by Linda Ellis
I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning to the end
He noted that first came the date of her birth
And spoke the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years
For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not how much we own;
The cars, the house, the cash,
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.
So think about this long and hard.
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left,
That can still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down enough
To consider what’s true and real
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.
And be less quick to anger,
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we’ve never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect,
And more often wear a smile
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.
So, when your eulogy is being read
With your life’s actions to rehash
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?
©1996 Linda Ellis
I will bet you I've read that poem at least a hundred times in the last 4 years and every time it chokes me up and gets me thinking about the futility of life and how I spend so much time on so many of the wrong things.
As I was studying in Psalms this morning, I was reminded of this memorial and the poem with this verse:
You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16:11
Is life, the dash, meant to be focused and spent on the "do" or is it more about the "who"?- the who I become during the time I have been given.
Every day that I read and study it becomes more and more obvious the things of the world are out to capture my heart, my mind and my focus. It is for this reason that I must work that much harder at being spiritually inclined in my day to day, hour to hour life. Jesus said it: The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. John 6:63
How many times do I catch myself in pursuit of some "thing" because I feel that it is going to bring me some temporary pleasure? Conversely, how little do I find myself in pursuit of the some "one" that will bring pleasure for eternity?
Oh, Lord, how difficult it is to maintain an eternal perspective while being here on earth. For this reason it is much more important, Lord, that your Holy Spirit fill me, and guide me. The closer I get to you, the more I see, feel and know the path of life that you have laid before me. The more of you I have in my life, Lord, the more certainty I have about the gifts you have given me and the precious time I have to use those gifts for your good.
I pray today, Lord, that those who are following my lead will bask in the glory of your Holy Spirit today. That they might feel the joy of your presence in thier life today, and that you might reveal more of the path that you have chosen for them. Help us all to spend time today focusing on the "Who" instead of the "do".
The Dash Poem