Defining our dash is a new concept to me. What is a dash? The dash is the little line that you find on your gravestone between the year you were born and the year that you died. You define your dash.
I first heard of this idea on the FamilySearch blog: https://familysearch.org/blog/en/define-dash-start-writing-personal-history-52stories-project-2/
On nearly every headstone, no matter how plain or ornate, is carved one universal symbol. It’s a simple horizontal line—a dash—separating two significant dates. The first marks the day one precious soul entered this mortal life. The second marks his or her inevitable journey onward.
A well-known poem by Linda Ellis, “The Dash,” speaks of this symbol:
“For that dash represents all the time
that they spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved them
know what that little line is worth.”
We are each, right now, standing somewhere in the middle of our own individual dashes.
Today is my dad’s 76th birthday. For his gift, I created a slide show about his life that has caused me to think about my own life. His photos show me one important thing. He loves his family and his family loves him. I know that he has loved being a father more than just about anything else! He tears up when he speaks of the wonderful years when the children were at home.
I love my life – primarily I love my husband, my children, my family and my faith. My friends enrich my life. What will my dash be? I hope that is all about relationships. Honoring those precious individuals who have enhanced my life experiences and have strengthened me… hoping that I have enhanced and strengthened those with whom I associate. I hope that my dash is defined by LOVE.
Here is my dad’s slideshow. How do you put seventy-six years into eleven and a half minutes? Especially when there are so many poor photos taken in the seventies… and who let us out of the house in those outfits??? Oh well. But I hope that it is the love that shines through, because that is how I define my Dad’s Dash!