We are en route to Nouth Dakota, still.... I'm sitting in a small theater in Spearfish, South Dakota. Taking a deep breath as a goddess strums her banjo on the stage. Serendipity arrived today, again, and my mind is blown. In a way I'm not sure I've experienced yet.
Our van was feeling little crunchy this morning, so we made a couple of phone calls and pulled over... to visit the one and only mechanic open on a sleepy Sunday in small town South Dakota. He sounded nice enough on the phone, like he may turn out to be our road angel for this unfortunate situation we were finding ourselves in. Our experience in person, however, was quite different....
"Where you headed?" he asked
"North Dakota" we answered, trying to keep it neutral.
And then immediately he fired back... "You going there to protest?"
We felt the tension. And it was strange - unexpected - everyone else we'd encountered thus far had been so lovely - grateful even - literally thanking us for our pilgrimage to Stand with the Water Protectors. So we didn't quite know how to respond....
"We're delivering some supplies" seemed like a neutral-ish answer, not realizing that his mind, at this point, had already been made up. He was going to refuse us service, and silently inside of himself he was calculating exactly how he was going to deliver this message. He looked over the van, and got busy typing things up on the computer. When he finally walked around the counter, he was shaking. "Here's what you will need," he said, "but I will not work on your van."
"I don't agree with what's going on there, and I don't agree with what you are doing, so I won't be working on your van."
There was no budging his stubborn and bruised heart. No human-to-human empathy. Nothing.
For a couple of white women, alone on the road, and accustomed to the privilege that comes along with being born into this skin, this was a discomfort unfamiliar to us. And a powerful one.
Discrimination. Let's talk about it.
It's very real, my friends. And in a way, I am grateful for this opportunity to feel the sting. There are many people among us who feel this sting every single day. Who always have. There are many people who have *never* been treated equally - because of their beliefs, their trajectory, their skin color, their religion, their identity, their gender, and beyond.
We cannot continue this way as people...
This is not the way of love.
This is not the way towards a future where there is room for everyone.
So now we know what it feels like to be refused service for our beliefs. And I can tell you this, as you may already know far better than I, it doesn't feel good.
My heart, today and every day moving forward, is open. Compassion expanded. Complexities revealed. Gentle footsteps laden with intention. Onward. Together. In Love.