Remembering 'the dash' at Thanksgiving

Tri-City HeraldNovember 20, 2012 

It seems to be all about the dash right now -- that headlong rush to the holidays that loom straight ahead. There are shopping sales, jostling crowds and a car or two rushing that nearly red light.

Hurry. Scurry.

But on two chilly afternoons this past week, the warmth of a church beckoned me to pause and reflect. Together with others, I remembered life in the context of death.

It wasn't about each person's beginning and end, but about the minutes in between. The Dash a beautifully written poem by Linda Ellis, reminds us that the line between the dates of our birth and death -- the dash -- is what matters most.

As I sat in the quiet of the church pew, tissue in hand, friends and family spoke of kindnesses, compassion; arms that reached out to others. Hushed tears told of love and laughter, a gentle touch indelible upon their heart.

It's the story that remains long after the dates at each end of the dash are forgotten. Around a campfire, the dinner table or at a grandchild's bedside, the tale of their lives will be retold.

"When did great-grandma die?" an innocent voice will ask someday followed by a moment of silence as a parent searches for the year their loved one went home.

"I can't remember the date, little one, but let me tell you a story..."

This Thanksgiving, as families and friends gather, there will be stories recalled that bring our missing loved ones close -- the lives they lived, the faith they shared. And as we link hands around the table and bow our heads in prayer, I hope we remember:

It's a perfect time to thank God for their dash.

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