After a While… Veronica Shoffstall

Ran across this poem again today. I remember holding onto it with dear life a few years ago, hanging on each word, after my world came crashing down. When a friend shared it with me back then, this poem was my rock – I read it everyday to remind me that life was still worth living and that life wouldn’t end just because I had failed. Today, I read it with the gratitude that I failed because I learned so much from those failures and disappointments. I learned about the suffering caused by attachments and aversions, and about how resilient I truly was, in the face of adversity. And I am so utterly grateful that, through all of it, I learned to decorate my soul.

After a While… Veronica 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,
you really are strong, you really do have worth,
and you learn and you learn.
With every goodbye, you learn.