week 17 – What will they say about your dash


 How Do You Live Your Dash?

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 he first came to her date of birth
And spoke the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years. (1900 – 1970)

For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on this 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 whats 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’s being read
With your life’s actions to rehash
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?

We were given this exercise to read the obituaries everyday.  It had to be in a real newspaper not online.  At first I thought I knew why were were doing it.  I said “Ok Mark, I get it… Og’s book (Greatest Salesman) “Live each day as if it’s our last” … I get it .  But then a funny thing happened.

As I’m reading these obits of people I don’t know, and the comments from family, I started thinking about the people .  What did they dream about? Did they accomplish what they wanted? Did they love someone? Did anyone really love them?  What were their passions? Did they ever make a impression on anyone? Did they change anyones life for the better? For the worse?

You really start to see how fragile life is, how precious it is … how you really can’t waste a moment, not a single moment.  Because it truly could be your last day.  Then I came across this.

obits kid

Some one so young … just getting started.

And you  begin to really appreciate all the days you have had since being this age …. how many have I wasted in trivial pursuits? How many have I let slip past by not challenging myself, by not bettering myself?

It’s true what we have learned from Hennel that once a mind has been stretched with a new understanding it cannot return to its original shape.  I see this reminder as an opportunity … not to try and make up for the past, because the sands of times can not flow up in the hour glass, but to pledge to make each day something I can be proud of.  What a wonderful experience.


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