After a while

My sister-in-law sent me a copy of this poem soon after we met 20+ years ago, after I went through some things. Over the years it has come back to me many times.

I have some friends who are going through some tough times in their lives – I just wanted to tell them that they are strong, they will continue to be strong, and that they can use this adversity as a learning experience, and turn it around for the good.

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 goodbye you learn.

Veronica A. Shoffstall


4 responses to “After a while

  1. About as subtle as a sledgehammer!

  2. OMG. I think I read that poem was first published in Sassy magazine in about 1989, because that’s the last time I remember seeing it.

  3. And, actually, I just found out now the real author is Jorge Luis Borges

  4. I love that poem. I cut it out of a Dear Abby column when I was much, much younger. Words to live by.

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