Monday, May 9, 2011

May 9 Veronica A. Shoffstall

About the time I was in middle school, I read the following poem by Veronica A. Shoffstall in Dear Abby or Ann Landers.  It has stayed with me all these years, with a phrase popping into my mind every now and then.  The part that I'm living these days begins with the line "So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul." 


Whether in the gym or in a doctor's waiting room or a backyard gathering, I'm learning to hold my head up, my eyes ahead.  I'm learning that my successes don't justify petty behavior toward me in others.  I'm learning how my body works and how my mind works.  I'm finding the courage to be quiet, and the situations in which I should speak up.


And this morning when a couple machines at the Y stopped working, it was me who figured out how to get them going again. 


I could spend a week going over this poem, and maybe I'll call some of my friends and ask them to join me in doing so.  But for now, I just want to share it.




After A While, by Veronica A. Shoffstall

After a while you learn
The subtle difference between
Holding a hand and chaining a soul
And you learn that love doesn't mean leaning
And company doesn't always mean security.
And you begin to learn
That kisses aren't contracts
And presents aren't promises
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes ahead
With the grace of a woman
Not the grief of a child
And you learn
To build all your roads on today
Because tomorrow's ground is
Too uncertain for plans
And futures have a way
Of falling down in mid flight
After a while you learn
That even sunshine burns if you get too much
So you plant your own garden
And decorate your own soul
Instead of waiting
For someone to bring you flowers
And you learn
That you really can endure
That you are really strong
And you really do have worth
And you learn and you learn
With every good bye you learn.

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