Living Between the Dash
* Written by Tony Mckeown, who offers free resources and materials to empower your life via:
As I was wandering aimlessly around the cemetery, I was taken with the numerous grave sites with headstones embellished with words, which in most cases had been kept to twenty six or less, in order to fit on the stone. I was quite tearful as my parent's stone was yet to be unveiled, and we were all in a quandary as to how we could limit a person's life to twenty six words or less.
It struck me as I pondered the headstones, how almost all of them had a dash entered between the dates. "Born" - "Died". i.e. Joseph Thomas January 14 Th 1924 - February 14 Th 2008. That "dash" represented the sum total of the person's existence.
Just one simple hyphen, a mere nudge of a chisel, summing up all their dreams, hopes, celebrations of joy, their fears and anxieties, captured and recorded in stone. Their lives (as with ours), were expressed in a finite expression of living life between the "dash".
Whilst this symbolizes a life lived, it is a crass attempt to summarize one's life. A stark reminder of the importance of, living life full and dying spent! As the old saying goes: "many die with the music still in them".
Life was never intended to be lived cautiously or reserved. It was meant to be lived to the full. Live life full, but die spent. Spent is a term often associated with wild salmon, whose sole purpose in life is to fulfil their pre-destined journey, returning to their place of birth in order to pass on the baton of life to future generations? Burned into the very fabric of their DNA, is their reason for existence. No holding back for finer weather or better options, their future, present and history are intertwined with their purpose.
By journeys' end, each salmon lays exhausted from the journey. Scarred by the ravages of the river, persistent current and obstacles within its path; never the less, its in-built purpose spurred it on to complete its course. Its life purpose was both the fuel and the target.
Is there any finer cause for mankind, than navigating one's life through the challenges of living, in the pursuit of advancing the cause of another? This same unselfish motive should be ours by intent. This is living life purposely between the "dash!"
All of us have had sufficient challenges to justify opting out of the raging currents that are life, in preference to taking our ease in the still pools along the way. Yet for a time, such rest is essential in rejuvenating, restoring and refocusing before plunging once again into the next stage of our journey.
Ultimately, when strength and reason return, we will take our place between the dash! Not for our sake alone, but for the advancement of the generation yet to experience the joy, of living life to the full.In the days ahead, I trust you will re-affirm the life you live, "between the dash."
A Eulogy by Linda Ellis:
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 would 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 is 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 have 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?
Award-winning authors Dave & Lillian Brummet:
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