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.
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 Briana Batty 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
“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 Briana Batty 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
“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.
Creative Commons License
Winter Whispers by Briana Batty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.