one for my book list .
    I measure love in bags of sugar . As a young couple my husband and I always did this .
    Silly but sweet 🤭

  10. Today’s inspiration in today’s soulful query comes from Elizabeth Barrett Browning:

    How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
    I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
    My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
    For the ends of being and ideal grace.
    I love thee to the level of every day’s
    Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
    I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
    I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
    I love thee with the passion put to use
    In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
    I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
    With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
    Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
    I shall but love thee better after death.

  11. Laurie,
    I love that book. I read it to my students every year. I don’t think there is any other exemplification that explains the process better than the words of the Skin Horse:

    “What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, …
    “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. “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. … but once you are Real you can’t become unreal again. IT LASTS FOR ALWAYS.”

    • Sylvia — It’s so good to see you here! I’m so sorry for the delayed response. I just returned late last night from teaching at the Writers’ Institute at UW-Madison.

      I, too, am well worn and I wouldn’t have it any other way 🙂

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