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.

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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.

Pillars

In this poem I reflect on Exodus 13:21, which is about how God guided the Israelites to their promised land: “By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.” Thousands of years later, God still guides us, showing us the way to life abundant for ourselves and the many people of the world.
 
God bless,
Morgan
 

“Pillars”

This Fire in the desert night 
     Calls me,
        Stays me,
             Shows me.

The Clouds in the desert day 
      Lead me,
          Stop me,
              Guide me.

They are a ballet of flame and smoke.
       The more I watch them, the less form they have.
Just like when you stare at a painting until the colors blur,
          I see the fire spread and glow in places I had never looked before 
                and I see the clouds resting their shade over the people
         I have forgotten.

The form is a mystery, the call is clear.

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

Broken branches

It is heartbreaking how so many of our parents and grandparents have lost themselves to age. Sometimes we feel that we cannot reach them anymore. Perhaps these are the times we must let the Spirit intervene when our groans are too deep for words (Romans 8:26).

God bless,
Morgan

“Broken branches”

Beyond the miles of a failing mind
you wait with a sun-tanned hand on the telephone.
On partly-cloudy days
you break through the forecast.
The voice of an oak comes through the line.
You have long, deep roots, but the branches are broken
and the leaves fall into a pile of memories I collect for you
and hold in my library.
When you need your stories I will pull them off the shelves,
leaf through to the right page, and let loose the perfect, musty scent
of knowledge printed long ago.

You were the arms that carried me,
and the burden that I carry.

I have asked God why, but He does not respond.
There is no why. I must ask a new question.
I hear you fall again, another branch lost to the wind.
On my knees gathering wood and leaves, I am beneath
what once sheltered me but the canopy is bare.
You summer life is gone, but mine is golden yet,
and I will pray for you in winter as you prayed for me in spring.

God who listens, God who speaks, hear our pain of tumbling leaves.
Whisper across the gap of time and words between us,
and connect our hearts with Spirit.

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Broken branches by Morgan Prettyman 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.

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