“Welcome Home!” my housemates said when I flew into Maui four weeks ago. “Welcome home!” the Peaceful Women island-dwellers echoed as they greeted me. But when Brittany, the bank teller, said it to me, it felt completely different.

“So where are you living on island?” she asked in the course of filling out a form.
“In Haiku.”
Where did you live on the Mainland?”
Oh, I love California!” she exclaimed.
“I love it too, but I’d lived there since I was twenty-four and was ready for a change. And I love living in Haiku!”
She smiled and looked me in the eyes. “Well, welcome home,” she said.
Brittany is Hawaiian.

This genuine reception touched me—and touched off something in me. My transition from shore-to-shore has been miraculously smooth, as you know from hanging out in Blogland with me. So smooth in fact, that an illusion took hold—the illusion that my body and psyche were actually keeping up with the splendor of my outer reality.

Then Nikki, my daughter-in-love, landed in the hospital with a spiking heart rate and chronic pain—complicated by the fact that she is five months pregnant. My best friend, Sandi, discovered that one of her sisters is up against the odds with cervical cancer. Nikki’s successful gallbladder surgery was swiftly followed by the news of kidney problems in our unborn babe. So when my Haiku household hit a car insurance snag and I was threatened with the loss of my current transportation, my insides started singing, “Oh how I want to go home.”

There’s a beautiful line in the movie, Julia and Julie.
In a moment of great discouragement and in the face of another move, her husband tells her, “We’ll go home and figure things out.”
“Where’s home?” she asks.
“Home is wherever we are,” he answers.

In the wake of the pull back to Portland, back to Sacramento—where I know my relational, emotional way around—I realized the enormity of what I’m asking of myself: to be at home wherever I am and trust that it is the right place at the right time--not only for me but for those I love. And in this place, I see that I need to give my body and my psyche time to inhabit the sweeping life changes my spirit has initiated.

In the meantime, I’m on call to fly to Portland sooner than scheduled if needed. I’m on the phone with Sandi almost daily. At night I dream of those I love and by day I am with them in my heart. Going home is not the answer. Being home is.

A Hui Hou


*til we meet again