If you have ever read or heard the famous poem “The Dash” by Linda Ellis, you understand the importance of a life well lived. Having the awesome responsibility of attempting to relate someone else’s “dash” in the form of a eulogy can be hard and taxing work; when it is the life of your parents or sibling, it is emotionally draining also. I’ve had that responsibility for two of my brothers just in the past 10 weeks. Even though we laid my last brother to rest about three weeks ago, I am just now starting to put the experience into perspective. I hope to not have to do that ever again – not soon anyway.
Writing someone else’s eulogy is not only an exercise in tracking down the important details of their lives, it is also important to relate how they made those around them satisfied with their own lives. It is the lessons that others learned from them and the joyful moments they shared that their loved ones will remember. Those memories of security and happiness are what end up really being their “dash”.
The one lesson I’ve from writing 7 (maybe more) eulogies in my life is to be very cognizant of how I am living my dash. How about you?
Because I co-host the daily call in show UpFront, I get stopped on the street by local citizens frequently. One of the most common questions I am asked is: “What is going on in the US today?”
It seems the craziness of politics has reached into everyone’s lives, even people who are normally not very political in their everyday lives. Many are concerned and worried due to events that seem to be spinning out of control and no one in authority seems to have any satisfactory answers. The only answer I can give that really makes sense to me comes from 1 John 5:19:
“We know that we belong to God, and the whole world is under the power of the evil one.”
Keep in mind that this world is the domain of sin and evil, run by mostly evil men fighting over power, money and prestige. When you choose to keep your focus on higher things than this world, it will make more sense and give you peace.
I saw a bumper sticker the other day that said “The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.” I believe this would indicate that the driver of the car doesn’t have a high opinion of people of faith. In his belief system, science is the ultimate arbiter of truth.
However, what science believers of his ilk fail to take into account (or willfully choose to ignore) is that science, no matter which discipline, is only as good as the data that go into the scientific conclusions. If a scientist chooses to manipulate the data from his experiment to support his hypothesis, no truth has been discovered. This happens all the time.
What people who express an unfailing belief in the results of scientific methods are really saying is that they have an unshakable faith in the integrity of the scientists. They are telling us that scientists are not subject to human failings such as pride, sloth, greed, envy or lust. That is a bridge too far for me.
I respect scientists and I understand that much of what we have in the modern world comes from the scientific method. However, I don’t put my faith in science. I study it, I marvel at it and I am happy to reap the benefits of the technology which comes from it. However, I don’t put my faith in it.
I put my faith in the revealed word of God who loves me and wants only what is good for me. The good thing about the Word is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.
“Be yourself – No one can ever tell you you’re doing it wrong.” – James Leo Herlihy
We are under pressure our entire lives to conform to the norm. It starts in grade school with our entrance into the school structure, where we learn about right and wrong answers. The conga line continues on into our teens years with peer pressure keeping us in line with what our supposed friends think is “cool”.
As young adults, we are admonished to be like our successful friends or college classmates, as if they have discovered some sort of secret to adult happiness through social or corporate climbing. Finally, as we mature, we start to hear exhortations about “not giving up on our dreams” while we are prodded to remain politically correct and socially acceptable.
My duty to myself and therefore to you is to tell you that it is all bunk. True happiness is found by being honest to yourself first and not living life others have imagined for you. If you want to know what will make you happy, you don’t need me or anyone else to point it out to you. Just listen to what your inner voice is telling you already.