After a While You Learn

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 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 open

With the grace of a man or 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 midflight.

After a while you learn that even sunshine

burns if you get too much.

So 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 really are strong,

And you really do have worth.

And you learn and you learn

With every goodbye you learn.

- Veronica A. Shoffstall

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