Friday, September 30, 2016

Gone on pilgrimage

When you're practicing Voluntary Simplicity, it's hard to talk yourself into things that you know are good for you, but not so good for the planet. So I want you to know that it's with many misgivings -- and no small amount of joy -- that I am on my way to Europe one more time.

Because I know that the fossil fuels used by air travel are costing our planet dearly in terms of environmental degradation through extraction, spills, other disasters, and climate change, it was hard for me to talk myself into air travel, which, next to space vehicles and cruise ships, create more greenhouse gases per person than anything else. Took me a good two weeks. Adding to our beautiful planet's carbon debt load -- which is contributing to droughts, tropical storms (like the one that hit Taiwan this week), the melting of polar ice and rising sea levels that affect our brothers and sisters around the globe -- isn't something I want to do.

But I do want to spend a week on Pilgrimage in Taizé with Cathy, who has been my friend for a full 45 years, since our first day in Grade One, and who has led Taizé prayer with and without me many times over the years. We had always talked about seeing an opera in Milan someday, but I think Taizé is a better choice for us. And I do want to visit my Flemish friends Gaby and Yvonne, Luc and Brigitte, and Xavier and Ilse one more time, to enjoy their friendship and share their burden of grief in losing Dimitri, if only a little bit. I think from then on, I will just travel shorter distances that cost creation less in terms of environmental impacts...

So as you read this, I am overseas, possibly enjoying a day in Paris with my best friend, or perhaps already on my way to Taizé for the week of October 2-9. I'll be back to my ordinary, low carbon life in two weeks. In the meantime, I intend to make the most of these days in France and Belgium, having a full week to experience the Taizé Community's beautiful ecumenical prayer life, and several days just being with my friends in Flanders. I'm off on a spiritual pilgrimage of friendship. You can be sure that I'll pray for you as I go.

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