If You Want Love

My father was an upright man who never went to church;
but he gave his word and that was that, he’d help you from a lurch.
He hated all self-righteousness and practiced what he’d preach;
when I asked him what made the good life he’d give me this speech:

Live as if there’s no hereafter if you want a Heaven here on earth;
Spend as if it’s your last dollar if you want to get your money’s worth;
Act like everyone knows something that it might be worthwhile to learn;
Love as if the world is ending if you want love in return.

My father died ten years ago; we laid him in the ground.
I don’t think anyone expected he’d be Heaven-bound.
When I think back on how he lived, I have to crack a smile
imagining their faces when they look in his file
and it says:

Live as if there’s no hereafter if you want a Heaven here on earth;
Spend as if it’s your last dollar if you want to get your money’s worth;
Act like everyone knows something that it might be worthwhile to learn;
Love as if the world is ending if you want love in return.

Someday may be good enough for some folks, he would say;
but if you want to change the world you’d better start today …

Live as if there’s no hereafter if you want a Heaven here on earth;
Spend as if it’s your last dollar if you want to get your money’s worth;
Act like everyone knows something that it might be worthwhile to learn;
Love as if the world is ending if you want love in return.

17 MAR 2006

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