“Life consists of two dates and a dash. Make the most of the dash.”
This week at around 3 AM, the daughter of a friend of mine gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. A few hours later, in the same hospital, the elderly husband of another friend breathed his last and final breath. Birth and death. Two dates separated by a dash.
We often say, “Life is short.” Indeed. The dash between birth and death is a short, swift race. All the more reason to value each day. Unwrap each day like a gift. Few of us live in full appreciation of our days. We race, we run, we try to keep up. We are driven by so many temporal things—demands—pressures—living our lives. But, are we? Are we truly living, or just running from one day to the next?
How do we make the most of the dash? It begins with knowing what’s truly important. We do know, deep down. We acknowledge the importance of family, friends, love, kindness, good deeds, etc. But, it’s kinda, sorta lip service sometimes. How different would we live if we really, truly put the important things first?
What would happen if we made the most of the dash? I think we’d notice more. Sunrise and sunset, shifting light and shadows of clouds passing through the sky, the particular shades of blue of the sky, a small yellow butterfly skittering over tiny flowering plants striving to grow in sandy soil. We’d appreciate the beauty of simple things.
We’d stop what we’re doing, put down the phone, and listen with full attention to what a person is saying, hearing with soul and spirit. We’d do for others, and it wouldn’t be out of a sense of duty or obligation, but truly from the heart. We’d live from our identity as beings created in the image of God, expressing the heart of God to those around us—our boss, coworkers, strangers, friends, family, all—whether they earned it or not, whether they deserved it or not. Simply because it’s what God does when he loves us.
If we made the most of the dash, wouldn’t we invest more in our talents and gifts? I think I’d stop wasting time and get busy writing as if it really mattered. Because it does really matter, doesn’t it? Maybe we’d stop devaluing our talents and our abilities and use what we’ve been given to brighten and better our world. Making of the most of the dash means living more unselfishly. Resist the tyranny of the urgent. Invest in the things that really count.
Maybe all of this sounds a bit over-the-top sentimental and idealistic, but please, think about it. Life is short, even if we live to be 100. We can grumble our way through it. We can put blinders on and live only for ourselves. We can race to the finish line competing for the most toys. Or, we can make the most of the dash by making the world a little brighter and better because we were here. It’s a choice we make every single day.
Sara Faith Nelson
Sharing the journey, because, I find there are so many others making the trek through life without a loved one