Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Dash

On Friday, I attended the funeral of a man I loved. I called him Mr. Harry. He was 12 days shy of being 93 years old. I have known Mr. Harry for 31 years and to me he has always looked the same. He was one of the most caring people I have ever known. He had been married for 63 years. He was an incredibly hard working man who was always willing to help anyone with anything.

At his service, the pastor invited people to share stories about him. One story for me that stood out was when he helped us move into our home 10 years ago. At that time he was 83 years old. He was just going to let us borrow his truck, but he wasn't the kind of man who could just sit by and watch others work, so he started to move furniture. At 83!! I remember him picking up one end of a very heavy sofa and on the other end were my 2 teenage boys. After a minute or two, Mr. Harry said, "Boys, your end is dragging. How about picking it up so it is even with my end!"

At 93, Mr. Harry's life held many stories. On the program for his service, was written a poem and I wanted to share it here.

The Dash

I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on the headstone from beginning to end.
He noted that first came the date of his birth and spoke of the second with tears.
But he said what mattered most was the dash between the years.

The dash represents the time spent on earth,
and now only those who loved him know what that line is worth.
It matters not how much we own, the house, the cars, the cash,
What matters is how we live and love while we are living out our dash.

If we could slow down enough to consider what is true and what is 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,
remember that this special dash may only last a while.
So when your eulogy is being read with your life's actions to rehash,
will you be pleased with what there is to say about the way you lived
your dash?

Only God knows the size of the dash in our lives. For some of the tiny sick babies I care for, their dash is very short, yet they still impact the lives of all those around them. Others like Mr. Harry have a very long dash of their years. But no matter the size of the dash, we will make an impact on those around us. What kind of an impact will we make? And on that day when we stand before the Lord at the end of our life, will He be pleased with how we lived out our dash?