Facing Grief with Deep Love

Dear Friend,

I write to you with a special edition of Firelight, in response to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission decision to grant the Line 3 pipeline a Certificate of Need.


Weep for the youth whose future looks dark;

Weep for the endless trail of tears and broken promises;

Weep for the rice and the water and the bones of ancestors bound to be disturbed;

Weep for those who took pen in hand, marched, spoke, called, and spent hours in action;

Weep, weep, weep.

Teddie Potter


On June 28th the Public Utilities Commission overruled the guidance of the Department of Commerce, overruled the voices of indigenous people, overruled the hopes of future generations, overruled perhaps the leanings of their own hearts and unanimously handed Enbridge a Certificate of Need for Pipeline 3.

At times like this when it seems forces of darkness have overcome the light we need to remind one and other that we are faith-based people not only of light but power. The following quotes are ones that I have turned to again and again in my life.

Spider webs united can tie up a lion.  -Ethiopian Proverb

Never place a period where God has placed a comma. –Gracie Allen

God is still speaking. –United Church of Christ


Who Knows What’s Good or Bad: The Story of a Farmer and His Horse

One day a farmer’s horse runs away. And his neighbor comes over and says to commiserate, “I’m so sorry about your horse.” And the farmer says, “Who knows what’s good or bad?” The neighbor is confused because this is clearly terrible. The horse is the most valuable thing he owns.

But the horse comes back the next day and he brings with him 12 feral horses. The neighbor comes back over to celebrate, “Congratulations on your great fortune!” And the farmer replies again: “Who knows what’s good or bad?”

And the next day the farmer’s son is taming one of the wild horses and he’s thrown and breaks his leg. The neighbor comes back over, “I’m so sorry about your son.” The farmer repeats: “Who knows what’s good or bad?”

Sure enough, the next day the army comes through their village and is conscripting able-bodied young men to go and fight in a war, but the son is spared because of his broken leg.

Taoist fable, 2000 years old

I do not presume to think that words that bring me comfort will resonate with you. You may have your own collection of wisdom sayings that you turn to in the darkness. The point is not that we all agree, the point is that we come together. Please feel free to send me a cherished saying or quote that brings you solace. At the end of August, I will knit them into one whole and submit them to a future issue of Firelight. My email is teddie.potter@gmail.com.

Then, when the tears run dry, let us stretch out our arms;

Let us stretch until we meet the arms of another;

Linking arms to create bands of resistance.

Repetitive waves can wear away the hardest stone.

Teddie Potter


We are a people of hope, and we will keep working, facing our grief with deep love, finding our way forward, together.