How does one place value on a life lived. At our end lies a 2 foot high piece of granite with a name, two dates and a few words scribbled on it. Between the dates lies a most profound symbol….a dash. It’s a small black line that spans the time between our birth and our death. Contained on that dash are our first steps, our first words, our first bicycle ride, our first day at school, our first recognition of beauty. It will contain our loves and our jobs. It’ll hold our weddings and the birth our kids. It’ll bear the pain of separations and wars. That little black line will represent all we did in life for passers by. Every person we ever had an impact on will ride that line. Our recognition of God is there. Our hurts our failures our achievements all sit right on that little line, that dash. Today a dear friend lost her grandfather. As she shared stories of him, his smile, his hard work, his profound impact on her life, I thought “How could a little dash hold a life like that?” Well it can’t. Through her grief I saw a life of a grandfather well lived. Just on Valentines day marked the 20th year since my own grandfather passed away. I cannot explain his impact on me. I am a product of him in many ways. When I get back home I’ll cruise by Oakwood Cemetery and sit by his grave. Buried there with my grandmother I look at those dashes and think how much I appreciate that life lived. Time is a respecter of no man and that dash seems so insignificant as we look at those grave stones, but that dash is so much more. I’ll never look at a grave stone the same way again. I can’t help but think of Jesus’ words from the Gospels. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's shall save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? For what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Mark 8:35-38) There’s something lost in translation there. Jesus says don’t lose your life. The funny thing is that the word soul and life in the original language are the same word! What will we give in exchange for our life? It’s basically this; we don’t get our lives back. There are no do overs. And we can give them over to whatever we want to. We can give our lives to self or we can sing the doxology with it. It’s our dash to live. And when it’s all said and done we’ll have how people remembered us and how God sees us. That is what it boils down to. My prayer is that one day, my children or even should I be blessed with grandchildren, that they sit by my gravestone and say, “My daddy’s dash was so much more than a little black line!”
Hope yours will be too!


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