I know this may sound strange, but 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 one piece of engraving that is significant.
That small line between their birth and death; that represents all the years of their life, the major events, the laughter, the tears, the trials and the victories.
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. Words of wisdom.
Ironically, we tend to focus most on the beginning and the end. The excitement and joy of that first birthday, followed by yearly birthday celebrations. As the years pass, the birthdays become dreaded, and we focus considerable time and attention to preservation and fighting the aging process- foolishly hoping we can delay or maybe prevent the ultimate ending.
What about the dash?
The delicious middle that represents the best part of your life story! Now, don't be modest, we all have an awesome story because it is written and edited by God! A story that is a work in progress and intended to bring glory to God (see 2 Thess 2:13-15.)
Sadly, sometimes we get lost in the middle, we meander through life and take our days for granted.
Let’s not forget, like in every 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." But, dawn will come and a new day or chapter will begin.
Never lose hope or believe that a particularly bad time in your life will last forever.
We have all been given just ONE STORY, that has a beginning, middle and inevitable end.
Take Ellis' advice and make your life count! Just PLEASE don't get caught up in the drama of life and entirely miss the most crucial event in your story-finding and following Jesus!!!
Without Jesus, your story will NOT have a happy ending.
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.