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)…
…in commemoration of his birth, here are five lessons I learned from him:
1. It’s one thing to lay an egg, but another to faithfully endure until it hatches and finds its potential.
Poor Horton backed down
With a sad, heavy heart…

Horton Hatches The Egg


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!
 
2. I am very lucky.

Did I Ever Tell You...


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.
 

You're Only Old Once


3. I’m in pretty good shape.
From the book “You’re Only Old Once”:

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.
 

Oh Say Can You Say?


4. 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 that teaches us to remember the hard times come, but they also “start stopping.”
 


5. There is always more and better if we see beyond what is only visible to the eye.
And I said, “You can stop, if you want, with the Z.
Because most people stop with the Z.

On Beyond Zebra


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…?
So you see,
There’s no end
To the things you might know,
Depending how far beyond Zebra you go!
I feel like there are so many things “on beyond zebra” that I’ve experienced or witnessed in my life, and I am so glad to be 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 thing.  I hope to someday become fluent in the language of the letters beyond Z.
Thank you, Dr. Seuss. And to all the Goodness Matters readers: 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.