Gifts come from unexpected places. Last week, one arrived in my mailbox. Not "the inbox,” but the mailbox by the curb. It was a gift of poetry from Marti McClure — a lady I have never met. After reading one of my columns, she sent a quote by Anne Lamott she thought I'd like. I liked it so much, I included it in my book. When I asked her to share some of her poetry with me, she graciously sent me a few — the gift I found in my mailbox. I have sat and held the pages in my hands and read and re-read, and I want to share some of her words that wrapped themselves around me. One poem was about grief. She referred to death as "a remarkable teacher. It broke the cocoon spun around me, almost broke me when I crawled out, crying, feeling a new kind of nakedness.” Yes … I know that feeling. And in the same poem, "You would be proud of me today. I am out of the fetal position, walking upright, laughing again.” It made me remember the day I realized that was going to be possible. Here are word pictures from some of her other poems: Memories are pictures the heart takes, stored forever, and ready for instant replay on the screens of our minds. There are times when sadness comes and dresses me without permission. Make notes of me before I pass. Write me down on small pieces of you. And a poem that jolted me — a poem titled "Ballgames”: Could we do better if we knew the number of our allotted hours? If we had a scoreboard telling us the innings played, strikeouts, home runs. If we knew each day how many timeouts we had left, how many hours remaining Would we be better players? Maybe. Maybe not. So we continue to let the clocks measure our hours, the calendars number out days and years. Then before we know it — time's up. Reading that poem reminded me of some lines written by my friend, Jim Chastain, in his book of poetry, "Like Some First Human Being.” These words are from the poem titled "Time.” If you could only grab it and hang on, buy a carton of the stuff, or slip some into your front pocket. If you could only reclaim that moment, revisit that stupid mistake, or swallow that unfortunate word. And from another of Jim's poems, "We get a certain amount of time on this earth and no more. How, then, do we let life become so predictable and mundane, allowing entire days to pass by without putting up a fight? Why do we say, "Let's not think about that,” then leave to fold the laundry? To Marti and Jim — for their gifts — thank you. Charlotte Lankard is a marriage and family therapist in private practice with Baptist Counseling Associates and director of the James L. Hall Center for Mind, Body and Spirit at Integris. E-mail her at email@example.com.