Dr. Seuss Spirituality?! Why Not?

Oh, The Places You'll Go!

Reading is my second greatest passion, surpassed only by my love of writing.  One of my favorite ways to pass my free time is wandering aimlessly through a bookstore, searching out just the right title for that particular time in my life.  I read for pleasure.  I read when I’m stressed and need to relax.  I read to learn and for inspiration.  I read to grow spiritually, or try to at least.  

I’ve written here about the impact my reading has had on me.  I’ve talked about The Shack and Hinds’ Feet On High Places.  So when my friend Eric recommended a book that his pastor has read to his congregation many times, I decided to look into it.  But this trip to bookstore didn’t lead me to the self-help section, the religion section, or even the philosophy section.  Nope, I went straight to the children’s section to seek out Dr. Seuss, who was my favorite childhood author. Okay, I’ll be totally honest, he’s still my favorite author.  I was in search of “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” which at this time of year is easy enough to find as it was written as a graduation address. 

Now I have to say, I love Dr. Seuss, truly I do. But I couldn’t quite equate “Fox In Sox” or “Cat In The Hat” with God In Heaven.  But Eric had posted the words from this book on his Facebook page.  Reading it there, without the colorful whimsy that is the hallmark of any Dr. Seuss illustration, that words seemed to jump off the screen.  I could see myself on this journey of life and the places he described were places I had heard about or had already been.  I saw the place I was now and I suddenly saw this book in a whole new way. 

And now in tribute to my beloved Dr. Seuss: 

I saw myself in this book.  

Now here, you must take a look.  

See for yourself, what place are you at?  

I assure you, this is so NOT “Cat In The Hat”! 

Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss

 Congratulations! 

Today is your day. 

You’re off to Great Places! 

You’re off and away! 

  

You have brains in your head. 

You have feet in your shoes. 

You can steer yourself any direction you choose. 

You’re on your own. And you know what you know. 

And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go. 

  

You’ll look up and down streets. Look ‘em over with care. 

About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.” 

With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet, 

you’re too smart to go down any not-so-good street. 

  

And you may not find any 

you’ll want to go down. 

In that case, of course, 

you’ll head straight out of town. 

  

It’s opener there 

in the wide open air. 

  

Out there things can happen 

and frequently do 

to people as brainy 

and footsy as you. 

  

And when things start to happen, 

don’t worry.  Don’t stew. 

Just go right along. 

You’ll start happening too. 

  

OH! 

THE PLACES YOU’LL GO! 

  

You’ll be on your way up! 

You’ll be seeing great sights! 

You’ll join the high fliers 

who soar to high heights. 

  

You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed. 

You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead. 

Wherever you fly, you’ll be the best of the best. 

Wherever you go, you will top all the rest. 

  

Except when you don’t. 

Because, sometimes, you won’t. 

  

I’m sorry to say so 

but, sadly, it’s true 

that Bang-ups 

and Hang-ups 

can happen to you. 

  

You can get all hung up 

in a prickly perch. 

And your gang will fly on. 

You’ll be left in a Lurch. 

You’ll come down from the Lurch 

with an unpleasant bump. 

And the chances are, then 

that you’ll be in Slump. 

  

And when you’re in a Slump, 

you’re not in for much fun. 

Un-slumping yourself 

is not easily done. 

  

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked. 

Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked. 

A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin! 

Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in? 

How much can you lose? How much can you win? 

  

And IF you go in, should you turn left or right… 

Or right-and-three quarters? Or, maybe, not quite? 

Or go around back and sneak in from behind? 

Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find, 

For a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind. 

  

You can get so confused 

that you’ll start to race 

down long wiggled roads at break-necking pace 

and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space, 

headed, I fear toward a most useless place. 

                                    The Waiting Place… 

  

…for people just waiting. 

Waiting for a train to go 

or a bus to come, or a plane to go 

or the mail to come or the rain to go 

or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow 

or waiting around for a Yes or No 

or waiting for their hair to grow. 

Everyone is just waiting. 

  

Waiting for the fish to bite 

or waiting for wind to fly a kite 

or waiting around for Friday nite 

or waiting, perhaps for their Uncle Jake 

or a pot to boil, or a Better Break 

or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants 

or a wig with curls, or Another Chance. 

Everyone is just waiting. 

NO! 

That’s not for you! 

  

Somehow you’ll escape 

all that waiting and staying. 

You’ll find the bright places 

where Boom Bands are playing. 

  

With banner flip-flapping, 

once more you’ll ride high! 

Ready for anything under the sky. 

Ready because you’re that kind of guy! 

  

Oh, places you’ll go! There is fun to be done! 

There are points to be scored.  There are games to be won. 

And the magical things you do with that ball 

will make you the winning-est winner of all. 

Fame! You’ll be famous as famous can be, 

with the whole wide world watching you win on TV. 

  

Except when they don’t 

Because, sometimes, they won’t. 

  

I’m afraid that some times you’ll play lonely games too. 

Games you can’t win 

‘cause you’ll play against you. 

  

All Alone! 

Whether you like it or not, 

Alone will be something 

you’ll be quite a lot. 

  

And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance 

you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants. 

There are some, down the road between hither and yon, 

that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on. 

  

But on you will go 

though the weather be foul 

On you will go 

though your enemies prowl. 

On you will go 

though the Hakken-Kraks howl 

Onward up many 

a frightening creek, 

though your arms may get sore 

and your sneakers may leak. 

  

On and on you will hike. 

And I know you’ll hike far 

and face up to your problems 

whatever they are. 

  

You’ll get mixed up, of course, 

as you already know. 

You’ll get mixed up 

with many strange birds as you go. 

So be sure when you step. 

Step with care and great tact 

and remember that Life’s 

a Great Balancing Act. 

Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. 

And never mix up your right foot with your left. 

  

And will you succeed? 

Yes! You will, indeed! 

(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.) 

  

KID, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS! 

  

So… 

Be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray 

Or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea, 

You’re off to Great Places! 

Today is your day! 

Your mountain is waiting. 

So…get on your way! 

Right now, I’m at the place where the streets are unmarked.  I’m searching for something I haven’t quite found. I don’t know where I’m going and my instinct is to run.  When I run, I go around in a circle and end up right smack in that Waiting Place, exhausted and scared, waiting for some kind of sign or direction or something to point out the safe way to go forward.  I don’t like this dark place, but somehow I know this is where I’m supposed to be right now.  Remembering that the journey is THROUGH the dark valley and not INTO the dark valley is key to keeping my feet moving. 

I have new places to go, the bright places I hope.  

And I know I can get up this steep slippery slope. 

Because I walk with the same Lord who put the brains in my head and the feet in my shoes.  

But I still wish He’d put the map in my hand, or at least give me some clues. 

Many thanks to Eric B. for the inspiring conversation!

2 thoughts on “Dr. Seuss Spirituality?! Why Not?

  1. That is so cool. Well as you and I continue to enjoy and reap the benefits of the perspectives in this book, we only hope that more people will join us. You are so awesome to take the time to share. Great post. I think I’ll go read some more since it does my heart good every time.

    Like

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