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.

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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.

The Bleeding Christ

A poem for when we feel lost and unheard by God.
God bless,
Morgan
 
“In his [Jesus’s] anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling to the ground.” (Luke 22:44 NRSV)
 
“The Bleeding Christ”
 
I follow the bleeding Christ
who did not get the deliverance He prayed for in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Stepping away from His last free moment,
He met the stab of betrayal.
He took the wound freely
and bled loss, despair, questions, pain, and humanity.
Hanging on the cross alone, He did not get His answers, and they say
the sun turned black.
I think I know what that looks like.
“What is resurrection?” I ask atop Golgotha.
 
Answers do not live on Golgotha but in the hard path forward.
On my way, I have found stubborn, fighting, compassionate, longing love
bursting from darkness to the clarity of life.
Passing on the passion, Christ rose from defeat into eternity in us.
 
I follow the bleeding Christ.
He carried on when He did not get answers, and so will I.
I follow because resurrection is the other side of my grave of pain.
Resurrection will be change. I will not be made again as I was before,
but I will be whole.
 
 
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The Bleeding Christ by Morgan Prettyman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Wings of the Spirit

When we can’t be with the ones we love, in good times and bad, I believe God connects us with His Spirit in powerful ways.
 
God bless,
Morgan
 

“Wings of the Spirit”
 
despite the years I could run down the street
    to find you, turn a corner and embrace you, now,
when it seems to matter most,
my feet can’t cross
     the miles and my hands can’t 
reach your face. 
Ground and water lie between, and we are
       connected by fragile 
               phone lines like threads of tinsel
       laying over dark evergreen. 
Bridging the wound of
            distance now is heaven’s gift of spirit. I swear to you
                that my soul knows wind and sky by name and has flown 
      your way to watch over you, wrap around you,
and whisper peace to you. Turn the corner in your heart
        and I am there.

 
 
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Wings of the Spirit by Morgan Prettyman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Breathe

Changes are always rolling our way. Some we know about, some we don’t. After Jesus had gone, the disciples waited for the promised coming of the Holy Spirit, God’s presence and power with them for all the times to come. They had gone through a lot of changes, and more were to come, but rather than ignoring or hiding from these changes, I noticed that they spent time praying (see Acts 1:12 – 2). This poem is about following the disciples’ example to pray about change and seek ways we can be transformed positively by it, as they were by the Holy Spirit when it arrived in wind and fire.
 
God bless,
Morgan
 
“Breathe”
 
we wait in the shadow
of the upper room.
We have been told that change
is coming again. I duck my head
and hold my breath.
 
pages from the past tell of
men who waited for change
in the upper room, but they
did not neglect the air they
needed. They
breathed
prayer.
 
I hear it coming now, a bellow
to rattle the fragile and the new
stones I assembled in the wake
of the last blow. At last I look up and
breathe
prayer.
 
It is here, a crash into my heart—
a shifting, a whirling, a pain.
I am not ready, but I am open now
to God’s Spirit, for when I learned to
breathe prayer in the waiting, I also learned
to speak in the wind. Standing in the blowing change,
I become a tongue of fire
and voice.
 
 
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Breathe by Morgan Prettyman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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