Question mark

Written for the many people affected by disease and struggle, whether past or present. We are told “Be still and know I am God” (Psalm 46:10), but what does that look like?
 
 

“Question mark”
 
I see you staring at me, question mark, 
     like a scar on paper.
You aren’t the elegant, looped symbol
     I grew up practicing to read and write.
On the page you are written in six letters: c a n c e r.
 
I cannot forget you, 
                      escape you, 
                             or answer you 
        with a thousand distractions, 
                 a million miles, 
                     or a billion books.
I pray to understand, to fight the question, to erase the mark.
       But God has not answered or erased anything.
Instead God listens. He sits with me in waiting rooms, 
           holds the shaking reports in my hands, 
                and stays awake with me while I am staring at nothing. 
 
God just 
    is
       when I am afraid 
                          to be.
 
When the lights are out, 
         the treatments fail, 
            and the goodbyes sneak up on me,
all I have from God is: be still. Know I am God.
 
It is, in the end, my only answer
to the question mark.

 
 
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Question mark by Briana Batty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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The Last Photo

Grief is a long process and one that I wholeheartedly believe can only be endured with the love of the people around us. In their embraces, encouragement, quiet company, God is present and working to heal us. And when we are ready, God can also show us how to see a way forward.

God bless,
Morgan

“The Last Photo”

The moment snaps
like an old Kodak camera – click –
captured in the glare of a flash
on darkness. Your weakening breath and slack fingers
are imprinted in the silent cacophony of the end
I didn’t want.

I am holding old pictures in
a quiet house as disarray hangs
upon me, stealing direction.
Atop each photo of birthdays,
beach trips, and family vacations,
the last image of all perches
with black raven claws.

I am moving through albums,
and it takes me years to turn
pages. It takes the constant embrace
of love and perseverance to push
off the raven claws and teach
me how to hold my hands to
capture new moments.

I reach,
breathe out – click.
 
 
 
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The Last Photo by Morgan Waad is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

In Winter

This one goes out to all the caregivers and the heartbroken trying so hard to be strong for everyone else.

God bless,
Morgan

“In Winter”

You have been looking for beauty in the winter
and a masterpiece in the shrieking storm.
You are rain-whipped and weary,
but for them, you must be strong.
For them you tell of rainbows and silver.
For them you are the warm hearth in the blizzard.
You keep your eyes open
to never miss a second or a cry.
Passersby say words to you like snowfall that blow cold
and then fall into the blanket of white ashes
where you put up a sign called Reality.
You hide the sign behind your skirts. They must not see.

In this season where you are the single pillar, I can only say:
Pray remember who is your ground.

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In Winter by Morgan Waad is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

To keep

Romans 8:38 (NIV) “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present or the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Jesus Christ our Lord.”

God bless,
Morgan

“To keep”
 
The day is dark, God.
Tell me you will keep me.
To keep is an embrace when the lights go out,
surrounding hidden hurt with healing arms;
it is shelter and steadfast;
it is a promise.
 
Another one is gone, God.
Tell me you will keep her.
To keep is to lift her to new heights of spirit,
transforming and renewing with Your light’s bright touch;
it is trust and change;
it is heaven.
 
I have no answers, God.
Tell me you will keep me.
To keep is a firm hand on shaking shoulders,
steering me out of the ash to fresh blue air;
it is tireless and true;
it is peace.
 
 
 
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To keep by Morgan Prettyman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Grief

Death smears our race with pain, clogs our media, and follows us home. It seems to be around every corner. We face it unprepared.
 
In the story of Jesus and his friend Lazarus, we read about the pain Jesus felt from his loss of a close friend. What struck me this time as I remember this story is that the short verse, “Jesus wept,” is in isolation. He is alone with his grief in this moment, much as his name and this verb are alone. Nothing distracts or diminishes the hurt described here. Yet, this small sentence is part of a larger context, a story of resurrection. We must keep reading to see it.
 
This small sentence, though, is mourning. It is God’s pain and humanity’s pain, unfiltered. Jesus wept. We weep. That is what I capture in this poem.
 
To the grieving, God bless, and keep reading.
 
 
“Grief”
 
it is gut-wrenching, time-stopping phone calls.
it is not enough time, a last goodbye, or no goodbye at all.
it is numbness and it is yelling at the sky every question clawing up our throats.
it is photographs in shaking fingers and tears hidden in pillows.
it is a circle of hands and a lone, wavering voice saying prayers.
it is a long, heavy box carried on our shoulders.
at the end of the day it is the sound of a melancholy song loud on the stereo
while we sing along to the tune playing from our heart.
 
 
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Grief by Morgan Prettyman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Empty Walls

Parting hurts. Whether it is parting from the ones we love because they’re moving to a new place or moving to the next life, we look for hope. I believe one of the greatest things the Holy Spirit does is unify us. It can pull us together in community, empower us in prayer, and connect us to people who’ve passed. As I go through partings in my own life, I take comfort in God’s Spirit and great gift to us.
 
God bless,
Morgan
 
“Empty Walls”
For Gram and Duncan
 
The walls are empty again,
pictures gone like glass in broken windows.
I stand in the bare hallway and ask what we are both wondering:
How did we get here, where these journeys take us so far apart,
where we say farewell
and think of what pictures are missing on our walls?
 
We count the days left between us.
Despite the ache of loss with each passing moment,
we wear brave faces and speak strong words
because we believe in a core we share beyond miles
and lifetimes. That core is Spirit.
Whether we feel it the same,
it holds us when we cannot see each other
with a firm but tender grip.
 
I am in an empty hallway.
You will collect your stories in golden-sand frames
and I will capture mine in rainy silver.
When the days apart have been counted,
we will talk over new pictures together in reunion’s radiant joy.
 
 
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Empty Walls by Morgan Prettyman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Without words

This is a poem for when we don’t know what to pray, when the hurt is too much or we feel helpless.
 
God bless,
Morgan
 
“Without words”
 
I am without words for this moment.
They say the Spirit speaks for us at times like these,
and I wonder what it would say.
Maybe it is a poet: God, the terror confines him,
blinds him, binds him. Slip peace
onto the blisters of the unknown tomorrows
and soothe the heart that grieves for the easy days past
.
Maybe it is a chanting priest: Holy God, give peace. Holy God, give peace.
Holy God, give peace.

Maybe the Spirit sings, and maybe it clamors.
Maybe it shouts, maybe it whispers.
Maybe all it says is my name,
and God listens.
 
 
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Without words by Morgan Prettyman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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