The Places I’ve Been

So I’ve been writing privately for a few years now, toying with the idea of sharing with the public my most vulnerable side.  Until recently, I’ve chosen to stay private.  But as is often the case, the more I kept my vulnerability to myself, the louder the internal voices became urging me to share it with the world (or at least my corner of the world).  Finally, I received a friendly push from a relative stranger to just go for it – to put myself out there no matter what the risks.  She encouraged me to truly embrace this gift and see where it takes me.  Her arguments were compelling and my resistance was futile.  So here I am… writing for you to judge or embrace my contributions.

So what made this relative stranger deliver this friendly push?  An assignment.  I was given the inspirational Dr. Suess book Oh the Places You’ll Go and was asked to read it and create something related to the book and where I was in my internal journey to excellence.  I’m about to share it with you.  But before I do, my reflex is to put a lot of caveats on the work – a littany of reasons why this work isn’t great.  I want to lay out all the reasons you should hate this maiden voyage into the literary world.  I want to give you the criticism in advance so you know that I KNOW there is work to be done.  Trust me, I know there is a lot of work to be done.  But in my efforts to grow, I’m not going to do any of that.  I’m only going to ask you to remember the assignment: To create something related to the book and where I am.

The Places I’ve Been

It started long ago, over 20 years to the day
When I graduated from high school and started on my way.
I went to college as most graduates do
I picked a school but had absolutely no clue
What I wanted to do; what I wanted to be
But a course for learning – college was for me

As graduation drew near a declaration of major was made
With no plan and no ideas, With my parents I stayed
I landed a job in an industry that worked well
I climbed the ladder and my resume swelled

I filled my days, my years, and my dreams
By taking each step in the right direction it seemed
A husband, 2 kids, a house and a dog I collected on the way
Too many blessings to count, too many roots to stray
From the path I was on, the path with no destination

Or is that true?  Do you know?
How can you tell?  Should you stay?  Should you go?
What path should I leave? What path should I take?
Or is there a path I should simply and purposely remake?

So many ways I could turn – left or right?
Do I have the strength, do I have the might?
The paths are parallel.  They also intersect.
At times they overlap, at times they dissect.

Are these the dark days? Is this the dark before the light?
So many questions but no answers in sight
I have my faith, I have my family
Am I running away? Or am I finding a place to stay?

Seek and you shall find – but how many questions do I ask
Can someone please tell me – what is my task?
Do I pick one thing to try and give it my all
Or do I try to launch them all?  What if I fall?

How many times can you fall? Does it matter?
What’s important is how you get up; after all there is no ladder
There are no easy answers.  There is no map
We each must decide when to embrace, when to retract

The qualities and gifts that makes us, well, us
Are the ones that we trip on and stumble and bust
All our thoughts and our dreams
Even our grandest of schemes

But maybe…..

The places I’ve been are the places I’ll go
And the places I’ll go are the places I’ve been
For each time around, you see different faces
You see in yourself a variety of places

Each place and each face has a special distinction
And without cycling around you can’t get the education
That you need to survive all the places you’ve been
Since the best part, is that there’s never an end

To this wonderful world, the things that we see
The things I can be – it’s all up to me
I must quiet the noises
Listen for the right voices

There’s no hurry to decide
To choose left or right
I have the strength, I have the might
I just have to close my eyes and take one step

Or maybe two steps, or maybe three
Or maybe it’s four that leads me to me
But no matter if it’s around the corner or maybe a mile
I know it when I see it, I just have to smile.

The places I’ll go are the places I’ve been
The places I’ve been are the places I’ll go!

1 Peter 4:10

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