Today I went to a funeral. It was not someone I knew, but the mother of one of my husband’s closest friends. When her son got up to speak he read a poem that is apparently popular, but not one I had heard. Here it is, with the credit to the author who has a book out by the same name.
The Dash Poem
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 her date of birth
And spoke of 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?
Lately I have been thinking about dying. I am not sure why, but I have been. I guess because I am getting up there in years, even though I do not want to admit it.
I have thought about my family and wonder. I wonder if they all know how much I love them. That I love them all equally, want the best for them all and pray blessings on their lives. I wonder a lot about a lot of things.
When this poem was read I wondered some more. Wondered if my life has made the difference that God wanted me to make when He made me. The circumstances HE allowed in my life, did I respond as HE wanted? The students I taught ESL to, did I make a difference in their lives, not just with English.
How have I impacted my world for HIM?
If My dash ends tomorrow, will my family remember me as this family remembered their mom? Will my kids all get along and work out things together, or will they be at odds like some there today?
Will others remember me in a positive way?
It hit me today more than before since this has been on my mind lately. Will my “dash” be worthwhile to be on my tombstone? or should it just be left off?
We have one life to live, we have no idea how long or short it will be. As the old verse goes:
Only one life will soon be past
Only what’s done for Christ will last.
Let’s make our dash count for HIM.