Me. On an airplane. In a bad mood. That’s all she saw. After words from the others like… you are a desert flower… you love to encourage people… God has been your song in the night… All she saw was me on an airplane, unhappy. She’s apologizing, saying I need to ask Jesus about that more… but my confusion mingled with curiosity has already set in.

Which airplane ride was that? I am not one that’s usually associated myself with being grumpy about travel. So which flight was I unhappy on? I wonder.
Yet life goes on in Tauranga, New Zealand. Evening church service, late toast dinner, wondering if I have any readings to finish for my lecture the next morning. (Well, maybe not wondering that- that’s something I would realize mid-lecture). But anyway, I just forget about the prophetic words for the moment, forget the disgruntled airplane, forget until well, the next morning.
I will bring you home. 
(He’s said this a few times, as I am typing in my morning devotions journal. So for the first time in awhile I type him a question).


Go deeper, deeper, Jesus. What do you want to say to me, what do you want to uncover?
You were unhappy on that airplane, Kayla.
Which one?
All of them. 
(Then He had a question for me. I like these ones. Yet you never know how many tissues you will use by the end).
Do you get unhappy in the hallways between rooms?
(I am wondering where He is going with this. I also wonder if I am crazy. Maybe they these quiet thoughts are just me. Yet they still continue down my page, without me fully aware of what’s going on.)
Do you get impatient, frustrated that it’s taking so long to get upstairs, or to the bathroom, or the attic, or to those you know upstairs?
No. (I reply, now guessing what the not-so-quiet Thought may be referring to)
Well, haha, sometimes … often… I run up the stairs! 🙂 (I am referring to me bounding up and down the stairs to my room at the time. My feet got pretty accustomed to hopping along those stairs).
Pause. Why would my feelings towards airplanes and houses have any significance, you may ask. Well, for those of you that know me, and perhaps know yourself, they have every relevance possible. I just graduated university, and have returned to Hawaii for Christmas after living in New Zealand for the past three years. Rather than just being your regular expat, I was a dual citizen grappling with the 21st century version of my parents culture, while realizing I was actually American and very much from Hawaii. But more than anything, everywhere I traveled on airplanes- such as Newcastle, Australia (where I was with family last Christmas) or New Zealand- I wrestled with the painful revelation that home was everywhere and nowhere.
Now that was not a new revelation. I think by the time I was six, my love-hate relationship with airplanes was pretty well-established. Why? They took me to places that I fell in love with. They took me to people I fell in love with (family and friends and well, boys). Then those airplanes took me away- and we all agreed, all us missionary kids agreed, it was frustrating but a normalcy we just  had to live with. We were too grateful for our multicultural experience to fully embrace the grief that was the unwelcome companion to it. However, being in a bad mood on an airplane, and after it, was still something I had to face at twenty-one.
What a beautiful day! Waimea, green hills, bright sunshine, Makua Lani soccer game at HPA with old friends, with the little siblings of friends grown-up and gone to university. I slipped straight into normal life again, chomping blueberry bagel and downing Arizona Green Tea at the Waimea food court. The past three years of making home in New Zealand disappeared into smoke, it’s like it never happened. Yet the reality of my return ticket to Auckland confronts me when I arrive back to my house. Alone on the sidewalk under the stars, there came the haunting confrontation that this is home, too. Even though it had been three years away, I couldn’t avoid the fact that I now had two homes (if not more), and I would always miss the other, continually floating between borders like an airplane that had lost contact with any radio tower whatsoever.
Then came the crackled reception… A memory from that quiet-thought conversation over a month ago. You’re in the same house, just different rooms. And I repeat it to myself until I remember I am no longer disjointed. I repeat to myself to know I am not homeless. I repeat it to myself to survive.
Kayla, the world is your home and airplanes are your hallways. You’ve looked at belonging with the world’s focus for too long. You’ve hurt yourself, you’ve coddled yourself, you’ve wondered what on earth is going on- seeing so many bodies instead of one body with different parts. I know you, Kayla, and I know you see your home zooming out from the Pacific, from a higher height- you just did not have the labels to write it that way. 
(By this time I am crying. It’s what happens when you have extroverted feeling come up on your Myers-Briggs personality test. Because I am not very good at thinking up a response when I am snotted up… especially when I fully don’t understand why I am crying… somehow my fingers keep typing those quiet thoughts.)
You did not know that my airplanes were just hallways to different rooms of my house. ONE house, Kayla Norris. My Father’s house has many rooms. And for you, my dear, that house is the world. 
Each room looks different- each room has a different view… some rooms are similar, some are so vastly different you wonder if you’re in the same house.
It is my home. 
And I asked for you to be with me where I am. 
(Finally, I snivel up enough to exclaim…)
But so many people won’t get it!
(This doesn’t seem to bother him. Because he calmly replies…)
It is your job to show them, young one. It is your job to show them my home. 
Because they will not understand you if you don’t.  
Me. On an airplane. In a bad mood. That’s all she saw.
But, oh how I needed to see it, too.
And to know home has been here all along.

It just looks a little different than we all thought. 

“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, 
but you are fellow citizens with the saints 
and members of the household of God.”

Ephesians 2:19 (ESV)

Photos: Above Kailua-Kona, HI; Dunedin, NZ; Auckland Airport, NZ; Waimea, HI; Dunedin, NZ; Air New Zealand; forget-me-nots in Paeroa, NZ.