Today I was at funeral. It was sad, tragic but most of all inspiring. At the young age of 30 years old, a recent friend of mine Sara passed away from cancer. Of the hundreds who attended the service, we all mourned but also smiled. Sara was special.
As the sun shone and I stared upon the celebration of a life that was, it was one word that filled us all with needed perspective; dash
The dash you see is the that tiny symbol located on a tomb stone right in-between someone’s date of birth and the date of passing. Although seemingly unimportant, the dash represents everything you do in your life. We have no say in birth and death is but one moment, so when all is said is done it’s this dash in the middle that we should concentrate on. It is our lifespan.
A poem titled The Dash, written by Linda Ellis, explains this concept beautifully and as the words were bravely recited by someone close to Sarah, we all sat and listened.
What is your dash? If it’s anything like Sara’s, you’d be resting well.
Sarah and I met at a talk that I gave recently. An email she wrote to me soon after explained that after being diagnosed with a terminal illness, it was a list of desired experiences (a bucket list if you will) that she scribed that gave her hope and inspiration to push on through pain and adversity. From sleeping under the stars and skinny dipping, to having a picnic on a desert island and inspiring someone, Sarah’s list was recently shared on air when she was interviewed by the lovely Ben Fordham on Sydney’s 2GB radio station. Highlighting her story of resilience and positivity, Ben challenged all listeners to see if they could help Sarah complete as many items from her list as possible. The result left me in tears as I listened intently on my radio at home- in the space of roughly 30 minutes Sarah had received offers that would aid almost all of her items. From people offering time, money and plenty more, it was Sara’s excitement and humbleness at chasing her dreams that we all admired.
Listening today to stories of her past, it turns out that Sara’s drive had always been apparent, her list was just a recent extension of what had been a life full of adventure. Without sharing too many details, it was clear that laughter, friendship and passion were at least three things that made her dash something far more outstanding than a short horizontal line.
In the past month she had been a passenger in a car at a drag-race, sent a message in a bottle (it was found!), and even been an extra in a TV show. Her life was hers as she made it; one that made her happy. This, to me, is the secret to everything; happiness. Of you and those around you.
Watch Sara tick off ‘Drag Racing’ above- thanks to 2GB and their listeners
A while ago I was being driven to a hotel when after talking about life in general the driver turned around to me and said this;
‘A life may be short or it may be long, but the tragedy is not death itself; the tragedy is living a life that you didn’t enjoy’.
I couldn’t agree more.
I just then looked at Sara’s list that she began on this very site and noticed one item that stood out above the others- Number 41- Inspire Someone. After only a short time of knowing Sara, I can say with absolute certainly Sara that you have achieved that beyond comprehension.
Thank you for showing us the light and inspiring us all with your dash. Our thoughts are with you, your family and friends.
Number 41- TICK!
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 would 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 is 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 have 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?
100 Things… What’s on your list?