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

Hammer blow

A poem for those facing troubles with health for yourself or a family member.
 
God bless,
Morgan
 

Hammer Blow
 
Hello, hammer blow, 
  visiting again, iron to my
      glued-together glass. I scoop together
my pieces and look up weakly. It hangs
            overhead in shadow, its cold metal
a brewing storm. My eyes fix 
       on the invisible weight that might fall
       from the doctor’s lips. 
Then I 
     stand up. 
Fall what may, grace 
       shields my glittering soul and
           arms of the Spirit hold my fragility.
I wait in trust.

 
 
Creative Commons License
Hammer blow 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.

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

Rooms

With God’s grace and strength, we do not have to be frozen in fear, hurt, and anger for ourselves and our brothers and sisters. Let us take action in our broken world.
 
God bless,
Morgan
 
“Rooms”
 
Fire is blowing and here
I am knowing I must move.
Before me there is a house
where crimson chews on the walls
until they fall in, their gaping wounds glowing
in a furnace of war.
 
I must move.
 
the fire has been set—it can’t be rewound
like an old VHS. This film only rolls forward.
But while the drama unfolds,
I am caught staring. So many windows cracking,
so many rooms burning, so many cries rising.
The answer is rescue, but I cannot choose a room.
There are too many, this is too much.
 
I must move.
 
Will I say years from now that my master was
indecision and my chains were indifference?
Apathy floods these onlookers
like poison gas. I could breathe it
in and float, aimless, in my own mind as darkness
takes us, as I wonder: which room?
 
I move.
 
I will pick one room, you pick another, and you
still another. We will pull hope out
of the flames.
 
We must move.
 
 
Creative Commons License
Rooms 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.
 
 
Creative Commons License
Breathe by Morgan Prettyman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Advent #4, Wandering King

One frequently debunked Christmas tale is the timing of the three wise men’s (or three kings) arrival. According to Matthew Chapter 2, they weren’t there on Christmas night when Jesus was born. I reflected on how this story could bring hope to people who are grieving or going through troubled times, people who haven’t been able to get into the “Christmas spirit” expected at this time of year. If the wise men didn’t arrive on Christmas but still were fulfilled by Christ’s presence in the end, then we can rest in knowing we will arrive at healing and peace in our own time, and that’s okay.
 
God bless,
Morgan
 
“Wandering King”
 
She is one of three kings wandering through
deserts of questions. Her mount is grief, laden
down with bags full of dried up prayers. Her gift
is the myrrh of burial.
Despite the miles she’s gone, she will miss
that big moment, miss
the joy and wonder and light on that night
of songs and miracles.
Advent and journey is all to her.
The road teaches her not to arrive
on time, but to arrive. She is one
of three kings, and her time is not the birth,
but afterward, in the growth to follow.
 
 
Creative Commons License
Wandering King by Morgan Prettyman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Previous Older Entries