Graph Paper

A month or two ago I ran out of notebook paper and started using graph paper instead. Graph paper isn’t my favorite alternative, but it was available. Over time, I have come to enjoy the little squares and how nicely they can be used as check boxes or make patterns. This is great for organization, but I started thinking about how we use mental “graph paper” boxes and categories in our own lives and how dangerous that is to our faith and our ability to fully love. If we let ourselves, we might think we have people and places all figured out. Jesus didn’t live like that, though, and neither should we. To love our neighbors as ourselves, check boxes have to go.
 
God bless,
Morgan
 
“Graph paper”
 
This is a sheet of graph paper
with perfect crisscrossed lines
and hundreds of useful boxes.
Draw on it and see how neat and tidy everything is.
The world makes sense.
 
A child came and scribbled lopsided circles
and lumpy-looking hearts all over everything in crayon.
He looked up at me and said, Look, I drew God.
 
 
 
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Graph paper 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.

Green Times

Never stop praying and working for this day: “The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.” (Isaiah 11:6)
 
God bless,
Morgan
 
 
“Green times”
 
A little boy with a red t-shirt and dark hair
climbs the gigantic old gun from the war,
fingers gripping bolts and sneakers squeaking on protruding metal corners
of this museum piece tucked in white concrete barracks
clustered inside a state park.
the boy swings from the long barrel back and forth,
curious and carefree, then drops into the grass and sprints away.
 
 
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Green times by Morgan Prettyman 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.

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