October certainly has been a month filled with life’s transitions many people I care deeply about. Serious illness and surgery, child birth, death of a parent, loss of employment, new opportunities, engagement, estrangement, you name it. We feel these events more when the important events/transitions in our lives involve our primary relationships.
When I was growing up, one of the saints of my life, Fr. Brunelle, taught me that life at its best is about relationships: first with God and then with each other. The quality of our lives depends upon the quality of our relationships. It’s our relationship with people not things or jobs that define us. How true are the words of this saying,
“I have never known someone to get to the end of their lives and lament that they did not work more.” During times of transition people sit together and tell stories of fun family dinners, of friends they have loved throughout their lives, and intimate moments shared. Rarely does the talk center around job minutiae. We talk of relationships. We talk of what matters.
Twelve years ago I found this poem while preparing a memorial service. The words have stayed with me and seem to be fitting right now.
The title of the poem:
How Are You Living Your Dash?
I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone from the beginning to the end.
He noted that first came her date of birth and spoke the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.
For that dash represents all the time that she spent alive on earth
And now only those who loved her know what that little line is worth.
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.
How are you living your Dash?
I hope this day you hold those you love a bit closer.
Grace & Peace,