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By: W.A. Dillard

An immigrant, not privileged to formal education signed her name Le—a. After three wrong guesses the immigration officer asked her to pronounce her name. She replied in haltering English, “Tha dash not silent. It be LeDASHa!”
Perhaps this story brings a chuckle to those who hear it, but there is a great truth to be gleaned from it. The dash really is not silent! How many times have you casually strolled through a cemetery? As you read the tombstones, you always saw two dates. The first one was the date of birth of the individual interred there. The second date was the date of death. In between those two dates is a dash. That dash represents all the years that particular individual lived on earth and interacted with others. What about all those years? What happened in the dash? Was that person loved and loving? Did he or she trust in Christ Jesus as their personal Savior? Did they serve Him with the force of their life? Were they a blessing to others, ready for that last date to arrive?
The inscriptions on the stone may identify the entombed person as a unique individual, separated from all others, but it is the dash that contains the multifaceted story of a life that was known among us. That dash represents joy, love, responsibility, opportunity, and all other things sandwiched between two important dates: the beginning and the end. What are we writing into the “dash” of our own unique dates? Wisdom bids us to hasten to do the things that are good, the things that we would. For as surely as you have a birthday, you also have a death-day. But these are not the things people will remember you for, and they are not the things that are important in heaven’s record. It is the dash, friends. The dash is not silent, it is the sum of earthly life!

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