Thursday, August 15, 2013

Breaking of the Fellowship

I'm not sure if it is my favorite part of all three Lord of the Rings books, but I have always been deeply moved by the breaking of the fellowship. Frodo realizes that the rest of the party just isn't safe where he is going and so he takes a silent departure from them to face the perils of Mordor alone - until a loyal Samwise catches him at it. Aragorn, understanding Frodo's noble motives, lets him go so he in turn can pursue two Hobbits and face the combined armies of Sauron.

I'm sitting in LAX's international terminal waiting for my flights to Heathrow, Abuja, and Yola. Joy is watching the Hobbits in SFO waiting for a flight to Utah. Now, Nigeria is no Mordor and Utah Mormons no Dead Men of Dunharrow. Still this third instalment of our adventure in Nigeria feels like at the best of times like an epic quest. Today was one of the hard parts.

Princess couldn't really comprehend that Daddy was leaving for four months. She would sometimes tell me that she wanted to go to Nigeria too, to be with Daddy. She has also said she wants to go to school so she can be with Superstar. Neither is possible, sadly, but she has some notion that Daddy will be talking to her on the computer from now on.

I had several tender moments with Superstar during the last few days. Even very short conversations were precious. I sang to him about being apart but still watching over him, and he lovingly interrupted to notice how much like our life the song was. He doesn't really understand why they aren't going with me or why I have to go back, but he knows I love him and am proud of him.

Grandma watched the kids for an hour before our flights so Joy and I could sneak off to walk and talk. How I will face the very long nights - especially how I could possibly train myself to get to bed at a reasonable hour - without her I do not know. I find myself contemplating how every step at LAX would be different if my companion were only near.

I've almost been counting down the days with tears. Last Saturday was the first day in weeks I didn't cry at some little thing, thinking of how dearly I would miss them all. By some good fortune my flights were delayed so that we left from Goleta at the same time. The cost was that I won't have such a long layover in London and won't be able to go exploring. The tender time together before my flight boarded was payment enough.

We prayed together. We sang. We hugged and hugged and hugged once more. Superstar tried to board with me until his mother pulled him back. When I turned around just before disappearing from their view to give a last "Harrah for Israel" salute, Princess took off after me in sudden realization that it was real. "Daddy!" Joy grabbed her before she got too far and I retreated into the plane, a few more tears dropping.

But four months isn't all that long, really - less than a blink in eternity. There is Skype. And email. And this blog.

You should be landing fairly soon in Utah and I should be boarding fairly soon. Take care, my dearest friend. I'll meet you soon in the usual place.