After awhile 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 understand that kisses aren't contracts
And presents aren't promises,
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head held high and your eyes wide open.
With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child.
You learn to build your roads on today,
Because tomorrow's ground is too uncertain for plans,
and futures have a way of falling down in midflight.
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 learn...and you learn
With every goodbye you learn.
(Veronica A. Shoffstall)