Living In The Dash

Went to a funeral this week and have another one this weekend. As a Christian we like to call them “A Celebration of Life.” And it is. When we have lived our life in Christ, for Christ, it is a life well lived. Like Billy Graham use to say, “ I’m not going to be dead, I will have just changed my address.”  That is true for one who dies in Christ. Romans 6:8 says, “if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him.”

On the headstone or grave marker there is the name with date of birth — date of death. There is a dash between them. Unless it is the death of a baby or someone young there is much that happens between birth and death. 
We call it life.
Even as a Christian death is bittersweet. We rejoice that our loved one or friend is in heaven with Christ, perhaps no longer in pain or suffering, but we who are still here grieve the loss. Our heart hurts. We have memories. We miss the physical touch of the hugs and kisses, hearing the laughter and even the cries. We chuckle at stories we remember.
Why… because we remember the — (dash) the life of our loved one or friend.
For me, in my early years I thought I was living life. It wasn’t happy at times, even chaotic and very dysfunctional most all of the time.  Circumstances happen, bad situations take place and adjustments are made. But I thought this was how life was led. You go through the motions, do what you think you’re supposed to do and keep on going, doing the best you can do until the end!
It wasn’t until I became a Christian that I began to live life. Accepting Christ and turning my life over to Him was the best decision I have ever made. I realized that I was now truly living.
At this celebration of life, we heard of a life lived for Christ. A man who left a legacy of faithfulness to his wife, an example to his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, extended family members and friends. He enjoyed life; even when there were difficult times he understood real living came from Christ. Living in the ability to choose to love, forgive often; hold no wrong accounts towards another, being salt and light as the Word of God tells us we are to be. He received wisdom and counsel on how to live life from the One who gave us life–JESUS.
When it comes time to have a celebration of my life, I want people to be full of joy knowing that I lived life to the fullest. I want to leave a legacy to my children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, other family and friends of a life lived in Christ and for Christ. I want them to be able to say they saw Christ in me, our hope of our glory as Colossians 1:27 says.
While going through cancer I decided then that I was not going to live in the land of regret—no matter the outcome. I packed up and moved from that neighborhood! I don’t want to come to the end of this life, as we know it and be regretful that I didn’t do (or did do) something I should have.  
I want to be salt and light wherever I go to others. I want people to see Jesus in me. Yes, that is hard to do sometimes—sometimes I want to lay hands on somebody suddenly… you know what I’m talkin’about!  But, that only means I get to choose how I will respond, how I will live my life. The Bible says there is LIFE and death in the tongue. Another words, what we say WILL impact not only our life, but also those around us.
Let’s choose to live life!
Tell those around us we love them, often. Compliment others when we see something worth complimenting.  Smile at one who needs a smile. Hold our tongue when we want to give a harsh word. Help someone when you can be of assistance.
So I want to leave you with this thought today… are you really living life or just merely existing?
We don’t know how long we have that choice to fully live life. Our days here on this earth are not known to us; each day is a gift. Because you are reading this, you have been given another day, my friend…
choose to live in between the —(dash)!
Blessings to you,