I always have that moment when I come here.
That moment where everything is so blissfully perfect, my love-tank filled by the hour– people and places that mean so much to me, and if it was all a meal? It would be tummy-satisfied Thanksgiving.
Then I always have that moment where I realise…
I live in a different country.
Yet I’m always telling the story of Newcastle, Australia– I mean, most people get it, so I probably don’t need to explain. All three of my brothers did their DTS here and my dad regularly visits to teach, so naturally I feel a strong family connection. Then of course I made good friends who understand YWAM life and my global heart, and I kept connected with them in between my own visits– which have happened every three years or so since I was thirteen. So yeah, it’s understandable. But I feel like I keep telling the story to remind myself that Newcastle means a lot to me, even though I haven’t ever lived here for more than four weeks at a time.
But don’t I live in New Zealand? I was called there. That’s home. This cannot be– can it? The thoughts go on and on. So I have a flashback the words I tearfully typed a year ago, starving for some sort of reconciliation between my airplane-split homes.
It’s the mock of ages, to be haunted by grief and hunted by memories of a place that I spent so short a time. Schedule says ignore it, necessity of life here in New Zealand pulls me away from the thoughts that carry me across the ocean to Australia. Four weeks were so little, so pointless, I tell myself, to be this sad. You have a good home, you have a good purpose here, I try to convince myself. But crevices of my day unveil the off-limits emotion named Discontentment, who threatens to assault my present and all the thankfulness I’ve worked so hard to gain these past 20 years.
Yet somehow I find myself here. In my brother and sister-in-law’s house for two weeks, with my niece snuggled in her crib, my future sister-in-law on the couch next to me, old friends only a stone’s throw away and memories being made as you read this blog post. I never expected to come back so soon, my best hope was to come in a year’s time at least! Yet somehow, I heard my brother and his fiancee were going to visit Australia– I thought “that’d be awesome to see everyone”, asked God, heard yes– and then someone offered to pay for my ticket the same day. And I’m here?! In the middle of a normal school week? Yes. Because I teach two YWAM kid girls whose parents met and married in Newcastle and they trust Jesus to lead me to where I’m connected and called to, while still being very much committed to them.
So, our desire… if we listen to it… oh, listen, Kayla. What is it trying to say?
I’m discontented. No matter how much I want things to be perfect, I can’t help but admit that I don’t feel at home in only one country. I realise that I hate the thought of having to choose– between Hawaii and New Zealand and Australia–my heart writhes in a straitjacket of political borders. Don’t you understand, Kayla? I have to yell at myself. I was not made to be connected exclusively to A) or B) or C), and I struggle daily with that fact.
The answer is not one of those letters! You standardised tests ruin us for the complexity of the Kingdom. Our heart strings were not made to be made compartmentalised in neat little border-lined boxes. Multiple choice questions! You kill any hope that we can understand the complexity of God’s kingdom of love. Well, perhaps not entirely, because you do have this answer sometimes:
D) All of the above.
Last night, as the autumn wind blew stormy-stale, I paced in the empty Warehouse car park with my phone pressed hard to my ear. I lamented to Cora that being here was so good– and because it was so good, it was remarkably hard. I live in New Zealand, don’t I? And I do want to be there! But I love it here. “It’s not a long trip,” Cora remarked to me to me simply. What? Someone saying I could visit as often as I wanted? And I had the peace of one who no longer is pulled limb by limb but rather, a girl who sits contented on a comfy couch, hearing… you don’t have to choose anymore.
In the past, I always had that moment when I came here to YWAM Newcastle:
Utter satisfaction, immediately followed by disgruntled discontent that this can’t be normal life (it isn’t daily life for the valid reason of being called to one of the best places on earth).
Because you might just find that someone is whispering to you.
“…and we will come to him
and make our home with him.”
(John 14:23, ESV).
Maybe, just maybe– it means that home can be found in all of the above, too.
Photos: Flying into Sydney, December 2013; On the train from Sydney to Newcastle, March 2015.