This powerful poem is often attributed to Anonymous, one of the greatest writers of all time. So it’s a good thing that its actual author, Veronica Shoffstall, isn’t waiting for other people to give her accolades. Although its message is fitting for anyone at any time, being newly divorced at Christmas makes it especially poignant.

After a While

by Veronica Shoffstall

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 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
you really are strong
you really do have worth
and you learn
and you learn
with every goodbye, you learn…

I will be decorating my own soul on December 25 learning to use a camera that will definitely be under the tree by Christmas thanks to Amazon’s free Super Saver Shipping. My camera was broken, and a point-and-shoot with good options (my skill level) at half price was the first thing I saw when I opened my homepage the other day. I did a little investigation of its features, while remembering I hadn’t used any of the Christmas money I’d received last year, and I went for the credit card. I’m looking forward to jazzing up this blog with some decent pics and entering an amateur photography contest the beginning of the year.

My point is, if you’re no longer another adult’s most significant other adult, there will be big gaps your family and friends will be partially filling intermittently. Even if you are another adult’s most significant other, that’s no guarantee of anything, as many of us have learned the hard way. You need to be the consistent one. I mean, you can’t even trust Anonymous not to plagiarize, so don’t rely on others too much. You need to plan specific things for yourself. I could be in a scenario with a teen absorbed in her own world (normal teen behavior) on Christmas Day feeling sorry for myself that this isn’t the family life I’d envisioned.  Or I could enjoy the conversation she does give me, the phone calls with family and friends, the cards and gifts I receive, and the company of the consistent one.

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