Have you ever gone to a cemetery and read the names and dates on the tombstones? The dates signify the day of birth and the day of death. But have you given thought to what signifies the person’s life… their daily, 24/7, 365 day a year LIFE. The ups and downs, adventures and uncertainties, successes and failures, joys and despair… those are all signified by a little symbol that doesn’t tell us a single thing about that person… the dash (-).
At the end of my life, my dates will be September 21, 1968 – date to be determined. But no one reading those dates on my tombstone will know anything about my life. They will not know I was a:
- Wheelie G (Grammy on Wheels)
Nor will they know anything of my personality traits:
- I am talkative (Although I prefer to say friendly.)
- I’m an open book (I will share just about anything about myself… sometimes too much.)
- When I get annoyed, it’s over in a flash but I feel terrible and guilty for days.
- I am a people pleaser and have trouble saying “no.” (Steve, my husband, says I can’t say no to anyone but him! That is probably pretty accurate.)
- I am an extrovert. I get my energy from being with other people. I like small periods of being alone but not too long.
- I overthink things. If someone makes a comment, I will think about it for days, dissecting every word wondering what they may have meant.
- I am honest. I can’t lie. You will know if I try because my face gives me away.
- I love to laugh. It is therapy for me.
My dash will not tell anyone about my quirks:
- My pillows have to be perfect on the couches. My house can be dusty and cluttered but my pillows must be straight and fluffed.
- I am slightly obsessed with cinnamon and love my house to smell like cinnamon. I get teased about it by family & friends regularly.
- I love, and I mean LOVE, reality (I do question the word reality) television! I like everything from Survivor to Hoarders. Watching glimpses of people’s lives enthralls me and captivates my attention.
- I have too many clothes. I have fat clothes, skinny clothes, and in between clothes. I’m afraid to get rid of the fat clothes just in case. The skinny clothes are my motivation. But the in between clothes are my go to’s most days.
My embarrassing moments aren’t told in that tiny symbol:
- Laughing so hard, I peed my pants on a first date. There was not a second date! 🥺
- I went shopping at several different stores only to discover I had a bra dragging from behind my wheelchair the entire time! And it was a big ole granny bra too, not a pretty, frilly one from Victoria Secret.
- The Easter Bunny saw me completely buck naked once. (That story is in my blog, Story Time.
Seeing my tombstone won’t show my favorite extracurricular activities:
- Going to yard sales
- Listening to people’s stories
- Serving and volunteering
- Party planning
It won’t tell about the people I love:
- JESUS – I am beyond thankful for His gift of grace & salvation!
- MY FAMILY – they are my heart, my favorite people to spend time with, and the ones I would lay down my life for! My husband, kids, and grandkids are my joy plus I am blessed greatly by an amazing extended family (parents, siblings, in laws, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews). I hope when I’m gone, they will know how deeply I loved them.
- MY PEOPLE – I have had many people that have walked my journey with me and I treasure each friendship. Some have stayed in my life while others were only there for a period of time, yet all have a piece of my heart.
- MY INNER CIRCLE – my close group of friends who pray with me, speak truth to me, love me, and encourage me… I am forever grateful.
- MY KIDDO’S – those special kids (many now adults and my friends) who I had the privilege to have in my home, led in a small group, had in youth group, taught in Sunday school, or held in the nursery, you will never know what an honor it is to be part of your life. I love you “oodles!”
Anyway… you get it! The dash illustrates so much! My dreams (to see a baby born), my fears (being alone), my adventures (daily life as a paraplegic), my joys (seeing my kids do what they love), my pet peeves (people talking about me behind my back), my character (honest, dependable, loyal), my bucket list (going on a missions trip), and the list can go on and on.
When I leave this world some day, the essence of my life will be encapsulated in a tiny symbol. People won’t know I make my bed every single day or always stay up too late and struggle to wake up in the morning. They won’t care that I like the toilet paper to go under, not over (I know that’s the unpopular way). No one will know that I love freshly washed sheets or that I still can’t sleep on Christmas Eve. And my dash will not show that I spent most of my life sitting rather than standing.
It is inevitable that someday we will be gone from this earth. I praise God I am promised the gift of eternity in Heaven with Him. Until then, however, here are a few ways I want to live the rest of my “dash.”
- Love people as God loves them. Seeing others through HIS eyes rather than my own.
- Intentionally pour into people. Listen to their life stories. Encourage them. Care for them. Love them. Pray for them. Serve them.
- Forgive. Offer grace. Just like He has done for me.
- Be someone who gets to know the heart of others rather than making a quick judgement of whether they are worthy. I’m not worthy but Jesus loves me!
- Be thankful. Gratitude, rather than complaining, can transform your perspective. I want to see life with a grateful heart.
- Stop worrying about people’s thoughts and opinions about me. Stop overthinking. Stop people pleasing. (This is a very big one for me )
- Give more. I have been blessed and want to see the needs of others and generously give, whether it is giving time, money, prayer, or serving.
- Love my family better. Not letting little things bother me but appreciating these amazing people for who God designed them to be.
- Show my grand-babies the love my grandparents showed me. Give them memories of time spent encouraging, listening. and loving them. Invest in their precious little lives.
- Spend time with my friends. I am thankful for the friends who pour into me and I want to cherish time with them.
- Know God more. Spend time reading His Word and talking & listening to Him so I can do all of the above things. ^^ I certainly cannot do any of it on my own!
- And while I know there are many days that I show my human side by being impatient, frustrated, and stressed over unimportant things, I pray that more days I exhibit the Fruits of the Spirit. (Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control)
So when I go to glory and my life is illustrated by a little dash, I just pray that people look back and instead of seeing me, they see Christ who was in me!
I like to add photos or memes to my blogs and googled images for “Live your dash” and this poem popped up. It is perfect for this blog!