Mostly it is loss which teaches us about the worth of things. ― Arthur Schopenhauer, Parerga and Paralipomena
This has been an exceptionally shitty month. I’ve tried to think of a more eloquent description, but my linguistic abilities have failed me. This entire month has been a series of unexpected and unfavorable news, which has left me depleted and discouraged.
By far the heaviest and most hurtful November news was learning about the unexpected loss of my sorority sister and friend, Mary.
Mary and I hadn’t spoken in awhile, but she was salt of the earth. Born and raised in Brooklyn, she was an Irish girl with an infectious laugh and a kind and generous heart. In recent years Mary had met and married the love of her life, had two children, and was happily living in the Garden State.
Tragically, she passed away two weeks ago. There are no words to accurately describe the loss of someone so beloved, especially so suddenly. This loss rocked many people for varying reasons, most of which are personal and profoundly sacred.
And while I’ve had the opportunity to pay my respects to her family, to her special squad, and in my own forms of prayerful conversation, to Mary herself, there’s more to do.
Death reminds us about the brevity and beauty of life. We remember and elevate the people and things worthy of our love, time, and talent. This Thanksgiving, I’m praying for Mary and her family. I’m grateful I knew her, thankful others loved her so well and often, and appreciative for palpable impact and influence via Mary’s example.
The world can be shitty at times and some months aren’t ours for the taking. However, there’s worth in everything and hope for everyone. Thanks for the lesson, Mary.
Despite some heavy hurdles, there’s happiness. Even in or through grief, there’s joy. Tomorrow I’m headed to the Thanksgiving table thinking about “The Dash” by Linda Ellis. For now, sweet Mary, I can simply write, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Thou hast been faithful over a few things; I will make thee ruler over many things” Matthew 25:23
I read of a man who stood to speak at a 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 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 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 still can be rearranged.
To 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 lived your dash?