You’ll never believe the things I’ve seen in the 19 years I’ve lived.
The sunset over the Grand Canyon, casting shadows upon caverns, painting the world around me orange and purple,
The sunrise over the dunes of White Sands National park,
The sparkle of the ocean in the sunlight,
The shadows through the branches of pines and evergreens,
The majesty of deer grazing in the early morning,
The fairylike twinkle of lightning bugs in the fields.
I’ve seen mountains and valleys.
I’ve swum in oceans and lakes.
I’ve jumped on trampolines, crashed bikes, shot hoops, and run miles.
I’ve gone off the high dive, belly flopped, and gone down waterslides.
The wind has wiped through my hair as I leaned out car windows and sunroofs.
I’ve devoured books and published poetry.
I’ve worked with senators and mechanics.
I’ve fallen in love and broken my heart.
I watched a child receive his first pair of new shoes and I’ve seen a man breathe his last breath.
I felt the firm grasp of a child’s hand around my finger and seen the quivering lip that follows skinned knees and bruised elbows.
I’ve had tents cave in under the pouring rain and I’ve searched for the elusive marshmallow tree.
I’ve woken up with the smell of campfires clinging to my hoodies, and felt the squish of mud in my toes.
I’ve seen Mexico and Canada and floated past the crashing water of Niagra Falls.
I’ve seen mummies, paintings, and dinosaur bones in countless museums.
I’ve seen the lights of Vegas, the peace of the country, driven over the Hoover Dam, and hugged Mickey Mouse.
I’ve been to concerts, carnivals, theme parks, and war sights.
I’ve gone on my first date, held my first hand, and stood waiting anxiously in an airport waiting for my soldier to come home.
I’ve held my brother as he cried and my sister as she slept.
I’ve had uncontrollable bouts of laughter and shed silent tears.
I’ve let people down, lifted others up, and left many many more unchanged by my presence in their lives.
I’ve sat on city buses, airplanes, trains, cars, snowmobiles, horses, elephants, camels, and scooters.
I’ve broken bones, needed stitches, and screamed through vaccinations.
I’ve given blood, seen the Rocky Mountains, and eaten fried alligator.
I’ve had sleepless nights and all day naps.
I’ve built snowmen, bitten my cousin’s butt till she bled, and watched my mom run over a vulture.
I’ve seen my mom cry and I’ve seen her laugh till she couldn’t breathe,
I’ve seen my daddy beam with pride and scowl with disbelief.
I’ve played video games till my eyes dried out and had indoor campouts with my baby brother.
I’ve paid my tithe, questioned religion, and felt the peace of God.
I’ve smelled flowers and gone on midnight drives to nowhere.
I’ve blown out speakers and tires.
I learned to play an instrument and draw elephants.
I’ve given up on dreams and planted new ideas.
I’ve swung on porch swings and had long talks about depression.
I’ve sat in funeral homes and watched everyone I love break down.
And yet with all this, there are those who say I’m losing my lust for adventure, my need for speed, my passion for life.
Others have told me I’ve last my passion and direction.
But for once in my life the fire in my heart blazes steadily. Contentedly.
It keeps me warm and trudging forward.
Because as long as there is a God who hears my prayers, a mom who answers my calls, a friend to sing along in the car, sunflowers growing, muddy boots stomping, and guitars playing,
I will laugh, I will cry, I will dance, and offer a hug.
I’m no longer just surviving…