Introduction

I have been writing these memoirs over many years, and the title has changed many times as my understanding of what I have been doing with my life. At one time I was Following My Own Compass. That sounded too defensive. I decided it was better to admit that I had been Led by the Spirit. Too presumptious. Without a Clue was better. What about jumping off into thin air, tidied up as Pushing Off . That stuck for a long time, appealing to the sailor in me. It also had roots in Tennyson's Ulysses, who casts off, aiming "To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths / Of all the western stars, until I die." Too pretentious to claim comparison to my hero. I accepted that I was just a restless soul, Eine Unruhige Seele, as an old friend described me.

Still, I was not satisfied just to be someone who can't sit still and must be always on the move. Writing about the years I spent studying Scripture, climaxing in the semester I spent studying in Israel, followed by a big letdown when I returned to ordinary life, it occurred to me that what I was really after was a grand plan to follow, and that my life has consisted of a series of these grand plans, unfolding in dramatic arcs, with episodes spread over a number of years, reaching a grand climax, then falling off into a denouement, sometimes a disappointment, a reversal (as in the convent). At that point, what I need is another grand plan, another far off horizon. I remembered what I had told Father Tranel back when I was going through so much inner struggle about my life in the convent. "I see nothing on the horizon." That gave me the insight to leave. I need hope--something big on the horizon to look forward to. The Ulysses theme. So The Far Horizon it was, and when I read what Dag Hammerskjold had written "Never look down to test the ground before taking your next step; only he who keeps his eye fixed on the far horizon will find the right road," that sounded like me--never looking where I was stepping, just leaping. The title also held the promise of adventure, and I had always loved adventure stories.