Without You I Wouldn’t Have Tried

Thank You” Attributed to Jesse Owens

To those of you who laughed at me, thank you.
Without you I wouldn’t have cried.

To those of you who just couldn’t love me, thank you.
Without you I wouldn’t have known real love.

To those of you who hurt my feelings, thank you.
Without you I wouldn’t have felt them.

To those of you who left me lonely, thank you.
Without you I wouldn’t have discovered myself.

But it is to those of you who thought I couldn’t do it;
It is you I thank the most,
Because without you I wouldn’t have tried.

Paul Harvey wrote…

I hope you learn humility by being humiliated, and that you learn honesty by being cheated. I hope you learn to make your own bed and mow the lawn and wash the car.

And I really hope nobody gives you a brand new car when you are sixteen.

It will be good if at least one time you can see puppies born and your dog put to sleep. I hope you get a black eye fighting for something you believe in.

I hope you have to share a bedroom with your younger brother. And it’s all right if you have to draw a line down the middle of the room, but when he wants to crawl under the covers with you because he’s scared, I hope you let him.

When you want to see a movie and your little brother wants to tag along, I hope you’ll let him. I hope you have to walk uphill to school with your friends and that you live in a town where you can do it safely.

On rainy days when you have to catch a ride, I hope you don’t ask your driver to drop you two blocks away so you won’t be seen riding with someone as un-cool as your Mom.

If you want a slingshot, I hope your Dad teaches you how to make one instead of buying one. I hope you learn to dig in the dirt and read books. When you learn to use computers, I hope you also learn to add and subtract in your head.

I hope you get teased by your friends when you have your first crush on a girl, and when you talk back to your mother that you learn what ivory soap tastes like.

May you skin your knee climbing a mountain, burn your hand on a stove and stick your tongue on a frozen flagpole. I don’t care if you try a beer once, but I hope you don’t like it. And if a friend offers you dope, I hope you realize he is not your friend.

I sure hope you make time to sit on a porch with your Grandpa and go fishing with your Uncle. May you feel sorrow at a funeral and joy during the holidays.  I hope your mother punishes you when you throw a baseball through your neighbor’s window and that she hugs you and kisses you at Christmas time when you give her a plaster mold of your hand.

These things I wish for you – tough times and hard work, disappointment and happiness. To me, it’s the only way to appreciate life. 

All these lessons have not been mine to claim, but the majority has been contained in my life experience.  Only from the vantage point of over five decades can I realize how important and meaningful difficult lessons these lessons are.  My resilience, determination and ability to recover from anguish, heartache and grief are based largely in the simple life teachings above.  By knowing the darkest of dark days my soul was softened, my heart made gentle and my spirit made tender.  My gratitude overflows

 I am learning all the time. 
The tombstone will be my diploma. 
Eartha Kitt

4 thoughts on “Without You I Wouldn’t Have Tried

  1. I have never met you. This morning, I googled up Shinbone Valley and came across a blog you did in 2011 about Willis Johnson. My dad is Roger Strickland, and we are apparently very related. You write VERY well. I enjoyed Shinbone boys, but I really love the one I just read – Tribute to Jesse Owens. Thanks for writing.

  2. Lovely post with reminders from some of my favorite people…or I should probably say people I have admired. I respect people of resilience, and as you describe your own journey, you do exhibit resilience. We need more reminders of how that quality supports a good life. Not an easy life, but a good life. The two are surely not always synonymous. Blessings, Debra

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