Thursday, September 5, 2019

The Dash

  1. It's been two weeks since my dad went to his eternal home. Today, I've been reading through papers I brought home from his file cabinet. I came across an unmarked folder containing several poems I recognized as ones he had mentioned often in his last few years.


One poem by Linda Ellis is titled, "The Dash." It refers to the dates of our birth and death separated by a dash on our tombstone. We have no control over those dates. What really matters is the dash--what we did with our lives between those dates. By making a conscious choice to live our lives with passion and purpose, we can make our mark on the world and leave it a better place than we found it.

My dad lived his dash serving God and others. His dash was well spent. While he accomplished many things in his life, he will be remembered most for the person he was. As a Christian, loving husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, pastor, leader, he lived what he preached. He walked his talk. He set an example of honesty and integrity. We cherish the memory of his love, his encouragement, and his friendly smile.

  1. Another paper I found is a song sheet of the bluegrass gospel song, "Angel Band," written by Jefferson Hascall, in 1860, and sung by several popular singers, including Johnny Cash.

  2. My latest sun is sinking fast,
    My race is nearly run;
    My strongest trials now are past,
    My triumph is begun.
    • Refrain:
      Oh, come, angel band,
      Come and around me stand;
      Oh, bear me away on your snowy wings
      To my eternal home;
      Oh, bear me away on your snowy wings
      To my eternal home.
  3. I know I’m near the holy ranks
    Of friends and kindred dear—
    I hear the waves on Jordan’s banks,
    The crossing must be near.
  4. I’ve almost reached my heav’nly home,
    My spirit loudly sings;
    Thy holy ones, behold, they come!
    I hear the noise of wings.
  5. Oh, bear my longing heart to Him,
    Who bled and died for me;
    Whose blood now cleanses from all sin,
    And gives me victory.
  6. In the past few years in our nightly phone calls, my dad often told me he was longing for heaven and sang this song. His singing is now silenced in this life, but I'm sure he has joined heaven's choir. While I miss him, and a day no longer feels complete without my phone call to him, I know he is together again with my mother, and above all, with the Savior he loved and served so faithfully. I would not wish him back.

As David of old said at the death of his son, "He cannot return to me, but I can go to him." (I paraphrase 2 Samuel 12:23.)

I want to live my dash as my father did until the day God calls me home.
 

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