By Allison Gingras

Jesus meets us where we are.

Before Sunday’s 11-hour airport experience, I’d only considered this statement with regards to my spiritual life. My weekend encounters now support the belief this statement is much broader. Jesus sometimes uses our physical location to draw us closer to him.

I was blessed to attend the Columbus Catholic Women’s Conference in Columbus, Ohio. Since I have several friends in the area, I booked a later flight assuming my Sunday filled with visiting and fun, instead I found myself in the Southwest Terminal of Columbus airport for 11 hours.

Sounds horrific right? Not when you surrender your day to the Lord and trust in his promise to bring good in all circumstances, according to his purpose and plan, for those who love him (Romans 8:28).

My first chance to experience this promise came when I went to move to a cozy seat available in this window-lined alcove. Since the terminal was empty, I felt confident my desired seat by the window would not be taken anytime soon, so I made a quick trip to the restroom. When I returned, the custodian sat on break in the very spot I wished to claim. His cart blocked the remaining seats, and I was left no other option but to move to the next alcove. That is where I meet Joan.

Joan, a retiree, had plans to spent a week with her sister in sunny Florida. This, her first winter in Ohio, she confided, would be her last. She had two lovely destinations booked to make her escape for the next two winters. We shared our work, our families, and our education. Her joy and pride as she recounted her many accomplishments, seemingly forgotten as she transitioned into her new quieter life, touched my heart.

For our entire conversation, my laptop rested open upon my knees. After revealing my writing dealt with trusting the Lord, Joan opened up about her struggles with anxiety. About how she would get angry with herself when she wasted time worrying about things she couldn’t control or would more likely never come to fruition.

The Lord provided me this beautiful opportunity to share my lifelong battle with anxiety and the strength my faith has offered me to overcome more than succumb to my fears, including my being there in that moment, hundreds of miles from home in an airport for 11 hours! We laughed over the silly things often worried about, while still being honest about the difficulty trust in an unseen God can be.

The next encounter with Wanda, whom I met when she asked me to save her seat, was even more profound. Wanda, a feisty wisp of a woman, in her late 70s, with a face deeply wrinkled and eyes that reflected a deep inner sadness, warmed quickly to me. Wanda was also traveling to spend time in a warmer climate with family. The members of her family were dwindling and the losses clearly remained heavy on her heart.

Wanda shared a photo of her brother, Eddie, who passed away in the Korean War a week after his 18th birthday. A sweet, boyish face proudly donning an old Calvary uniform smiled out from behind the plastic of the picture slot of her wallet. Remarkably, speaking about him, even all these years later, still brought her to tears.

Here the Lord directed me to speak the hope of Heaven into her sadness. I shared the recent loss of my father and beloved spiritual director. How I prayed for their souls but also saw them as great advocates and intercessors, never far from me. I shared how prayer had brought me through so many difficult times. How I always included prayers for my dearly departed loved ones, as well as prayers for their holy help.

The miraculous and the peace which have come from these moments were too numerous for me to recount, though she graciously listened to a few stories of prayers answered and peace found.

Her eyes brightened as she processed this foreign idea of a changed relationship with our dead family and friends; not a lost one. Then those beautiful, steel eyes filled with tears. “I am so glad I sat here. You know” Wanda paused, “my daughter always says that prayer is everything, and now I am starting to see why.”

Allison Gingras – – shares the beauty of the Catholic Faith with honesty, laughter, and relatable examples from the everyday, ordinary of life! She has created the Stay Connected Journals for Catholic Women (Gracewatch.Media/Connected) which includes her book, The Gift of Invitation: 7 Ways Jesus Invites Us into a Life of Grace. She hosts A Seeking Heart with Allison Gingras on Allison is a social media and book club WINE specialist with WINE: Women in the New Evangelization.