By Kimberly Woods
Sitting in the airport and trying to tune out the world is difficult. Trying to tune things out is difficult in general, but especially in an airport, like O’Hare. Announcements come across loudspeakers every five minutes, persons chatter on phone or make small-talk with other persons sitting beside them at the gate or in the food court. Even those who are typing and keeping to themselves clack on their keyboards or murmur to themselves about deadlines. The world is a place full of noises and an airport has its fair culmination of them all.
However, I find myself needing silence. As I approach General Conference, amidst the chaos of checked baggage, gate changes, and TSA-approved liquid carrying bags, I need a moment to breathe and center myself. It is part of the reason why I am arriving a tad early to Portland, so once the shuffle and scuffle of transportation woes is set aside, I can take that much needed moment to breathe, pray, and remember why I am here.
This is God’s place. Not Portland or the O’Hare airport, but General Conference. It may not always feel like a place where the Holy Spirit can freely flow, especially amidst difficult decisions, harsh critics on either side of the aisle, but God works in the loud airports and conference centers as well as those quiet centering places like a double bed at the Downtown Marriott Waterfront. It is for God that I am here. The Spirit may not seem present, but my heart and mind is open to God’s call in my life and on all of our conversations at General Conference. I know that there is a treacherous and daunting road ahead, especially for a first-time delegate like me who is green in the gills, but God is there. God is with us, ready or not, and God is covering us all, just as so many wondrous people are covering the delegates with prayer at this time.
As I type, wishing for WiFi and a bit less noise, I am reminded that even Jesus needed those centering moments, yet never turned away when the people needed him. So while I am gathering my thoughts, don’t hesitate to interrupt for conversation. Send me a message, a prayer, or just say hello. Because God works in us and through us wherever we are. And God is working in Portland and in us all this General Conference.
(Kimberly Woods is a young adult, pastor’s spouse in her early 20's, pursuing her own ministry path as well as supporting the ministry of her spouse. She is on Twitter (@kdwoods220) & Instagram (KryshaSyrin). She is a member of the Braceville UMC in the Vermilion River District.)