You've probably read this poem before. It was there on my screen as I was cleaning up my desktop. I tried to learn a little more about the author, Veronica Schoffstall but nothing else popped up about her, other than her wonderful poem.
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 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 and 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 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 with every goodbye you learn.
It has the same impact every time I read it, and I've been reading it for years. Love's expectations and intensity bring us hard-earned wisdom.
Then, we get older. Veronica's message still resonates, but by now we've said many more goodbyes. We've grown our gardens, watered them well and picked our flowers. When seasons were good, we gave away our vegetables and flowers and watched as others enjoyed them. Giving away our harvest became the purpose of growing a garden in the first place.
And we basked in the sun, possibly longer than we should because it was there and we were there, and we recognized it might not greet us tomorrow.
We learned to stand on our own and blaze a trail for ourselves, with a less certain stride but with stronger resolve. When we sometimes leaned on others, they sometimes leaned back. And that made it ok, even precious.
We feel grateful for the lessons along the way that brought us to this place, wherever it is. And on those days when we feel a little hand reach for ours, or peer into soft eyes that love us more than we ever loved ourselves, we know it's been more than worth it.
Because after a while, we became grandparents.