The purpose of this is to finish off

   The Dash¹

   before the end of the year…


But that requires using the DOOR.




   The dash between dates on a tombstone is a wonderful symbol of one’s time spent on Earth between the “year numbers” that separate birth and death. Ellis and Anderson’s thin coffee table, gift book capitalizes upon this, with Ellis’s poem and Anderson’s commentary.


   Here’s the first half of Ellis’s poem:


The Dash

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 most is how we live and love

      and how we spend our dash.


   The poem says more about slowing down, managing anger, showing respect, and reflecting on it all. But those seem to become pretty obvious details to fill in by the first four stanzas above. The cleverness and strength of this popular poem is shown above.

   This is a fine end-of-the-year pause. Our thanks to Ellis and Anderson.


   ¹Linda Ellis and Mac Anderson, The Dash: Making a difference with your life from beginning to end (Thomas Nelson, 2012). Ninety-two (small) pages, accompanied by photographs. The two previous posts draw from this volume.