Sunday, November 29, 2009

Not so random events

Listening to the radio on the way home from yoga, hearing an interview snippet with someone sharing the realization that you can never truly get inside someone else's being and know what it's like to be them, and to live their life... but it is the work of authors and readers and human beings to keep trying.

Toasting the life of Allan Hoyne at his memorial service, one of the members of BPYC, and learning about how this remarkable man spent his multi-faceted 81 years. I knew him to see him, wave and say hello, and of course I knew he was passionate about sailing and helped to build the club. But I didn't realize he fenced, enjoyed fly-fishing, lovingly
cared for his sick wife, or served in WWII.

I've been to a few funerals recently and people have talked about 'the dash' in between the years we're born and the years we die, and about how that seemingly insignificant mark is the real measure of someone's life. The poem that inspired the sentiment was posted alongside Alan's photos:

The Dash Poem

by Linda Ellis

I read of a man who stood to speak

At the funeral of a friend

He referred to the dates on her tombstone

From the beginning to the end

He noted that first came the date of her birth

And spoke the following date with tears,

But he said what mattered most of all

Was the dash between those years

For that dash represents all the time

That she spent alive on earth.

And now only those who loved her

Know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not how much we own;

The cars, the house, the cash,

What matters is how we live and love

And how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard.

Are there things you’d like to change?

For you never know how much time is left,

That can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough

To consider what’s true and real

And always try to understand

The way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger,

And show appreciation more

And love the people in our lives

Like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect,

And more often wear a smile

Remembering that this special dash

Might only last a little while.

So, when your eulogy is being read

With your life’s actions to rehash

Would you be proud of the things they say

About how you spent your dash?

©1996 Linda Ellis

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