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Living The Dash

"That's A Brilliant Glimpse of Insight!"

Photo Credit: Masaaki Komori

One of the poems I find myself reading often these days is, The Dash Poem by Linda Ellis.  The stanza that stands out every time I read it says,

“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.”

How we spend our dash.  I love that.  While I am not thinking about the end of my life, I am thinking about the three family members I have lost in the past six months.  I am thinking about what the dash means for my life and for the lives of those who will come behind me.

I am thinking about the dash and all that I want to accomplish in the time I have left.  The dash, that little thing on the tombstone between the year and day someone is born, and the year and day they take that final breath. 

When you look at a tombstone have you ever wondered about the person whose life was caught up in that dash?  What kind of life did they really live, what mistakes they made, what failures they had to overcome?  Who they really were?

The dash has made me think about how I can make my own life more meaningful.  How I can make the dash more valuable to those who come after me.   I am acutely aware that I have fewer years ahead of me than I have behind me.  I am also aware that it will be those who come after me who will really tell the story of the dash.

The dash is pushing me to reevaluate how I spend my time right now.  My time, both at work and at home.  The dash helps me understand the gifts and talents I have been given, and how to use those wisely. 

The dash reminds me to be aware of the lessons I have learned from my failures and mistakes, as well as the lessons I have gained from my successes and accomplishments. The dash has made me realize that it is more important that I leave the planet better than I found it.   The dash has made me realize the beauty of the friendships I have gained through the years, and the love I share with my family. 

The dash reminds me that life is far too short to judge people on race, or sexuality or age or religion.  The dash reminds me that I would rather spend my time making the dash count, rather than counting the dash. 

What will the dash remind you of?

And That’s A Brilliant Glimpse of Insight. 

— Published on August 15, 2020

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