The stage was dark as Edge Kingsland played their songs.

The screen towered behind them, flooding the venue with black-and-white flashes of ocean and clouds, ferries and waves.

Hope is not a rumour
Heaven is not a mile away
It’s as close as the blood within my veins
Steady as Your stand sure name

Of course, I forget all that.

I’m good at remembering all the other details, even though it was six months ago. The taste of pita bread with ham from my cooler, the  crunch of gravel roads around the Mystery Creek complex, the pouring rain soaking through my cardigan when John Mark McMillan sang How He Loves on MainStage. All at Parachute, an annual Christian music festival held for three days just outside Hamilton, New Zealand at the end of January. 

I mean, yes, I remember that particular afternoon. I can still feel the cool cement under bare feet in the auditorium where Edge Kingsland played. I don’t forget that I was there. I don’t forget belting out “Keep on leading me on!” along with them. Some of my family went to their church in located in a hilly suburb in Auckland, and I’d been their a handful of times, too. It wasn’t like they were playing and I wouldn’t see them again, like Gungor, or Kye Kye. But of course when the Holy Spirit is involved (as He usually is at Christian music festivals), somehow names clatter on the concrete and only what is steadfast remains with all of them.

I didn’t really understand, in January, that I have been acting like heaven is a mile away. I mean, yeah, a mile is not that far away. We talk kilometers here in New Zealand but I did grow up with miles (which I only got once I learned to drive). But even now, I can estimate that Countdown is about a mile away– if I want to get milk tomorrow it won’t take too long on foot. I’ll get there. It’ll be fine. Wait, Jesus, you’re saying that heaven is right here? That, in a sense, I can ask for it and somehow the light-green topped bottle will just appear in my fridge? No, no, that’s not true. You’re not all as close as that. And I just bumble along like running the cross country race at “average” speed and my friends have finished before me.

Hah. “My friends have finished before me”.

Oh, Kayla, what do you know about where you are on your journey? What do you know about the relativity of distance?

Very little, I see, even though I grew up traipsing the globe, sprouting in a crack between two countries. Very little, although I spend an evening in front of a screen talking to people who hundreds upon hundreds of miles away, my heart wounded and overjoyed by them just as if they were the blood in my veins.

Very little. 

I didn’t really understand, then, that I have been treating hope like a rumour. There’s better things ahead? Hah, no. I’ve been walking with God closely for five years or more and he’s guided me in a certain way then so come on, He has to do that now, because what could be better than that? There’s better things ahead? Come on, don’t you remember Australia, or life in Hawaii, don’t you remember Kona, don’t you remember what it felt like to be in the same room as all of your siblings? You really think life can get better than what beauty you had before? And it all just rattles around like that rumor in high school that the cute boy likes you but you know it’s not true.

Hah. “It’s not true”.

What does my worldly self know about truth? What does my pessimistic fear know about the wisdom of hope? 

Very little, I realize.

Hallelujah that He uses Facebook– that oh-so-near-and-far device– to remind me of how He wants to turn my very littles into a deep, delved understanding

Hope is not a rumour
Heaven is not a mile away
It’s as close as the blood within my veins
Steady as Your stand sure name

My brother Daniel shared the newly-recorded song, and I heard the echoes of a long-lost memory, even though six months is not really that long ago. I scrambled to my old black journal and found “hope is not a rumour” scribbled underneath ‘Edge Kingsland’ that Saturday… along with one more thing:

Stand sure name. 

The stage was dark, launching me to focus on something deeper, at least for a moment.

The screen flooded the venue with ocean and clouds, ferries and waves, and words.

Stand sure name. 

And I now finally remember, remember the truth.

He’s my only Constant. 

But what’s more,

He’s only going to get nearer, 
and better. 

(Take a moment, stop, breathe, then listen. 
I pray the Holy Spirit would reveal what He wants you to remember.

He’s good like that.)

Photos: Waihi Beach & Orokawa Bay, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand. April 2013