Nixon will approve Operation Breakfast, the carpet bombing over Cambodia, then instigates the Watergate break-in and finally faces impeachment, Vietnamese ‘boat people” will wash ashore on coasts throughout Southeast Asia – Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Singapore, even across the South China Sea in the Philippines; the Khmer Rouge will walk victoriously into Phnom Penh and empty the city, to be expulsed four years later by Vietnamese troops. President Pak Chung Hee, who has just declared Martial Law in Korea, will be deposed.
I don’t know any of that or when I will return.
Goodbyes are necessary.
They serve as a ritual act to establish what Sanchez Ferlosio calls "protective borders" between those left behind and those who leave. When misfortune strikes and one must flee, the memory of those goodbyes salve the ache of separation. Saying goodbye hides the fear of no return, that once gone we will wander the skies wearily in search of a resting place.
But we are always leaving and arriving. And so it is with this story, a difficult intuitive journey that ends only as I am really prepared to go. Theology, I have learned, reveals itself on the road. "The clue of the beginning," offers Nelle Morton, a feminist theologian, "is more often than not discovered until near the end - entirely too late to back up and start over again."
We are always leaving always coming home.