The Gift

by Chandra Tyler Mountain

I talked to God about all the things
I’d been holding:
The mother who lost her child to police violence.
The mother who lost her child unexpectedly. 
My son—
He’s not perfect, 
but will he always be good?
My mother 
spending her later years
without my father
after 64 years—a lifetime for some.
My friend who lost her mother
one year after her father.
How does she walk the earth 
with no parents
I have yet to learn how to walk without one.

How do we breathe and move
With the burden of so much grief?

And how do I make sense of the madness of the world
when I have yet to make sense of the chaos in my life?
What do I do with the questions that wake me up in the hollow of night?
The anxieties that meet me in the morning?
The fears that my thoughts are taking me captive
and they will win?
What to do or how to save
a world of others tortured 
by their own demons?

He listened quietly,
and held me close—
the way a Mother holds a child,
firmly in her being.
Then, He asked me for a gift. 
Unusual. I thought.
No one asks for a gift.

He asked me to let them go—
all the creature comforts of my fears
and give them to Him.
He wanted them
and I, He said, no longer had use for them.

One by one I examined them.
They seemed such petty gifts for the Owner
of countless cattle on a thousand hills.
But He asked.
Who am I to refuse?

I packaged each with care and pretty—
turning them this way and that,
wrapping them in the priceless tears
of a worn-out heart
already feeling the giddiness of letting go.
I held on not a moment longer
and poured the pile into His open palms.
He smiled broadly as He carried my load
out of sight and mind. 

It was then that I understood why
I’ve always enjoyed giving gifts...

Chandra Tyler Mountain is an English professor at a small liberal arts university. When she is not with her guys, in class or her sunflower-brightened office, she is usually roaming, camera in hand, shooting beauty and inspiration, or sitting quietly in the shade of a tree drawing flowers. She writes poetry, inspiration, and creative non-fiction. She maintains a blog about snail mail, photography, and the beautiful facts of life at  She also shares pieces from a forthcoming collection of the poetry of her youth on Instagram.

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