People identify themselves with areas of devotion or likes and hobbies and use symbols to communicate about who they are.
Beyond the catalogue, there are a lot of symbols in our world. Symbols can be used on signs to tell you where to go, symbols can be in each country to signify patriotic allegiance - symbols are all around us. Some symbols have more significance than others. A flag may hold significance for someone who fought for their country. When I think about a cross, I see two lines intersecting and yet, it speaks to a powerful sacrifice and gift for us all. A cross is a life-changing symbol in my life.
Yet today, my attention was brought to another symbol that bears great significance. The dash. Typically, I just think of the dash as a part of our grammatical library. I recently listened to an episode of the Grammar Girl podcast all about dashes. You can use it in some instances instead of a parenthesis or commas. But where is significance in that? The dash holds great significance in one use only - in between two dates.
Yes, today, I went to a funeral. I heard the stories and character of a woman, who had lived 90 years. She did a great deal to make a positive impact on this world, and yet, her life is represented on her tombstone by a dash.
Maybe we should be engraving dashes on our jewelry instead of a heart or fleur-de-lis. It could be a reminder to make that dash count. We should make each day count and live with intentionality. Remembering the dash may keep us aware that we should put down the phone and play with our kids. Remembering the dash may protect us from acting on the negative self-talk we hear in our heads. Remembering the dash may motivate us to write that check to support a child in poverty. The dash is not just our legacy but its perspective. Life is a marathon, not a sprint and we need to let the small, petty things go and embrace those things that last.
All life matters and I don’t believe that the quality of the dash equals the quality of the person. I do believe we get one shot at life and we need to give it 100%. So much of my dash speaks to the God I serve because much of what I have accomplished is because he equipped me to do it. What do you want your dash to represent? If you head out to the cemetery, you will see a lot of dashes and yet all dashes weren’t created equal. Some dashes were wasted by addiction or selfishness, others were impactful but in a cruel and negative way. Other dashes brought about positive change or gave more than they took. Some dashes were loving and kind, full of all that is great in the world. Isn’t that the dash you want for your life? Remember the dash and keep living, for one day your life will be summarized by two dates, separated by a dash.