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.

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.

You are Hiding

I dedicate this poem to my fellow women, with hope. Never forget that the light of the world dwells in us and we can use it to challenge the darkness.
 
God bless,
Morgan
 
“You are Hiding”
 
You are hiding.
I know this because when you were a girl
you were a blossom of creativity, a lively brook of dreams.
You spun worlds out of color and endless ideas.
 
Your path to your full potential
did not last.
You listened to fear’s senseless whisper, you dropped your flame.
Though your talent bleeds like sunrise through your skin
you covered yourself in cloaks and learned to shuffle in gray shoes.
 
You are hiding.
I watch you at arm’s length, unsure what I could say
to help you throw off the muted world you wear.
The best I come to is this:
Do not fear what you could be.
Fight for it. Love it. Love yourself.
Loving yourself is a risk, for all love is dangerous,
but all love comes from God and therefore it can look deeper,
touch our tender bones, and bring out the joy that birthed creation.
We are bearers of future.
Do not hide.
 
I am waiting.
You know this because I stand nearby
never ready to give up my hope,
sister, mother, daughter, woman.
 
 
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You are Hiding 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.

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.

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