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.

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

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Bakerwoman God

This poem was inspired by a list of “Images of God” from Schaffran and Kozak’s book “More Than Words” and my pastor, Rev. Palmer’s, insights on the image.

God bless,
Morgan
 
“Bakerwoman God”
 
the bakerwoman knows
it’s work to make what’s good
on earth
 
it’s a long afternoon baking
in the kitchen heat to fill the house
with warm scents of fresh
bread like a welcome-home hug
when you walk through the door
 
it wears out arms and cramps wrists
to knead flour and eggs and yeast
together, and it takes
long-practiced hands to know when
dough is right for its transformation
 
it takes patience and good eyes
to see a sticky mix through the baking
to the golden conclusion
 
it’s wisdom to know where to send
the bread and to know who needs
its energy and comfort
 
it’s abundant love to give it
away and abundant joy to watch
the loaf feed love to thousands
 
it’s work to make what’s good
on earth,
the bakerwoman knows
 
 
Reference:
Schaffran J, Kozak P. Images of God in: Schaffran J, Kozak P. More than words: prayer and ritual for inclusive communities. Meyer Stone Books: Oak Park, IL; 1998. p27.
 
Creative Commons License
Bakerwoman God by Morgan Prettyman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Diverge

This poem is about thankfulness in hard times of change.

God bless,
Morgan

"Diverge"

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.

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