Week 18 – The obits

The last couple of weeks we have been assigned the task of reading the daily obituaries.  And, then we were told to ask ourselves 3 questions:

  1. What would that person give to change places with me and have one more day?
  2. Who can I let people know how grateful I am for their presence today if it is my last?
  3. How will I behave today to finish the masterpiece of my life elegantly?

Those questions bring a lot to ponder.  And, then Og says in Scroll 5 to live today as if it was our last.

I remember seeing commercials for Cancer Treat Center of America where a lady had asked the doctor how much time she had when she had been diagnosed with cancer.  He stated that we do not have an expiration date stamped on our foot.  But, I believe that God knows our expiration date and he teaches in His Word that we know not the day or the hour.  I think we should do as Og said and live each day as if it was our last.

To me, that means giving it your “all” each and every day, treating others “special” each and every day, and being the best you can be each and every day.  I would hate to leave this world having been horrible to the people around me and leaving that legacy.  I want people to remember me as the one who did something special for them, said something positive to them, always acted respectful of everyone and giving every task set before me the “best” of me.

When reading those obituaries, some of them were just that the person lived, died, left loved ones behind.  Some of them do not say what they did in their “dash”, that time between their birth and their death.  But, I would bet that most of them made some impact on the lives of those they left behind and the ones that went on before them.  Some of the obituaries have been elaborate, telling all the awards and accomplishments the person achieved.  I think the difference in those people is that they just had someone with great writing skills write their obituary.  The ones that seemed so simple may have actually had the greatest impact – we just don’t know unless we actually knew the person and experienced that person.

What would those people give to have one more day?  Would they change places with me?  I think not unless they had a regret of not saying something or doing something they wanted to do.  I think it is the people left behind that would want that one more day.  Depending on how the person died, the people left behind may not have been able to say their “good-byes”, say the last “I love you”, “I’ll miss you”.  I think THEY are the ones who would want that “one more day”.  Assuming those that died were people of faith, they have their eternal home, their eternal glory.  They are in the best place and probably don’t want to turn back.  I know I wouldn’t.

My dad died suddenly.  He just had a heart attack and fell over dead.  We didn’t have the opportunity to say anything to him before he died.  I would pay anything to have one more day with him.  But, I bet he is happy where he is.  It’s us who are not happy.  It’s been 9 years and I still grieve for him.  I would love to have that one more day with him.  To walk and talk with him, tell him how much he meant to me, give him one more hug.  But, would I know that it was his last day?  Why didn’t I do that on the last day I saw him?  Why didn’t I do that every time I saw him?

We need to tell the people in our lives how grateful we are for them, how much they mean to us, treat them special.  Then, when they are gone, we will have no regrets as to what we should have said or should have done to make their world a little brighter.

So, from this day forward, I am going to live each day as if it were my last.  I want to leave a legacy of always being positive, supportive and full of life.  I want people to remember me as a wonderful person.  I want people to smile when they hear my name.  I want my “dash” to matter!

The Dash
by Linda Ellis copyright 1996

I read of a man who stood to speak
at the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on the tombstone
from the beginning…to the end.

He noted that first came the date of birth
and spoke 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 they spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved them
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?

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