"For Real" Friends

Someone recently told me that she didn't have time to blog or message board because she was too busy with her "In Real Life" friends.  She went on to say, somewhat disparagingly, that internet friendships were shallow and somehow false.

I disagree.  We got internet access almost ten years ago.  Since then, I've made friends who are truly precious.  They have seen me through some very trying times.  They've rejoiced with me in some very good times.  And, on rare occasions, they have hurt me like only someone real can hurt.

There are people out there in cyberland who know me very well--we've been writing back and forth for years and we've met in person and we talk on the phone.  And there are some people out there who know me better than I recognize. 

A couple of weeks ago, an internet friend asked if we'd chosen a baby name.  Then, she wrote back and told me she'd remembered it was a secret.  But she guessed anyway.  And since her guess was eerily accurate, I let her in on the secret.

A few days later, after a rousing diaper discussion on the 4Real boards, I had a diaper order ready to go.  And then my mom offered to buy the replacement liner and extensions I need for the co-sleeper. I found both sites, filled both carts and just couldn't press "buy." 

I'm readying the house, but I can't seem to bring myself to ready the baby things. I told my husband about it the other night, but he was the only person on the planet who knew that I can't bring myself to buy anything because I'm scared.  After a heartbreaking miscarriage and two years of infertility, I'm scared to believe this is really true--we're really going to bring home a baby.

At least I thought he was the only one who knew.  Silly me, in this world of connected Catholic moms, I should have known better.  Today, as I sat at the computer, looking again at the crib order, my son brought me a box.  It was a gift from Donna, who knows more than I can bear to contemplate about loss and hope.  In the box was a beautiful pink quilt, perfect for the bed I really do need to assemble.  And with the quilt was a note, encouraging me to revel in these last few weeks of joyful anticipation. It was the first time I've seen the baby's name in print.  She was one who'd guessed.  These friends--these women scattered across the whole wide world and joined in mission and in prayer--these friends are as real as friends get. Not only that, I really think that they are often instruments of the Holy Spirit, real answers to prayer.