The Dash

Normally, I plan and pray a few days in advance before I publish a new post, but today is going to be a little different.  Recently, I found out that a young woman I went to high school and college with tragically passed away.  I was floored.  We are so young.  I didn’t know her well, but she always had a smile on her face and always stopped and asked me how I was doing whenever she saw me.  Her tragic passing at such a young age reminded me that none of us are guaranteed a tomorrow.

There is a fairly famous poem titled “The Dash.” I will post the link, but the poem is too long to repost here. The gist of the poem is that what matters most is not the birth or death date but the dash in between.  Here is a brief excerpt from the poem

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.

Since I heard the news, I’ve been thinking really, really hard about what I am doing with my dash.  If you’re a Christian you know that the Bible tells us we will not know when our last minute on earth will be. Even those who are not Christians, recognize that our time here on earth is brief.

“Come now, you who say,’today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’– yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes” (James 4:13-15).

Speaking of the brevity of life, I am reminded of the story about Alfred Nobel.  To paraphrase,  Alfred Nobel’s brother passed away and a French newspaper erroneously published an obituary for Alfred instead.  The obituary called him the “merchant of death.” For those of you who do not know, Alfred Nobel invented dynamite which of course was used to bring about the deaths of many people.  Alfred Nobel had the opportunity to do something that is rare…he read his obituary while he was still living.  Sadden by what he had read, he vowed to rewrite the script. Needless to say, that is exactly what he did. He went on to establish the Nobel Prizes and he left roughly 94% of his fortune to endow the awards.

Most of us will never have the opportunity to rewrite our obituaries; however, we do have the opportunity to determine from this day forward what our —- will represent.  I’ve been thinking hard on what I would want my —– to stand for. I could enumerate a long list of things I would like to accomplish and personality traits I would want to be remembered for. But when it comes down to it ,I want my —– to be summed up by what the Bible says about a man by the name of Enoch in Genesis 5:24  “Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more”…

Amanda walked faithfully with God; then she was no more.

3 thoughts on “The Dash

  1. Hey Amanda,

    Sorry to hear about your acquaintance. These last two posts hit me really hard. For a long time you know I was not representing myself as a Christian. It was a death that caused me to not just questions God. In my life there was a young fellow that I was quite close to. His name was Larry and he was my babysitters son. When he was around 6 he spent the night with me. The first time in his whole life he had been away from his parents. He cried and I kept telling him that the first night was the hardest. But if he could spend the night with me then eventually he could spend the night anytime with anyone. I never knew how much he believed in me til a couple of weeks later when he went to spend the night with a friend. When he asked his mom if he could go she was hesitant. She reminded him how much he cried at my house. His reply: “Beth said if I could stay with her one night I couls stay with anyone”. The first night was the hardest.” He was right. Fast forward a decade and Larry is now struggling. His parents ahd gotten a divorce and it was hard on him. His mom and his dads best friend were together and like a lot of teens he was having trouble with that and all of the other teen stuff that happens. I truly felt liek God wanted me to take him into my house tyo try to help him through this tough time. I arranged to meet with his mom whom I was still friends with for dinner one night. And it snowed and snowed and snowed. I didn’t get to meet with his mom and then I doubted myself for thinking that I could tell my friend who I thought was very good mom that her son might be better at my house. So I dropped the idea. Less than six months later he shot himself. I truly felt like it was my thought. I did not give him a chance to heal at my house where he could not be confronted with the issue at every turn. At his funeral I found out that his mom was wanting to meet me to see if Larry could come stay wioth me. But because of the snow she got disuaded from that idea because “she didn’t want to oush her problems on me”.

    For years I felt like I deserved to go to Hell for not following Gods wishes. (I still feel like sins of omission are much more damaging than sions of commission.)

    The thing that sved me was again a death. I prayed for another Larry years later and now have come to some reconciliation with the firat Larry.

    The truly sad part of this whole upshot is that because of my straying I raised two beautiful daughters who I am very proud of. But neither was raised in the church. So because of my rebellion their is a very good chance that my daughters might pay the price. I just pray every day that they do find him again.

    Peace and love Amanda. I am proud of you also

  2. Are you speaking of Jacqueline?? If so, she was my cousin. I wasn’t close to her but it has saddened me that she passed away.


  3. Beth, thank you so much for you’re encouraging comment. I know that was hard to share, but I appreciate your willingness to be open and honest. I will be praying for you and the girls. Love you!

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