After awhile you learn
the subtle difference
between holding a hand
and chaining the soul.
And you learn
that love doesn't mean leaning
and love 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 ahead
with the grace of a woman
not the grief of a child,
and to learn to build all your roads on today
because tomorrow's ground is
too uncertain for a plan
and futures have a way of falling down
in mid-flight.
After a while you learn
that even sunshine burns if you ask 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 good-bye
you learn.

-author unknown