I’m a book-laden student with bag thrown thoughtlessly across my back, pausing breathlessly in a hallway that you would imagine in an American high-school flick. Late-afternoon sunshine pours through the double-glazed doors, spilling across the grey cement in front of me like creamed honey on a kitchen countertop.

Summer, I breathe in the word nice and slow.

Summer, I say to my soul again.

And it’s like honey-sun is answering back, I’m here, Kayla, I’m here now.

It’s here.

On New Zealand’s sunny Thursday morning I found myself around a garden centre cafe table with close friends I’ve made over the past two years. We are all training to be primary/elementary teachers, we are all two-thirds into this journey called BTI, and we are all trying to wrap our heads (and hearts) around the fact that “done” is such a simple word yet carries so much weight.

“Done” with Year 2 of uni– translated into American college terms, it’s been my sophomore and junior year rolled into one. And wow, has it felt like that. You’re no longer the new kid in the first semester, and then when second semester comes around you come to grips that next year you will be “the big kids on campus”. Then? You will have a class of children?! Because, oh yeah, all of us are training for a profession not a degree, and then beyond that, a calling not a profession.

Those were some of the speech bubbles that bounced around our table, in between sips of chocolate chai lattes and flat whites with Jaffas on teaspoons. And the great weight of silence when all you hear is Norah Jones in the background, the quiet chatter of other cafe guests, and the scratching of pens on the beautiful A4 sheets of paper. The blank paper just waiting to encourage you in the fact that YOU REALLY HAVE GROWN in 2013… and that your friends really do care about you, who you are, and that you matter in the community. 

You matter to the community you live in. And like the lattice-back bone of a cafe patio roof, you each have a vital role in that group of people you sit with. I sat there in my black plastic chair, sipping my chocolate-chai latte (yes, they exist and they are from the millennial kingdom) and I sat there, cocking my head and clicking the shutter-button on my camera, capturing the sunshine on roof-wood.

Summer sunshine. . .

…The kind of sunshine that tells you 
to leave your empty chai glass behind 
and forget the dregs of frothy milk that you feel you missed. 

The sunshine, the kind of honey-cream rays that tell you to
press on,
keep going,
burst forth through those open doors,
and enter into the joy of your master. 


I’m standing here, in the honey-bright hallway, wringing my empty hands together and instructing myself pedantically that “You need to get closure”. I persuade myself that constantly reflecting on all that has happened this year is the only way to close the present chapter of Year 2 at BTI, of life in Tauranga, New Zealand, yet my heart has no idea how to close a book when words face me so clearly…

“Shoosh, Kayla, shoosh. Listen to a voice not your own.”

I now shift the weight of my book bags to my left shoulder. This hallway is not a literal place, because BTI’s sidewalks are its hallways (much like Makua Lani’s), so instead it is a way for me to visualize this weekend, the weekend before we officially finish for the year and I am whisked away into the glories of a family summer in Australia and beyond.

As for me, the only way to close this life-chapter is to burst forth 
through the double-glazed glass doors 

and into the flooding sunshine of this joyful future,
the gift of God.

Flooding sunshine. Mmm.

I like the sound of that.

For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; 
The mountains and the hills before you 
Shall break forth into singing,
And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. 
Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; 
Instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
And it shall make a name for the Lord,
An everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”
-Isaiah 55:12-13