Today is Dr. Seuss’ 108th birthday.

Since I grew up thinking Dr. Seuss was actually a doctor, insisting that, in fact, a Zizzer-Zazzer-Zuz must have indeed at one time existed, considering it was documented in The Doctor’s ABC’s anthology (and, secretly, if the truth be known, I was always a little afraid the Zizzer-Zazzer-Zuz, even if it did try to come across as friendly–I wasn’t convinced)…here are five things I’ve learned from him.

-1-

Horton Hatches The Egg

It’s one thing to lay an egg, but another to faithfully endure until it hatches and finds its potential.

 “But it’s Mine!” screamed the bird, when she heard the egg crack.

(the work was all done. Now she wanted it back.)

“It’s my egg!” she sputtered. “You stole it from me!

Get off of my nest and get out of my tree!”

Poor Horton backed down

With a sad, heavy heart…

But at that very instant, the egg burst apart!

And out of the pieces of red and white shell,

From the egg that he’d sat on so long and so well,

Horton the Elephant saw something whizz!

It had Ears

And a Tail

And a trunk just like his!

And it should be, it should be, it should be like that!

Because Horton was faithful! He sat and he sat!

He meant what he said

And he said what he meant…”

…And they sent him home

Happy,

One hundred per cent!

This is an especially poignant lesson if you have ever been involved (or seen others who are involved)  in adopting children out of abusive situations.  There is this hope that these children, first neglected and left–sometimes to die–and then found, will someday emerge from their shells resembling the best of both sides of themselves–through the unselfish and often painful sacrifice of someone who has stepped in to be a literal savior–who has voluntarily taken on the burden and weight of someone else’s mistakes in order to love a child into having a chance at a beautiful life.

-2-

Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?

I am very lucky.

 It’s a troublesome world. All the people who’re in it

are troubled with troubles almost every minute.

You ought to be thankful, a whole heaping lot,

for the places and people you’re lucky you’re not!

…suppose that you lived in that forest in France,

where the average young person just hasn’t a chance

to escape from the perilous pants-eating-plants!

But your pants are safe! you’re a fortunate guy.

And you ought to be shouting, “How lucky am I!”

Sometimes, when I am having a particularly hard day, I remind myself that my pants are safe.  Somehow, just recalling the words and the picture of those pants-eating-plants makes me feel a wee bit better.

-3-

You’re Only Old Once

I’m in pretty good shape.

You’re in pretty good shape for the shape you are in.  –Dr. Seuss

And, you know, that’s coming from a doctor so it must be true!  I especially like to remember this lesson when I am feeling like I’d rather have lived my life in the green pastured mountains of Fotta-fa-Zee.

-4-

Oh Say Can You Say?

There is an end to the storm.

The storm starts when the drops start dropping. When the drops stop dropping, the storm starts stopping.

Only Dr. Seuss could come up with a somewhat comforting tongue twister.

-5-

On Beyond Zebra

There is always more and better if we see beyond the temporal.

And I said, “You can stop, if you want, with the Z.

Because most people stop with the Z.

But not me!!!

In the places I go, there are things that I see

That I never could spell if I stopped with the Z.

I’m telling you this ‘cause you’re one of my friends.

My alphabet starts where your alphabet ends!

If you stay home with Zebra,

You’re stuck in a rut.

But on beyond Zebra,

You’re anything but!

When you go beyond Zebra,

Who knows…?

There’s no telling

What wonderful things

You might find yourself spelling!

So you see!

There’s no end

To the things you might know,

Depending how far beyond Zebra you go!

The places I took him!

I tried hard to tell

Young Conrad Cornelius o’Donald o’Dell

A few brand-new wonderful words he might spell.

I led him around and I tried hard to show

There are things beyond Z that most people don’t know.

I took him past Zebra. As far as I could.

And I think, perhaps, maybe I did him some good…

Because, finally, he said:

“This is really great stuff!

And I guess the old alphabet

ISN”T enough!”

NOW the letters he uses are something to see!

Most people stop at the Z…

But not HE!

I feel like there are so many things “on beyond zebra” that I’ve experienced or witnessed in my life, and I am so happy that I am aware of that language beyond the alphabet–the language of memories and laughter and compassion and grief and the getting through it; the language of sacrifice, love, pain, and the overcoming of it…

There is something that happens when you know that language and you can see it when you look in someone’s eyes and you can feel that they know it, too.  It’s a beautiful language.  I hope to someday become fluent in the language of the letters beyond Z.

So, there are my five lessons for Five Things For Friday.  I hope you have a great weekend–and if you don’t, at least remember that your pants are safe and you’re in pretty great shape for the shape you are in.