Live your dash!-A A +A
Friday, February 15, 2013
LATE last month, Kuya Rey, one of my eight siblings, came home from the USA for a much anticipated “coming home” six-week vacation. Together with his wife, Zita, they came straight to Baguio to spend their first week with my mom and my family. They have since been to Manila, Tagaytay, Palawan, and Subic. Since they arrived in the Philippines, they have reunited with relatives, town mates, high school and college friends and teachers. They still have Cebu, Bohol and Sagada in their itinerary before finally going back home in California, USA, and to another chapter in their lives.
My brother is 58 years old and his wife is 57. They both just very recently retired from work. They have three lovely daughters who are now all professionals.
When I first heard of their plans for early retirement, I was surprised and puzzled. After all, I considered them to be at the prime of their lives. But then, seeing them now, happy and fulfilled, doing what they have dreamt of doing for years, I realize they are focusing on what is significant in their lives.
Their visit reminds me of this beautiful 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 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 spent YOUR dash?
My Dearest Kuya Rey and Ate Zita,
“What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash.”
I am glad that you have included in your retirement plans, coming home to see our beautiful country. I don’t know if at the end of your vacation, you will conclude that indeed, “It’s more fun in the Philippines!” But, I am certainly happy that you have decided to come back to your roots.
I know that both of you have come home not only to see Mommy, visit Daddy’s tomb, visit our hometown, check out your ancestral homes, and see our beautiful country, but especially to touch base with the Carmelites, relatives and friends.
Somehow, I know too, that you are looking into ways of giving back in thanksgiving to God, for your life’s many blessings. For indeed, this is what significant living is all about. Sir Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” Your visit is a timely reminder for me to focus on what is truly important in life. Giving back in gratitude is one of them.
Allow me then at this point to extend my belated thanks for opening your home to my family when we first went to the USA and even in our succeeding visits. Maybe I thanked you dutifully then, but this time, I am appreciating you and the memories we made, more fully.
Kuya, I know I have not asked you directly, but I have a strange feeling that one of the reasons for your decision to retire early and do the things you have always dreamt of doing was the many little physical ailments that you have started feeling the past few years, maybe from the stressors at work. I wonder!
Time to face our mortality? I have known of how you both worked hard and sacrificed to provide for your family. But then, how long will our “special dash” last? Did you ask yourselves of things you’d like changed?
Yes indeed, “you never know how much time is left that can still be rearranged.”
I am so happy that that you have decided to live your dash, “slowing down enough to consider what’s true and real”. I am so happy that you are reaching out to reconnect and appreciate the people who matter in your lives.
May this poem remind you to keep on doing what you are now doing. May it remind us all to “live our dash” by living significantly and “making every moment matter”. Our life is just a small dash, compared to eternity in heaven. Let’s make sure we “live our dash” worthily to make it to heaven.
“Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
- Psalm 90:12
A “Live your dash” – Make every moment matter – Linda Ellis
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on February 16, 2013.