Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Living Beyond the Dash

We have all likely experienced the passing of some family member or friend.  We've attended their funeral or memorial service which usually begins by stating when they were born and when they died.  At the grave site, their whole life is summarized by this simple little "-" between their birth and death date.

Perhaps you've heard someone speak of the concept of the "dash" or making the most of your dash, also known as making the most of your life. When you spend time in a cemetery, you realize just how short this life really can be.  We don't know when the day will come, but we do know that there will be a day that we will die.

You're probably thinking by now that this is going to be yet another post about making the most of your life. Well, not really.  If you're reading this, you're likely one who has already read, heard, or reflected on what you can do to make the most of this life.  So, I would like to take a couple more paragraphs and challenge you to live beyond the dashLive a life so invested in others that even with your physical passing from this life, there is a legacy that is lived out in those who you have invested your time, emotional and relational energy.

To live beyond the dash, you have to first embrace a period of introspection and reflect on a couple of meaningful questions:
  • Who am I, why am I here, what is my purpose/passion or what do I want to do with my life?
  • At the core, do I just want to "exist" or do I want to exalt others?
If you can get your mind around those questions, then consider the following for ideas on how to live beyond the dash.
  • Look for opportunities to encourage someone daily
  • Volunteer with a local non-profit organization - preferably one that aligns with your purpose/passion.
  • Mentor someone
  • Give sacrificially to a cause you that you believe
  • Babysit for a single parent
  • Adopt a child
  • Visit an ICU waiting room at a local hospital for a couple of hours and see how you could serve someone there (Big ears, long arms, or a shoulder to cry on)
  • Visit the nearest nursing home and engage a resident in conversation
  • and the list goes on..........
The point, the life that lives beyond the dash is a life that is "others focused".  Can you do that? YES, you can!  Will you do that? Only you can answer.

Would love to know your thoughts.

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