“After awhile you learn the subtle difference
between holding a hand and chaining a soul
and you learn that love doesn’t mean possession
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 ahead with the grace of an adult not the grief of a child.
And you learn to build your roads today
because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans
and futures have ways of falling down in mid-flight.
After awhile 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 really are strong
and you really do have worth
and you learn
and you learn…”
Veronica A. Shoffstall