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Shel Silverstein Lied

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Where’d You Grow Wednesday Thursday?

This week I grew frustrated with the reality of relationships.

April 5, 2012

I used to believe Shel Silverstein… I don’t know if I can anymore.

I bought in to his magical world full of hilarious drawings and ridiculous circumstances.  I loved it. I loved him. I loved his use of words and imagery, his fantastic art and wit, and I would read his poems for hours.

I recieved my first Shel Silverstein books for my seventh birthday.  Look…here’s the inscription:

A Light in the Attic and Where the Sidewalk Ends were my first real literary experiences.  I didn’t study what he did…but I sure did feel something when I read his work.

One poem, in particular, has always stayed with me.  It is that poem that contains the lie.

Did you catch it? You know the lie I’m talking about, right?

It’s the last couplet:  “How much love inside a friend? Depends how much you give ‘em.”

I used to read that line over and over and over again. I marked up the page with smudgy fingerprints and the binding is visibly tattered. I have fabricated my life around that line and up until recently, I really believed it to be true.

I’m growing in another direction.

That poem has its place…among children…and it is important that I outgrow my seven-year-old ideologies to come to a better understanding of how to relate to the broken people of the world.

Love doesn’t really work the way Silverstein describes. As much as I’ve tried to pour out my love into the relationships in my life, I have come to realize that sometimes it doesn’t matter how much you give the people you love. Love has to be received in order to be effective.

So here is the grown-up version of “How Many, How Much” that has been swirling in my head this week.

How many times should I ask how you’re doing,

when silence is what you say?

How many hugs should I stand to offer,

when you get up to walk away?

How much time should I spend,

waiting for a call to come?

How much love should I pour out,

when I’m not sure you’ve taken some?

In my version, I can’t answer the questions in a definitive way. Love is too hard to box up in a neat little poetic package. I love that Silverstein captured it for my seven-year-old heart, but I have to understand relationships with an adult-frame-of-mind, and I’m finding more confusion and frustration than warm, fuzzy feelings.

The only way I make sense of this is through the truest example of love I know.

Easter is this weekend, and we celebrate the most sacrificial love that has ever been.

What if I loved like Him?

I think my poem would be drastically different. I wouldn’t be asking questions at all. I wouldn’t be quantifying or counting anything, and all I would do is continue to offer. It’s about semantics, but I want to move to a new way of thinking about this. So my fully transfigured poem and my Easter gift to you:

If I ask you how you’re doing, and silence is what you say,

I. will. fully. love. you. anyway.

If I stand to offer hugs, and you walk the other way,

I. will. fully. love. you. anyway.

While I’m waiting for a call to come, to put my fears at bay,

I. will. fully. love. you. anyway.

And though I loved you yesterday and you forgot today

I. will. fully. love. you. anyway.

Choosing to grow takes intention, and it is worth sharing about the experience along the way.  If you have a CTG (choosing to grow) story, link, photo, or idea, I would love to hear about it.

We are all meant to grow…but we were not meant to do it alone.

Happy Easter! (and happy growing)

Copyright 2012    Meagan Frank                                            Choosing to Grow

 
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Posted by on April 5, 2012 in Where'd you Grow

 

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