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 
       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.


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


This poem is about thankfulness in hard times of change.

God bless


pile up another box
     around me as I stare
 in disbelief
 at rapids of change rushing over
    the rocks. 
we are the moving river barreling 
        toward a divergence
where I’ll go my way,
                                        you’ll go yours.

I could clutter up this last leg of
the familiar way 
with all the debris
careening around us: 
    the setbacks, shifts in plans,
           breakdowns, and dreaded news
that could batter apart the faith I carry atop
    this torrent of water.

you call us to thanksgiving, God,
   not despair.

I focus my running eyes to 
     precious moments tucked along the
banks, gems in the river weeds:
praise songs sung on the road at night
      when we’re running out of time.
an old game my dad finds in the
      basement of his childhood home
      and teaches to me in the middle
      of hectic chores.
tearful embraces of comfort 
      with no words.
friends holding hands in sisterhood
    as one listens to cancer knocking
    on her mother’s door.
prayers short or long or broken, all
     answered quietly day by day.
and throughout, the glimmer of wise words, 
      forgiving words, 
humble words, 
        and brave words.

      we will go different courses 
but we will meet again 
         at the ocean wide.

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