When my wife, Miriam, was asked to read a poem called The Dash at the funeral of a close friend, I learnt, that the dash referred to was the hyphen between the person’s year of birth and the year of death. The poem then asked how we spend our dash in living, loving and treating others with respect. This is more important than the mere accumulation of wealth and possessions.
In other words, it is not the years in our life that count, but the life in those years.
But another idea of “dash” came to me. At my school sports there was an 80 yards dash for mums and dads. It was a race for pride, but one full of laughter and amusement.
At the Olympic Games the dashes or races are more serious. Victory is achieved at the expense of long years of training and dedication. Speeches made by athletes after the events thanked their coaches for advice and motivation.
At the recent Olympic Games, Usain St.Leo Bolt was the master of the dash, the winner of the 100 and 200 metres sprints. Before each race he made the sign of the Cross, declaring his Christian belief. It is a belief he lives out in his life, giving back to the Jamaican people his surplus wealth to develop education and medical facilities. Through his Foundation he gives more money to charitable causes.
The passage from St Paul’s letters (1 Corinthians 9, 26-27), that links how we can live our dash, our life, and prepare for the dash, says
Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.