Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Dash

On Thursday I drove down and back to Richmond to receive an award at Full Circle Grief Center's Living your Dash Luncheon. It was lovely, and every time I learn more about what Full Circle does to help hurting families, I am so grateful!

The concept for the luncheon was to recognize that we all have a birth date and a death date. And while the dash-- the years lived in between the two-- could vary from just a few hours to many years, WE choose what to make of the dash.

It reminded me so much of a special post about Jack when he played MacBeth in his 6th grade play.

Some days I am not so sure I'm using my dash wisely.

I've already lived 33 more years than Jack got to, and next year I'll age past my mother, who died at 46. I know my days are already numbered in God's book, and this invites me to consider what my dash looks like. Honestly, most days I am content to putz around the house, doing a little of this and that, speaking to no one, and thinking about what I want eat next.

But there is an ever-present, quiet tug pointing me beyond the mundane toward greater meaning.

What could that look like? I know I want to help others. I want to use my stories, not just the ones about Jack, but whatever stories I may have, to somehow touch others and intersect with their own. For now that means writing and speaking, sharing Rare Bird, being a real, flawed, flesh and bone example of survival, and learning how to be a better listener.

A listener of the sacred stories people bring to me through this blog and in person, a listener to the gentle tug of God that leads me outside my cozy, insular self and points me toward others, and a listener to the reassuring whisper of a son who says, "I may not be at your dinner table, but I'll be your partner in whatever you do."


11 comments:

Anonymous said...

The tag on this post suggests you might be having a mid-life crisis. Me too. It's not very much fun. I'm not sure I'm living the dash so much as imitating the dash (as in, I've been flattened and I can't get up). ;)

A Speckled Trout said...

Love this.

Joyce said...

Anna, like you, I am content to be at home, working away at my school work, writing, and puttering around the house. Since retirement, I have less interaction with people, so I have to remind myself that I need a healthy balance.

I don't think I use my dash wisely all the time either. I try and stay open to God's call, and say yes, when He calls. Some days are harder than others. xo

Debby@Just Breathe said...

Congratulation on your award. I've wasted years with worry and haven't learned how to enjoy the present. When I reached 60 I looked back and realized that it is time to do something with my dash yet most days it seems easier to just putz around the house too!!

Shocked Kristin said...

Futzing around the house gives me immense pleasure these days. I lost my son two years ago and I'm doing my best. I refuse to feel pressured by a dash!

www.robinbotie.com said...

I lost my daughter 4 years ago and I feel like I should be living the dash a lot more intensely now. That's how my daughter lived her last 2 years - like it could all end in an hour.The strange thing is I like being alone at home much more now than I ever did. Don't know how this will all even out in the end but I love challenges.
Congratulations on the award.

Susie - Recovering Church Lady said...

Anna, once again you challenge me, even when you do not mean to. At age 60 my husband talks like we are done as far as adventures or impacting others. I am also 60 but i do not feel done at all, no where near. But I don't feel pressured as much as I did when I was younger, it's like anything important I do now will be frosting! :)

Anonymous said...

I'm not overly concerned about my dash right now (but I'm older than 45!). I've worked full time all while raising multiple children, volunteered as my time permits, been a good friend. We all do what our energy level allows!

Lisa Ancona-Roach said...

Of course, you have no idea how much this resonates with me, but...it does. Immensely.
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the recognition, Anna. I have to say that your dash has endured more than most people's ought to ever, already, and look at how graciously you have handled it all. I too think you're entitled to enjoy your quiet, putzy days, but I definitely understand the call to something more...significant, however that unfolds. I trust that it will come.

love,
jbhat

Heidi Cave said...

Anna, I think you're wonderful. Truly.