It definitely had been an exhausting several days.
I left my home and two awesome pit-bull dogs in Minnesota and traveled to Mexico with 20 band members. Our Sunday morning flight was at 4:30 AM. (I am not a morning person!) I was responsible to make sure everyone had arrived to the airport, had their musical instruments, music books, luggage, and other personal belongings. (This is one of the many perks from being the Minister of Music at All God’s Children for over 10 years.) I made sure everyone had checked-in, went through security, and was on the plane. That all went relatively smoothly, but once we got to Mexico, going through customs was quite a challenge. They didn’t fully understand why we were traveling with guitars, trumpets, and trombones. After two flights and a bus ride, we finally arrived at the hotel in Acapulco in the early evening. Now we had the daunting task of checking into all our hotel rooms. While I was standing in a very long line, I was quickly greeted by Rev. Wes Mullins. He swept me away into a worship planning meeting. There were some complications for the opening worship service the next night. We met to discuss multiple options and contingency plans. Some time well after midnight I finally got to see my hotel room. I was so tired, I’m not even sure I changed clothes before jumping into bed – and it definitely was not the Select Comfort bed I am used to!
The 6:00 AM alarm came way too early – remember I’m not a morning person! It was off to set up the worship space, attend more meetings, do sound checks and rehearse with all the musicians. There was so much to do, and minutes were flying by. I have no idea what happened to lunch time and I didn’t even have time to eat dinner! The MCC Toronto Choir began singing at 6:15 PM and Opening Worship started at 7:00 PM. The service ended and by 10:00 PM everything was packed up and secure for the night. I could now go get food. Nope. I forgot, another worship planning meeting. After all, there were two more worship services the next day. Ok, I’ll wait to eat. Once again it was well after midnight. I wasn’t thinking about food, I was desiring sleep.
Rehearsal the next morning started at 8:00 and worship started at 9:45. Worship was creative and inspiring with the morning message given by Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins. Immediately after worship, the first part of the business meeting. I was able to grab a quick lunch before the afternoon session of the business meeting. Then evening worship, another planning meeting, around midnight I ate my favorite food – pizza, and then off to bed. The schedule on Wednesday and Thursday was similar. Up early for rehearsal and worship, attend plenaries and workshops, evening rehearsal and worship, planning meetings, eat if possible, and then bed.
There was so much stimulation throughout the week. And many times I thought I would just collapse from lack of energy. I obviously needed more rest. I wanted and could have clearly used a siesta. Since I didn’t have the time, all I could do was imagine a siesta. By Friday, it definitely had been an exhausting several days. When morning worship came, I was completely on empty. But that morning worship service was different from the rest. The room was dimly lit with images of white, fluffy clouds in the sky projecting on the ceiling and walls. There were candles and soft music. It was very serene. Marcia McFee led the worship and began with a Taize melody singing the words, “Rest, Imagine Siesta”. The repetition of these lyrics calmed my entire body. Then there were more contemplative songs, a Homily by Rev. Fernando Frontan, contemporary readings, and a candlelight prayer ritual. This was what I needed. Even though I didn’t actually have a Siesta, I was able to rest and imagine one. I left the worship service with more energy and excitement than I had all week. I was ready for the day, closing worship, and traveling home the next day. I could reflect on the entire week and see distinctly how each day, while being completely packed full of activities, had a profound impact on me.
I met incredible people, made new friendships and rekindled ones with those I hadn’t seen in a long time, heard inspiring stories, worked with talented musicians, preachers, designers, and A/V personnel, learned new things, and certainly allowed Spirit to work within me to bring me to a place on my journey where I had never been before. I knew I was leaving Mexico very different from when I arrived. If you allow it, that’s what General Conference will do. Those six days left a lasting impression on me. They are days I will always remember. I’m looking forward to having similar experiences during the 2016 General Conference in Victoria, BC Canada.