Question mark

Written for the many people affected by disease and struggle, whether past or present. We are told “Be still and know I am God” (Psalm 46:10), but what does that look like?
 
 

“Question mark”
 
I see you staring at me, question mark, 
     like a scar on paper.
You aren’t the elegant, looped symbol
     I grew up practicing to read and write.
On the page you are written in six letters: c a n c e r.
 
I cannot forget you, 
                      escape you, 
                             or answer you 
        with a thousand distractions, 
                 a million miles, 
                     or a billion books.
I pray to understand, to fight the question, to erase the mark.
       But God has not answered or erased anything.
Instead God listens. He sits with me in waiting rooms, 
           holds the shaking reports in my hands, 
                and stays awake with me while I am staring at nothing. 
 
God just 
    is
       when I am afraid 
                          to be.
 
When the lights are out, 
         the treatments fail, 
            and the goodbyes sneak up on me,
all I have from God is: be still. Know I am God.
 
It is, in the end, my only answer
to the question mark.

 
 
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Question mark by Briana Batty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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Whose will be done?

To my country America, consider whose “Word” we are listening to right now. Consider what it sounds like—and what it ought to sound like instead.
 

“Whose will be done?”
 
You have heard it said I am a God of love and mercy, 
     but I say to you, rip the babies from their mothers 
          and bring them to me for proper salvation.
Truly I say to you, follow the law blindly and take no responsibility.
Blessed are the ones who live with closed hearts, and
     Blessed are they who misuse my name for fear and power,
         for theirs will be a snow-white country.
Love the Lord your God when it is convenient,
     and do unto others as you see fit.
And your mortal kingdom come, your will be done,
in America as it is in darkness.
Amen.

 
 
 
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Whose will be done? by Briana Batty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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.

The Last Photo

Grief is a long process and one that I wholeheartedly believe can only be endured with the love of the people around us. In their embraces, encouragement, quiet company, God is present and working to heal us. And when we are ready, God can also show us how to see a way forward.

God bless,
Morgan

“The Last Photo”

The moment snaps
like an old Kodak camera – click –
captured in the glare of a flash
on darkness. Your weakening breath and slack fingers
are imprinted in the silent cacophony of the end
I didn’t want.

I am holding old pictures in
a quiet house as disarray hangs
upon me, stealing direction.
Atop each photo of birthdays,
beach trips, and family vacations,
the last image of all perches
with black raven claws.

I am moving through albums,
and it takes me years to turn
pages. It takes the constant embrace
of love and perseverance to push
off the raven claws and teach
me how to hold my hands to
capture new moments.

I reach,
breathe out – click.
 
 
 
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The Last Photo by Morgan Waad is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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.

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.

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