She is over 70 years old, slightly hunched, with silver-gray hair and dark rimmed glasses. We’ve gathered on Memorial Day, to pray, to eat, to sing, to remember. Someone asks her to speak to our group. A spontaneous sharing. She has recently arrived from India… and the group wants to to hear a word from her. She sits calmly and smiles, then speaks.
She asks about the dash.
Her own dash.
Dash? What does that mean? A sprint of some kind? Will she talk about running the race with endurance, to win the prize….?
The dash, she explains, is the little symbol “-” which we place between words and sentences… and dates. Usually we place the dash between a birthdate and the day someone passes, like this, for example: 1940 – 2010.
Do you notice it now? The little dash, “-“, between the dates above?
We all have a dash.
In fact, we’re living in the midst of our “dash” right now.
The little dash encompasses all the experiences of a human life: our joys, our sorrows, our legacies… much is wrapped up in that one little line on a page, or carved into a tombstone. All that has happened between our birth and our death, stories galore, are represented in that one little dash.
She asks, “What’s in our dash?” And I wonder, what is in my dash? Will anyone know my dash when I’m gone– truly know it and be able to explain and share it well enough? Am I sharing it well enough now? Or, are my stories like a fading epitaph, among billions who have gone and among billions who are here on the blue planet now?
I have been thinking about my “dash” since then, and others’, who have stories to tell. Who will tell? Who will listen? Who will share their dashes?
I wonder about the people I see– what is in their dash? What is in mine?
An entire lifetime is represented in that little line. Years are reduced to a little dash.
But yet, if that dash is shared, then the little line on our tomb is connected to a line elsewhere, and so on,. so that there is a web of interconnectedness, then we don’t die alone– but connected, to one another, and to the Life Giving Vine.
What’s in my dash? I don’t know it all. But I do know this. I’ll be more cognizant of mine, and yours, and seeing where we can connect.