Thursday, March 1, 2012

What's in your dash?

    There is an advertisement running on my television these days that uses the phrase "what's in your wallet?" and then goes on to extol the virtues of a particular credit card.   It's a cute ad and a catchy phrase.  Probably sells credit cards.

   Last week I attended a memorial service for a member of our church.  The dates on his tombstone are too close together.  He died in what could still be considered the prime of life.  The dash between his dates is not long enough, and yet that dash was filled with love and service.  The preacher said our friend was blessed with a "servant's heart."  He went where there was need, just because there was a need.  He didn't set out to win accolades, or affection or brownie points.  Our friend volunteered because he saw a need.  At the service, his children repeated their family motto, "do your best and give back to your community."  My friend's dash will go far beyond his final date.

    Got me to thinking about other dashes.  My grandmother had a very long dash.  She lived to be 98.  What was in that space?  Ten children, a happy marriage, a  commitment to community and an abiding faith in God.  Pretty good dash. 

    As a young princess,Queen Elizabeth II, pledged her life to the service of her people.  She is now celebrating sixty years of that service.  A long and significant dash.

     I know of other dashes that don't hold much except the passage of time.  Some dashes are filled with the pursuit of fame and fortune.  Others are filled with scandal and shame.          

     Got me to thinking about my own dash.  What's in there?  Friends, family, a couple of books, love, faith.  Is it enough?  Can I give more?  My friend was my age when he died.  I'll have a longer dash than his.  Can I make it count?

      It's a tough question.  God gave us each unique gifts.  Much as we admire someone else, we are not that person.  Romans 12:6-8
reminds us that we are to preach or heal or encourage by the grace God has given us.  So my dash won't be the same as my friend's, or my mother's, or yours.  But I hope it's a good dash.

    So, "what's in your dash?"

 Alice Valdal is a wife, writer, volunteer, singer, friend, choir leader, cat lover, sister, aunt, great-aunt, papergirl, knitter ... 
She doesn't keep a regular blog, other than for her church, but she does up-date her home page every month.  You can visit her at
Check out her church blog at


  1. Great, thought provoking post, Alice, thanks. I, too, hope my dash is a good one. : )

  2. Alice, what a thought-provoking post & one I really enjoyed. Thanks for getting us thinking about life's meaning--and making it personal!

  3. Thanks Tessa and Caroline. In re-reading my post I was thinking the word dash is appropriate in another way, as in a race. Remember the 100 yard dash?

  4. I thought that too Alice. It's all about running the race as we are reminded in the bible.