I recently attended the Celebration of Life service of a friend who was a loving father and devoted grandfather. A man of character who was loved by his family and friends.
It was a dreary-rainy day as my wife and I arrived at the chapel. Naturally, the tears falling from the gray skies added to the somber mood of the occasion. Then, as if queued by the words the minister was extolling, I noticed the stained glass windows begin to brighten—a clear indication the clouds were parting and God was shining His light down on a life once lived.
The timely transition from rain to sunshine in a matter of minutes was inspiring, but it was the message delivered by the minister that grabbed my attention most. I have heard the message many times before, and you probably have too. However, it never hurts to have a little reminder.
The minister began by praising my friend and then started explaining the meaning of the DASH that appears between the two dates on a tombstone. I am paraphrasing his words, but the essence of his message was this:
There are two dates on a tombstone. The first date is the day a person’s life began. The second date is the day that life ended. Both dates are important, but what matters most is the DASH placed between them.
You see, that DASH is not simply a short line carved in stone; it represents a person’s entire life. It contains all the things done and the dreams for a future left undone. It holds the memories family and friends will cherish as they grow to accept the loss of a loved one.
Though that DASH may look the same to the casual observer, it has a different meaning for each person who had an opportunity to share moments in the life it represents.
As we gather here today to celebrate a DASH, we are also making our own DASH in life. Therefore, I ask you, what memories will your DASH represent for those you leave behind? What memories will they have about you when your DASH appears between two dates? Will they be good memories? I pray your answer is yes.
Although, we cannot control what others remember about us, we can control the things we do in life and how we treat others.
As you leave this chapel today, I want you to think about your DASH. One day you will be a memory for your family and friends. Try to leave them with good memories by making your DASH in life the best it can be.
May God be with each of you as you continue making your DASH in life.
Certainly something worth thinking about.
Tom Tatum – Author – 2016
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