This I Believe

Lisa - Camillus, New York
Entered on September 11, 2007

I’ll Meet You ‘Round the Bend, My Friend

I was worried when she didn’t update her blog for over four months. It’s common for her to have breaks of weeks, even months, from updating her blog. After all, Riverbend, as she is simply known, has other things to do than write. And when you only have a few hours of electricity a day, using your computer is not a high priority.

I am a female college student from New York. Riverbend is a 28 year old woman from Baghdad. We’ve never met, but I read her writings with a religious fervor. Our connection has taught me to believe that connections don’t have to be physical, only emotional, and that national and cultural boundaries can be broken by strong connections.

I am connected to Riverbend; I felt that connection when I anxiously checked her blog every day this summer to see if she had written in it. I was anxious because she lived in Baghdad, which meant that there were a whole host of dangers that she had to face everyday: abductions, kidnappings, house raids, murders, rapes, car bombings.

I was especially anxious because she had wrote in her last post that she and her family were going to attempt to leave Iraq, to escape the dangers that I just listed. With that decision came another round of dangers and questions: Did they pass through checkpoints safely? Did they make it to the border? Were they turned back? Or did they make it across the border, to Jordan or Syria?

Riverbend updated her blog in early September. Her and her family had indeed made it across the border safely. They were in Syria, having given up their home and most of their possessions. In fact, they had given up more than just the majority of their material possessions; they had given up their friends and relatives, their neighbors and neighborhood, their culture and country. I was both relieved and saddened: relieved to know that my friend and her family are safe, and saddened to know that they had to give up so much in order to be safe.

I believe that we are all connected in some way, however small that way might be. To some people, connections formed over the internet are artificial, but my connection with Riverbend is anything but artificial. And though I’ve only known her through her words, we are not strangers. The top of Riverbend’s blog says, “I’ll meet you ’round the bend my friend, where hearts can heal and souls can mend…” I believe connections are created every day; connections allow friends to meet, hearts to heal, and souls to mend.