What is REAL? asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle? 

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. You become. 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. 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 Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams).

(I’m sorry, I just couldn’t help it)

Just keep moving towards the things you love, in the tiniest ways you can.

She sent me an email after she read this post.

She was concerned. 

…I’m thinking about your dream… I wonder…if the dream might be a really important sign of things that are happening inside you…

Then my friend did a dream analysis that would make Dr. Freud proud.

You are quite good at this dream analysis thing, I responded. Do you have a couch?

She told me about her couch at the Louvre and sent me a picture.

I laughed out loud.

I’ve never met my friend face-to-face. We’ve gotten to know one another through the HighCallingBlogs community. We’ve spoken on the telephone a few times. Even skyped.

But I’ve never had breakfast, held her hand, or even gone canoeing with her.

Does that make our friendship not real?

She ended the above-mentioned note with this:

Hey, let me know what I can do to support you as you move through some of these growth and changes things. I’m happy to send you a smile and a hug whenever you need. 🙂

That’s real enough for me.

What do you think? Over at HighCallingBlogs we’re talking about the Real-ness of online friendships. Tell us what you think. Better yet, join in the story-swapping. Read more over here.


  1. says

    LL does it well, this online thing, and friendship. I am learning so much from her.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on how our network can become a community, and how a community can birth and nurture a friendship (or two or three).

    I look forward to the fall, when we run barefoot through the wildflowers toward each other in slow-motion 😉 …but I also appreciate all that you bring to our work and lives right here and now, Laura.

  2. says

    It happens bit by bit…

    You, Laura, were the actual entryway for me into the HCB community. I had blurked a bit from a link over at Ann Voskamps, but you had this poetry book contest about one year ago. Basically I thought, “I don’t know this lady and what are the chances I will ever be back here on her blog. What the hay, I will just leave a rhyming jumble of words for her contest.”


    Then some HCB folks stopped by, first L.L., then others…

    It’s been a community where I have unveiled my goofy & silly & serious & compassionate sides. And you all just keep opening the door whenever I knock. Amazing.

    Only God could foresee how this blanket could keep stretching big enough to cover us all!


  3. says

    this is so real… and so poignant. i love the velveteen rabbit. laura, i love your posts. i hope you might link up with my imperfect community tomorrow, if you have time. if not, no worries. love to you, e.

  4. says


    Now you’ve got me all choked up.

    I love our chats. In the myriad ways they happen. I love being in the world with you, even though we are together miles away.

  5. says

    Well, you’re my online friend! You’re real, aren’t you? At least as real as I am.

    Of course, like in the “Velveteen Rabbit,” there is another layer of real that happens later. I hope that will be this fall. I’m sending in my registration today.

  6. says

    It is hard to be real.
    It is important to be vulnerable and honest within a framework of caution.
    Real is where we all want to be…as long we have safety too.

    thank you for the wonderful reminder.

  7. says

    Love it, Laura. And your opening…I knew it was the Velveteen Rabbit from the first word. I gave that book to my then-boyfriend (now husband!) early in our relationship, because it was real.

    Love you!

  8. says

    My heart wells with love for you, and with gratitude for the very real friendships I’ve found through High Calling Blogs.

    This I have found to be true in this online community: “by this all men will know you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

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