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.

Advent #2, Winter Whispers

Holidays do not always bring comfort and joy, especially when the past year has held a loss in the family. To those who feel that pain this year, I pray peace for you and that you will be surrounded in love.
 
God bless,
Morgan
 
“Winter Whispers”
 
Winter blows in without sound.
Color has dropped into a brown carpet
on the wet roads as we gather, one less,
around meals and traditions and decorations.
Your voice was so much a part
of them that without it I’ve been tossed
into a black and white film where I
read the script on a title card. Tell me
what to say now that I am the voice
to fill mealtimes and give directions.
 
Snowfall buries the world with gray and quiet.
Staring out dark windows I take the time to
remember. Faint but true, you speak into
the moments I feared would stay empty and
raw. Snowfall brushes glass with white,
catches Christmas tree lights, whirls into prisms.
Perhaps in echoes and memory God
brings us closer to the great beyond
you crossed ahead of me.
 
 
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Winter Whispers by Morgan Prettyman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Lighthouse Path

This is a poem to those who are grieving, and the many who surround and support them. Together, we will walk our way to God’s peace.
 
God bless,
Morgan
 

“Lighthouse Path”
 
You tuck your pain behind brave smiles
      like a shattered window behind a curtain.
I’ve been looking, but I haven’t found words for you.
      I stand nearby feeling like a lighthouse
with a broken lamp. Meanwhile, you’re
         out in the black bay where I can’t reach.
You will make it to shore in time, and I will
         meet you on the sand. I still won’t have words,
but I saw the path through the wilderness from up
          in the lighthouse, and I can walk
beside you on the way home.

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

Love

A poem of reflection and hope for God at work in my life.
 
God bless,
Morgan
 
“Love”
 
In the past, I found it in a circle of arms
of a changing family,
in clasped hands
of frightened sisters,
in silent standing
with the grieving,
in lung-bursting laughter
with the joyful,
in whispered prayer
in the hurricane hours.
 
Now, I keep finding it
in unbreakable words and
unshakable truths,
when I open my eyes to
storms or sunrises,
in the firm, steady presence
of soul-bound friends and kin.
 
Tomorrow, I will find it
in my days, years, breaths, and tears,
in sky and in flight.
 
 
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Love by Morgan Prettyman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

River Rising

This poem was written a few months ago when I was doing mission work in the neighborhood where the 2015 Baltimore riots took place. This was the funeral of a young man who had been the 300th murder in that year. I lift this poem up as a call for peace and change in our times of pain and bloodshed.
 
God bless,
Morgan
 

“River Rising”
 
I come to an anonymous funeral
     by invitation.
I am a worker in the church,
        and do not know the dead.
the speaker in the pulpit is 
       a mighty boom of passion, pain, and sorrow
       with a resounding voice that rises in hope and volume at once
       in a declaration that shakes our hearts
into running waters where
         they fall and flow with the river 
         of gathered memories.
Together, black and white, we pray for rivers to run
        into seas of change where knives and guns
        do not fill our caskets with the young.
I did not know the dead,
        but I hear his cry.

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

Poured Out

This is a poem of love in the midst of pain, which I see in the many blood donors in Orlando. Written for the many grieving in that city.
God bless,
Morgan

Poured Out

As we reel from a new blow
We can make no sense of the blistering shock
But we turn our hearts to showing
That the blood we poured out
Is greater than the hate you threw down.
Wrapping that donor line around and around
Because we are blood brothers, blood sisters.
This flows strong in our veins, singing oneness,
Shouting down division with what is deepest.
We give where you took
And in the mile long lines and the memorials,
The candles, flags, and mourning songs,
Love is flying in an arc of colors:
Promise after the storm.

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

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