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.

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Sky

For those grieving, here a poem about believing that we remain united in spirit and love.
 
God bless,
Morgan
 

“Sky”
 
the sky isn’t as simple as
     white against blue. Unstoppable wind
          churns simplicity into chaos.  
Staring into the rippling,
         building clouds, now gray-on-white, I
             realize I won’t see your face again. Invisible
             motion has claimed you.
 
In my deepest bones I know that
     clouds touch down in a fog on my world
                        and I will someday step out into it
                             to join their quiet blur.
your love will greet me there with
        all its caring, generous, laughing, and
            joyous spirit.
that spirit is what I miss the most, but here
     is the touch of blue on white and charcoal, 
     mixing into a gray palette. A soft touch.
There: the universe has painted us with one breath.
        On my aching days, I hear it blowing by.

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

today i grow

In God’s Word, He tells us (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, NIV): “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot….” In days of change, I pray we can remember the past ways, rejoice in the new ways, and bring love to all the stages of our lives.
 
God bless,
Morgan
 

“today i grow”
 
weeping my farewells
    I watch them cut her 
       branch by branch
down to her roots.
     I am not ready
          to see her shade stolen
          and her tangled arms
                  wave goodbye.
 
Yet, today I say farewell.
 
As she leaves, though, I must
       celebrate the new
    sapling 
            planted in her place.
in memory of her old limbs and
      knots and dappled days I
      know the skinny branches 
and fresh buds of
          twirling young flowers 
      are just
as precious as she.
  
     today I give welcome.
 
once upon a time
     eyes like mine must have watched 
her beginning:
     a seedling pale and green.
  A heart like mine
rejoiced at her growth and
    loved her in the early days
before she could shade others
   beneath years of slowly blooming wisdom.
 
In farewell, in welcome, in loving,
        today I grow. 

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

Below the Cross

I wrote this while reflecting on Christ’s sacrifice on Good Friday and His incredible strength and courage in the face of such pain and evil. By His grace, that strength is in us as well.

God bless,
Morgan

“Below the Cross”
 
for a mere moment
my eyes fall shut on the crowds below.
shouts and jeers rush into the darkness,
a surge of oily hatred.
I rally and force my bruised eyelids
back open and see a sea of enemies
that I love,
for whom I hang by
bloody wrists pinned to wood
by long, black nails.
 
they shove sponges of vinegar into
my parched mouth and bid me
save myself.
but oh, my little lost ones, I did not come
to save myself.
I cannot come down.
My mission looks bleak in the face of
hundreds of sharp eyes glaring from
the ground of the Skull.
i have walked among these people, healed
their sick, held their children, taught
their hearts truth,
but darkness stands tall and gruesome in this
late hour.
 
sagging, choking on my own weight and
the burdens one by one mounting on top
of my whipped shoulders with every call of
Crucify him I
keep my eyes open and
I tell you, children, though you cannot see
in the black hell you have summoned here,
I tell you I am stronger
than your malice and your fear.
for in losing all I have, I gain your freedom
by the name of grace abundant.
 
as you hear my dying cries, listen,
for I am crying that I love you.
Though in darkness you see me leave today
I will be back for you,
my little ones
at the foot of my cross.
 
 
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Below the Cross by Morgan Prettyman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Grief prayer

For the many people I know who have recently lost loved ones and for the many in mourning who I do not know.
 
God bless,
Morgan
 

“Grief prayer”
 
Today, for you who grieve a passing
       or a passing soon to come,
I pray that the comfort of God
    be with you, nestled around your aching heart:
        an embrace and a whisper that beckons memory
     of joys, lessons, wisdom,
         bright eyes, loud laughter, and precious time.
 
May these final moments be richly filled with 
      hands held, tears shed,
         and songs sung.
  May there be arms around
      your shaking shoulders.
 
I pray you will speak, hear, and cherish
   both the vulnerable words and the brave words,
        trembling and true: 
        heart-spoken.
 
At this passing of life, stand still. Feel
      the wings of a beloved soul
           brush you on its way by.

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