Thankful for the “Dash”
Written by Robyn O’Brien
The health of our country is a mess, and sometimes that is hard to hear.
But in all of the heartache, concern and uncertainty in our food system and the soaring rates of obesity, allergies, cancers and diabetes, there is enormous opportunity to be part of the solution.
And around the country, Americans are lending their time and talents to creating a food system that will both nourish and nurture our families and our future.
So when a friend shared a poem the other day called The Dash, I thought of the individuals, organizations and communities who are creating the change we want to see in the health of our families and food system. Those who are taking the talents that they have been given and leveraging them with the passions that they have for their communities to create extraordinary change, and I was once again flooded with gratitude for everything that they are doing.
Because as noted in the poem below, though written by Linda Ellis in 1996, it is still as relevant and poignant today, their lives (or what the author refers to as the “dash”) are gifts to countless others in which inspiration can be found. And for those “dashes” and the hope that they bring, I can not help but be enormously grateful.
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 of 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 spend your dash?
by Linda Ellis