I have a poster-size photograph hanging above my desk at home of my grandparent's tombstone.
I guess you could say it is a remembrance of a sort — a way to remind me of their lives.
The headstone reflects their names and their dates of birth and death. Nothing more.
When you look closely, there is just one piece of engraving that is super significant.
That small line situated between their dates of birth and death. A line which represents all the years of their life, the significant events, the laughter, the tears, the trials, and the victories.
Their story is found within that small dash.
Linda Ellis wrote a great poem titled “The Dash” that talks about the importance of living one's life valuing the brief time we've been given.
Oh, such words of wisdom.
Because life is so much more than just the beginning and end.
The delicious middle represents the best part of life- it contains your life story that is written and edited by God; a work in progress that is intended to bring glory to God along the way (See 2 Thess 2:13-15.)
Sadly, we tend to get lost in the middle. We meander through life, take our days for granted and spend much of our time focusing on things that simply don't matter (not in the whole scheme of eternity!)
Let's not forget, like, every good story; there are chapters or what the Bible refers to as "seasons."
Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 speaks of this concept beautifully:
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance.
Like turning the pages of a book, every season in your life will pass and a new season or chapter will begin.
So, if you find yourself struggling in a season of life, know that it is not your full story. You are just in the middle of that particular "time."
Don't lose hope or believe that a difficult time in your life will last forever. Dawn will come, and a new day or chapter will begin.
We have all been given just ONE STORY, that has a beginning, middle, and inevitable end.
May we take Ellis' advice and make our life count by focusing on the middle- making the most of our dash, so when our story comes to its conclusion, we can look back on our dash with only joy, celebration, and thanksgiving- not regrets.
When we see our lives through the lens of the author, and we are clinging to the promises of Christ, all the seasons of our life (the good, the bad and the ugly) all weave together to complete a beautifully unique masterpiece. A story worth remembering.
Spend your dash wisely- you only get one.
Once it is written, it can't be undone.
Lord, thank you that you are our creator and the author of our life. You are good and your mercies endure forever. Each season of life that we face we can take comfort knowing that you are present and will work all things together for our good. May we look to you now, trusting that you will write a good story and give us peace to embrace the final chapter - knowing in Christ we have eternity.
Romans 14:18- Whether we live, we live for the Lord, and whether we die, we die for the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.