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Read This Powerful Poem from a Grieving LDS Missionary

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This was the last poem I would ever write, I was sure of it.

It was penned with bright purple ink and rage. The words spilled out of me faster than I could comprehend them. When it was done, I thought it was a poem from the other side and from deep inside.

My soul was trying to tell me something; heaven’t wasn’t just whispering to me. It was using this poem as an urgent plea.

Some context. It was a sun-ripened July. I was in California as a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I hadn’t seen my family for nine months. I knew my step-father had been in a car accident. The last email I received said he was doing better.

Then, before I could even contemplate another outcome, he wasn’t. He was dead. Along with him went everything I thought I knew about God. In the immediate aftermath of his death, God wrote this poem through me. As I completed the remaining nine months of my missionary service, I turned to this poem often as I swung sharply between torment and bliss.

It’s sacred, a glimpse into my darkest agony and what God spoke to me in comfort. I wasn’t able to write another poem my entire mission. I wasn’t able to write anything for years after. For a very long time, I thought it was the last beautiful thing I had in me to express. Since that time, I’ve found the words inside me to continue writing, but I will always cherish this simple poem as a gift from God.

The Garden

Past all the walls of cruel stone
A garden humbly lies
Kept within, above the din
Are heard my strangled cries

It is my place of mourning
The air laced thick with pain
Up ahead the clouds are dead
Withering without rain

Underneath my garden’s trees
With bark as white as bone
I am found upon the ground
So anguished and alone

I clench the grass in my hands
I wrench in gnarled form
Here I’ll be where none can see
Just how my soul is torn

Is there none to comfort me
But one who’ll venture near
Past my walls when torment calls
There is no hope left here

With sweeping desolation
My garden becomes still
My labored breath hums of death
Reflecting my failing will

But as my end approaches
And my eyes start to dim
The wind swells and softly tells
He is coming, it is Him

In my garden someone’s come
He lays down at my side
I was here, He whispers clear
Before I was crucified

In thy lowly suffering
With gall to quench thy thirst
It was I sent forth to die
To face this garden first

And though for now it seems yours
This hallowed spot is mine
For I plead with sinking head
Father, not my will, but thine

Silence lingers between us
Then my soul starts to sing
Weak and slow, but then it grows
For what His garden brings

It will be but a short time
That I am asked to stay
But I’ll raise my voice in praise
That I could walk this way

In my Savior’s garden
When the hour becomes late
I’ll rise up, He’ll take my cup
And lead me out the gate

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Aleah Ingram
Aleah Ingram
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.

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