Wings Will Come: Journey – Part 11 “Just Us”

My brother drove west with my father to help him get settled in my parents’ new house in Arizona. After a few weeks, I flew out to meet my brother for our friends’ wedding in New Mexico, after which he and I flew home together. It had been almost a month since we’d seen each other, and the weekend trip in New Mexico was full of catching up and then looking ahead at the last steps of the move. One thing I know for certain is that my brother was one of the greatest blessings God gave me throughout this time. Without his calm, wisdom, faith, and support, I don’t know I would have gotten through. This poem is for Duncan, brother and friend.
 
Next week, I continue the story of my family’s move and God’s goodness in the change in the twelfth poem of my collection, “Wings Will Come: Journey.”
 
God bless,
Morgan
 
 
“Just Us “
To Duncan
 
sandy-bright glare of
New Mexico highway flashes by
while brother and sister
fill the rental car with stories
from East and West,
swapping tales like trading cards.
 
it is just us out here,
rolling on to celebrate
the new beginnings
of our friends in the mountains.
 
it is just us going back.
we don’t feel ready.
we don’t have answers.
in the pitch-black drive
winding out of the mountains
to a morning flight out
we figure one thing:
we are going home.
what that is has changed
and will change.
we are half of our family,
East to their West.
 
Even unready, I
am at least not alone.
we won’t have the answers,
but we will have enough.
We say to each other:
we have gotten this far.
 
brother and sister
take flight home.
what that is has changed
and will change
into new beginnings.
 
 
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Wings Will Come: Journey – Part 10 “Phone Line”

My parents and grandfather moved out to Arizona in stages, and my dad was the first to leave. The first few weeks without him were surreal, but reality settled in slowly but surely, and the separation seemed enormous. Looking back on that time, though, I am now able to see that God continued to connect and sustain my family despite the new distance between us.
 
Next week, I continue the story of my family’s move and God’s goodness in the change in the eleventh poem of my collection, “Wings Will Come: Journey.”
 
God bless,
Morgan
 

“Phone Line”
To Dad
 
You leave first.
on a sunny summer morning
     we stand at the top of
     our driveway, your Prius packed
         to bursting for your journey.
I pretend you’re leaving on
       a business trip
     or a vacation.
I pretend you’ll be right back.
 
then you’re sending pictures
    of the new house,
telling us about your day
     across a phone line.
I desperately fill in the distance with 
      shovelfuls of it’s not really happening.
 
but when it’s not really happening
   suddenly becomes it is
my strong front crumbles
       into rainfall.
 
Change can be ignored
     but transformation consumes.
When pretending runs dry
     I look for deeper waters
that will sustain.
 
The phone line and the pictures
     tutor me, one on one,
that I have focused on the divide
       and not the connection.
God does not make the miles
      between us shrink, 
      but He shows me that our bonds
                       are growing and stretching
              along highways to unknowns
       and don’t come untied.

 
 
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Wings Will Come: Journey – Part 9 “Refuge”

Amidst the challenges and scurry of moving my parents and grandfather out to Arizona, another blow struck our family. My grandmother had cancer. New pressures and worries poured on top of our pile of concerns, but my mom was quick to call out the blessing in the whirlwind: that she would be moving out to join her mother in Arizona at a time when her mother needed her the most.
 
I do not believe God orchestrates every happening in our world, but I do believe that when we listen to His call, He pulls us toward paths where we can help others in ways we never imagined.
 
Next week, I continue the story of my family’s move and God’s goodness in the change in the tenth poem of my collection, “Wings Will Come: Journey.”
 
God bless,
Morgan
 
 
“Refuge”
News of cancer
 
the news is cannon fire:
I hear the explosion
distantly, watch the shot
coming toward me but still
feel the hard shock of the impact,
and I fall in the rubble
of the ordinary.
 
in the talk of diagnoses,
next steps, surgery, and treatments
for your mother out west, who has been
excitedly waiting for your arrival,
you ask aloud: why?
but you are brave and steadfast
no matter that our outer walls
have taken blows tonight.
You pause to say: it is good we will
be there.
 
I don’t understand the Lord’s timing,
nor the whys of the world,
but I know He moves us
where He needs us, if we will go.
 
we stand back up,
face ahead, and wave
an ever-bold banner.
this far in, we know
He keeps our walls.
 
 
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Wings Will Come: Journey – Part 8 “Crossing”

This poem describes the night that we emptied all manner of furniture, tools, and other household items out of my grandfather’s house into two storage units, a task that had to be done that night due to schedules and availability of the family. It was hectic, with carloads of items to take to the units before the place closed at 10 pm. Looking back, it reminds me a bit of the crossing of the Red Sea story in Exodus 14 – a rush across a sea of unknowns in a time of great change.
 
In the midst of that stressful dash, my mom and I sang praise songs in the car ride, and for a moment the impossibility faded as we remembered our God and His power and love that was greater than our troubles. It’s a reminder I continue to need and often look back to.
 
Next week, I continue the story of my family’s move and God’s goodness in the change in the ninth poem of my collection, “Wings Will Come: Journey.”
 
God bless,
Morgan
 
“Crossing”
Preparations
 
afternoon blurs into dusk
as we tape, wrap, box, disassemble, and
carry a collection of a lifetime.
the curator watches with a breaking
heart. the sweet and acrid blend of old
pipe smoke hovers around me
in a cloud of memory.
 
my grandfather’s house is a
monument in my mind, as fixed
as its keeper. but now
it, too, moves: a parting sea
in the journey to new places,
and like Your ancient people,
he is afraid to cross.
 
movement rushes us, dragging
us, our fear, and the collection into
dashes to a storage unit
that closes at 10 pm.
every circle back for more, the clock
squeezes time tighter.
 
impossibility will not be our master:
windows rolled all the way down in
humid sunset air, my mother and I
cry out to You in song, as loud as we can
over our turmoil as we drive in
darkness.
 
we remember that You give
dry ground for the crossing and that
we are in the keeping
of a Spirit who moves
and a Man who shepherds.
 
 
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Wings Will Come: Journey – Part 7 “False Bottom”

Too often we face challenges, realize we don’t have what it takes, and then cave. When my parents began the transition of moving to Arizona, leaving my brother and I behind, I learned that weakness is a window to God. We must learn to look past the glass and out in the vast world of His love beyond to find what we need to press on.
 
Next week, I continue the story of my family’s move and God’s goodness in the change in the eighth poem of my collection, “Wings Will Come: Journey.”
 
God bless,
Morgan
 

“False Bottom”
The weight of change
 
years, jobs, and classes
tugged us thin in places.
on the taut cloth falls
a stone.
crying in the car on the
way into work, I have to 
wonder if we have enough
in us for this.
 
       in the whirling spring and 
       summer months of that year
       you surprise me, God,
       with a lesson about us
       that I didn’t know I needed 
       to learn:
 
our strength was a 
false bottom.
You are the well
beneath us.
 
         It is now 
         that we learn
         to draw from it.

 
 
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Wings Will Come: Journey – Part 6 “Heralds”

My parents began to get ready for the move, but the enormity of the task soon made us question this decision. It was in those moments God spoke to us in unexpected ways, encouraging us forward. In your dark times, listen hard to the night, and you may find the message of hope you need.
 
Next week, I continue the story of my family’s move and God’s goodness in the change in the seventh poem of my collection, “Wings Will Come: Journey.”
 
God bless,
Morgan
 
“Heralds”
Doubts
 
preparations chew into
busy hours and restless weekends.
tasks climb on top of each other
to beg our attention.
exhausted, we stare into the shadow
they cast over the dream.
 
in the shade of the movement,
questions stitch themselves
to our skin and hide the
true muscle and bone beneath.
 
in a weary ride home
of a shadow-day
you speak to my father
in a radio song calling
for change.
When he looks ahead
he sees a license plate
for his destination
hanging in plain view.
 
today a song of change
and Arizona-tags leap to the top
of the shady mountain
to proclaim direction.
 
we follow unassuming heralds
and shed our doubting scales.
 
(For more on the doubting scales reference, see Act 9:1-19)
 
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Wings Will Come: Journey – Part 5 “Typeset”

When my parents moved to Arizona, my grandfather went to move in with them as well, unseating one of the steadfast people in my life. This change shook out both memories and new stories from him, reminding me of the long years he has been there for me and sharing in words his deep, but quiet love for me and my family. It reminds me, too, of how God’s love worked for my family during this time: often quiet, but always steady and always strong.
 
Next week, I continue the story of my family’s move and God’s goodness in the change in the sixth poem of my collection, “Wings Will Come: Journey.”
 
God bless,
Morgan
 

“Typeset”
To PopPop
 
you’re going, too.
for some reason this
     feels the most surreal 
so far.
 
you are a
      solid, stoic rock I remember
      from my tiniest days as I 
soaked in the world
      and every story from the old days.
you’d tell them letter by letter
to us like type set into a printing press.
     roll on the ink and another tale
falls into curious hands.
     but your stories are going
away now.
 
in the months to come I’ll hear
so many stories from you: 
      some I know well and
      some I never did.
as you step outside your pale green
home on the hill and look westward
       toward unknowns,
you speak your once-upon-a-times,
your questions, your joys, and your worries.
 
your love has long been quiet and thick as
snowfall, tucked in around the landscape
     in a generous quilt.
unexpectedly around the kitchen table
your love makes it into print like your
old family stories,
              and perhaps this is your greatest family story
                yet.
I will remember these pages,
      read aloud in your deep, rich voice,
when you said we are precious,
      you are proud of us,
      we’re your world. 
 
I put my inked type beside yours in reply:
       you have been our world, too
and though our worlds are stretching now
     to make room for change,
we share the same skies and
the same stories, in new chapters.

 
 
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