A journey has begun. I awoke about an hour ago (at 4:30 am) and have been praying about the next several days. I’ve shared that a few years ago I realized I was waking up each morning asking God “what are we doing today?” That grew out of the Quaker belief that every single diverse one of us can communicate directly with God, and our spiritual practices of creating conditions to encourage that to happen. Even though we know we won’t necessarily get a response we might hope for, or when we might like to have it, as with most things the more you practice, the more adept you become at recognizing spiritual messages and opportunities.
One expression of this is the nearly daily writing I share on this blog. Most days I wake up with words I’ve been given to share. This is often uncomfortable, feeling pretty exposed. I make mistakes in what I say, or may not accurately interpret or express the messages I’ve been given. We don’t have a good vocabulary to express spiritual matters. Indeed the word that often comes to mind is ineffable–not able to express in words.
But Quakers also believe we can support each other spiritually. There is a wonderful expression, “holding in the light”, which means bring our spiritual attention to focus on a person or situation in need.
This morning I’m asking for your prayers, to hold me in the light for the next few days. Even though I have been led to do a number of things the next several days, that doesn’t mean it will be easy. I already know there will be challenges.
First I plan to attend one of two events related to the Dakota Access Pipeline. Events are planned across the United States, referred to as StopETP (Stop Energy Transfer Partners). Energy Transfer Partners is the company behind a number of oil pipelines, including the Dakota Access Pipeline. The first event relates to asking that Richard W. Lozier, Jr. be removed from the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) because of his ties with the fossil fuel industry. The IUB makes decisions regarding the approval of pipelines. A press conference will be held on the steps of the Iowa State Capitol at 11:00 this morning, and then the petition will be delivered to the Governor’s office.
The second StopETP event is one I was led to organize at the Bear Creek Friends meetinghouse tomorrow night at 7:00 pm. I will be showing music videos of Nahko and Medicine for the People. They use their music as activism to support the water protectors who oppose pipelines, such as the Dakota Access Pipeline, with moving lyrics and images in their videos.
One of the main reasons I’m asking for your prayers is because I plan to ride my bicycle from the event at the State Capitol building to the Bear Creek meetinghouse, a distance of about 40 miles. For most of my life I ran long distances almost daily. But about 2 years ago I was no longer able to do so. This is related to my leading to give up personal automobiles nearly 40 years ago. I knew this would be challenging when I moved to Iowa when I retired 2 months ago. I’ve been bicycling 15-20 miles about every other day, so I hope to be able to make the 40 miles to Bear Creek. Bear Creek Friends have offered help if needed.
The third event I plan to attend is the annual Prairie Awakening celebration, with Native American storytelling and dance. This will be held at the Kuehn Conservation Area, just a couple of miles from Bear Creek meeting. As explained here, a number of members of Bear Creek meeting have been involved with this for many years.
These things are related to Bear Creek’s concerns related to trying to reduce fossil fuel use in rural areas (ethical transportation) and a desire to build connections Native Americans.