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.

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

Reminders

This is a poem for my mom, who taught me so much about what love is. This was written for Mother’s Day the year she moved to Arizona.
God bless,
Morgan
 
“Reminders”
 
as you step onto the desert way,
you leave lessons
like painted handmade beads
I string into deepest memory.
 
They are reminders:
to love all the people around me,
no matter what they look like
or who they are,
to keep an open home,
dig deep roots of faith,
fear no doubts,
always ask questions
and know where
to look up the answers,
to ask forgiveness
and to give it,
find good stories
and live them,
be myself,
strive for my dreams,
seek adventure,
keep learning, and
to stand up,
stand strong.
 
The spun threads through each
reminder gleam timeless silver:
your pride in me
your welcoming arms
your overflowing love
 
 
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Reminders by Morgan Prettyman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Wings Will Come: Journey – Part 14 “The house will fill again”

This poem is about the first day my brother and I were alone in the family house, which we would be renting from our parents as they moved to Arizona. It was a surreal day, but we promised ourselves that however empty the house felt now, we would work to fill it with the same love and hospitality that our parents had in their many years there. Sometimes God asks us to stay behind to be the new light.
 
Next week, I conclude the story of my family’s move and God’s goodness in the change in the fifteenth poem of my collection, “Wings Will Come: Journey.”
 
God bless,
Morgan
 
“The house will fill again”
The first day
 
hello, empty house.
we do not want to face you yet
but here we are.
 
we come back from the airport
confused, just waiting
to see Dad at his office desk
working too early already
or Mom bent over her sewing machine.
every hour is another rain shower,
but we push through.
 
we build and move,
and pray and learn.
 
the house will fill again.
 
together, brother to sister,
we promise that we will
keep the invisible spirit of the house
alive: open doors and safe haven,
a legacy of hospitality our family
embedded into the foundation
of our house and our hearts.
 
Come to the nest
where we keep safe
as we learn our wings.
 
 
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The house will fill again by Morgan Prettyman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Wings Will Come: Journey – Part 10 “Phone Line”

My parents and grandfather moved out to Arizona in stages, and my dad was the first to leave. The first few weeks without him were surreal, but reality settled in slowly but surely, and the separation seemed enormous. Looking back on that time, though, I am now able to see that God continued to connect and sustain my family despite the new distance between us.
 
Next week, I continue the story of my family’s move and God’s goodness in the change in the eleventh poem of my collection, “Wings Will Come: Journey.”
 
God bless,
Morgan
 

“Phone Line”
To Dad
 
You leave first.
on a sunny summer morning
     we stand at the top of
     our driveway, your Prius packed
         to bursting for your journey.
I pretend you’re leaving on
       a business trip
     or a vacation.
I pretend you’ll be right back.
 
then you’re sending pictures
    of the new house,
telling us about your day
     across a phone line.
I desperately fill in the distance with 
      shovelfuls of it’s not really happening.
 
but when it’s not really happening
   suddenly becomes it is
my strong front crumbles
       into rainfall.
 
Change can be ignored
     but transformation consumes.
When pretending runs dry
     I look for deeper waters
that will sustain.
 
The phone line and the pictures
     tutor me, one on one,
that I have focused on the divide
       and not the connection.
God does not make the miles
      between us shrink, 
      but He shows me that our bonds
                       are growing and stretching
              along highways to unknowns
       and don’t come untied.

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

Wings Will Come: Journey – Part 8 “Crossing”

This poem describes the night that we emptied all manner of furniture, tools, and other household items out of my grandfather’s house into two storage units, a task that had to be done that night due to schedules and availability of the family. It was hectic, with carloads of items to take to the units before the place closed at 10 pm. Looking back, it reminds me a bit of the crossing of the Red Sea story in Exodus 14 – a rush across a sea of unknowns in a time of great change.
 
In the midst of that stressful dash, my mom and I sang praise songs in the car ride, and for a moment the impossibility faded as we remembered our God and His power and love that was greater than our troubles. It’s a reminder I continue to need and often look back to.
 
Next week, I continue the story of my family’s move and God’s goodness in the change in the ninth poem of my collection, “Wings Will Come: Journey.”
 
God bless,
Morgan
 
“Crossing”
Preparations
 
afternoon blurs into dusk
as we tape, wrap, box, disassemble, and
carry a collection of a lifetime.
the curator watches with a breaking
heart. the sweet and acrid blend of old
pipe smoke hovers around me
in a cloud of memory.
 
my grandfather’s house is a
monument in my mind, as fixed
as its keeper. but now
it, too, moves: a parting sea
in the journey to new places,
and like Your ancient people,
he is afraid to cross.
 
movement rushes us, dragging
us, our fear, and the collection into
dashes to a storage unit
that closes at 10 pm.
every circle back for more, the clock
squeezes time tighter.
 
impossibility will not be our master:
windows rolled all the way down in
humid sunset air, my mother and I
cry out to You in song, as loud as we can
over our turmoil as we drive in
darkness.
 
we remember that You give
dry ground for the crossing and that
we are in the keeping
of a Spirit who moves
and a Man who shepherds.
 
 
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Crossing by Morgan Prettyman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Wings Will Come: Journey – Part 4 “For now”

My mom started packing as soon as my dad accepted the job offer that would take my parents and my grandfather across the country to Arizona. The transition from the old status quo of the house to “Box World” was a constant reminder of the change happening around me, and it retaught me a lesson I thought I’d known: the home with which God blessed me is not in the building, but in the people by whom I have always been surrounded with love and grace.
 
Next week, I continue the story of my family’s move and God’s goodness in the change in the fifth poem of my collection, “Wings Will Come: Journey.”
 
God bless,
Morgan
 
“For now”
To Mom
 
each time I step
into another room of the house,
another familiar piece is
missing. your hands move quickly,
snatching the clutter of knick-knacks
off shelves and tabletops. When I blink,
the statues and ornaments and little
pictures have vanished into packing paper
and cardboard boxes.
 
it is this piecemeal transition that tricks me.
I prop up yet on
my heart in an open locket I know
I’ll have to give away someday.
 
as the boxes pile higher over the furniture,
shadowing windows and the old ways,
I realize no knick-knack matters,
the boxes become the new familiar
because it is you and your love and
generosity that fill the house,
covering boxes and empty shelves.
you are still home
for now.
 
 
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For now by Morgan Prettyman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.