Appreciating My Dash


Shortly before my dad passed away, he said, “I never thought I’d be like this.” I watched as he struggled to breathe, even though oxygen aided him. With his zest for life used up like a holiday candle, and his wick of life all but gone, God continued to bless him. Not many men that work in a coal mine for over forty-years live well into their eighties. Dad was three month’s shy of his eighty-sixth birthday when he passed. In the days, and now years that follow, I’m still grateful for his life—the years on both sides of his dash. I pray that God bestows this same grace and longevity upon me.

At fifty-one-years-old, I feel blessed, being a half-century into my dash. Although I don’t like the signs of aging: joint pain, morning stiffness, gray hair, menopause, wrinkles, less-than-perfect eyesight, etc., they illustrate a rite of passage that leads me to the next stepping stone in life. Most folks know the idiom, “If I knew then what I knew now,”  what? You fill in the rest. For me, if I knew then what I knew now, would I have chosen a different path? Would I have made different decisions? Perhaps. But, I cannot go back. I can only go forward. So, with that said, I will strive and be the person that God wants.  My principles are solid. I have excellent mentors, namely my parents, who taught by example. Of course, none of us is perfect. But I can try, anyway. I will be kind to others when they are not kind to me. I will forgive when I do not want to. And, I will ask for forgiveness before it is too late. One of my favorite poems is The Dash by Linda Ellis. ( Thousands use her beloved poem to eulogize friends and family. I admire others’ gift of words, which causes me to ponder upon their meaning. Whenever I read The Dash, clarity emerges; not only from thinking about my dad’s life, but also my life. It encourages me to consider my life’s choices. All in all, I feel good about my life’s journey. God has been good to me and to my family, and I am truly blessed.

Dear God,

You promise never to forsake.

Even though you are always there, situations arise that cause fear and doubt.  

Thank you for guiding, leading, loving and forgiving me in my life’s beginning and in my life’s end;

and, especially, during the time in between. 


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