"Life Is a Dash"
(by: Marilyn Tam)

8-20-03 Church Within SOW Seeds Service - Story #254

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Greetings my Dearest Sisters and Brothers, and welcome again to Church Within's Story of the Week ["SOW Seeds”].

This week's SOW Seeds Story, contributed by: Minister Mary Huggins

Story of the Week
Life Is a Dash
(by: Marilyn Tam)

        My dear friend, Glenn, is an emergency room physician and medical director. In the 30 years he's been practicing medicine, he has seen many near-death situations and many people die. It has given him an interesting perspective on our culture's attitude toward life and death. He says that we put the dates of a person's birth and death on a gravestone with only a dash in between to denote their life and contribution. For example, all we know from a gravestone inscribed with the words, Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), is that Abraham Lincoln was 56 years old when he died. We do not know that he literally held the United States of America together when it might have split apart, that he freed the slaves, and that he was a powerful orator whose vision and speeches moved a nation.

        The dash symbolizes our entire lives---the time we have to create meaning for our families, our communities, our countries, the world, and ourselves. We are the ones responsible for what we do with our lives. We are the ones who will one day look back and determine whether the life we lived was happy and if it was one we were proud to have lived. Like Abraham Lincoln, we do not know when our lives may end, so we need to ask the question now: "What is the purpose of our lives?" For an individual or a company, the answer to that question determines the mission.

        When you think about that dash---the length of your life between your birth and death---what do you want it to say about you? Ask yourself what is most important instead of what is most urgent. What gives you joy and a sense of satisfaction?

        These are the big questions that you need to answer in order to proceed in life. Some people find it by taking time to meditate and reflect. Other people find it after encountering some life-threatening incident. And others find it after being hit by some emotional or financial disaster. The key to finding it is to ask yourself honestly and fearlessly: What really makes you happy? What gives you inner peace?

        Ultimately it is the relationships that you make with yourself and with your family and friends you value that is important. Make a commitment to yourself and to your loved ones that you are going to devote your time to what is going to make you happy and proud of your "Dash."

[Excerpted from “How to Use What You've Got to Get What You Want” by Marilyn Tam]

The Prayer
Dear God,        
        The Relationship with my Family and Friends is the most important thing in my life---Second Only to my Relationship with You!

You ALL are Within the Infinitely Loving Embrace of our Universal Parent,

The Creator's Eternal Love to all of You,
Pastor Daniel

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