After a While

After a While

From Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul

After a While

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 an adult, 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.

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 good-bye you learn. .

Veronica A. Shoffstall
written at age 19

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