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Even Sunshine Burns If You Get Too Much

April 28, 2010

I found this poem in the Lawrence Journal-World sometime around my junior or senior year of high school. I’m sure I thought it applied to something going on in my life at the moment. Although, I can’t remember what. Aren’t all things in high school trivial? But it really meant something to me. So much so that I’ve kept this exact paper clipping for at least 17 years. It’s moved with me 15 times during those years (I moved 9 times one year due to occupational therapy clinicals.) I find it from time to time tucked away in an old journal or notebook, in between pages of my Bible or this time at the bottom of a drawer in my bedside table.

The overall message seems to be about the end of romantic love, but I think it is about to much more than that. I think it’s about things like friendship, insecurity, being unsure of a situation or just in believing in yourself instead of relying on other people for happiness. To me, it’s more about learning from everything you live through. Good or bad.

I always enjoy reading this poem again when I find it. I hope you will read it and it will appeal to you in some way as well.

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 open,
With the grace of a women, 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

And 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

That you really are strong

And you really do have worth

And you learn

And you learn

With every goodbye you learn.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Shannon April 28, 2010 at 11:55 pm

I typed that up and framed it for you about 15 years ago. I have a framed copy in storage as well.

Kami Reply:

Yep. You sure did. I still have it, too. Along with the broken “Tippy” and the topiary from your wedding. Haha.

2 Mom April 29, 2010 at 8:36 am

Ha, I was just thinking of that poem yesterday and was hoping I would find it. I used that poem in my SOP class and later in my PageMaker class. They had to include it in a newsletter :-) I wonder how many of them kept it.

3 Mandie April 29, 2010 at 6:36 pm

I cut the same poem out of an Ann Landers column in high school and it’s also made every move for the last 12 years. It’s still a favorite.

Kami Reply:

Thanks for your comment, Mandie. A friend and I were commenting earlier how this poem can really apply to anything in your life. When I was younger it was boyfriend stuff and now for me it is my upcoming cross-country move. For my friend it applies to her oldest child becoming close to moving out of the house. I’m pretty sure I’ll keep it with me for another 17 years. :)

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