"The Dash"
As a child the term "the dash" meant finding out who could run the fastest in a race.  Getting a new pair of sneakers was a special occasion, so whenever someone got a new pair they put them immediately and challenged their friends, siblings and classmates to do "the dash" down the street or on the school playground.  Ah yes, fond memories of the simple life of childhood include the joy of "the dash".

In high school, "the dash" was taken to a different level for me as it represented being on the track team.  I wanted to be a short distance runner, 100 yard dash, (showing my age here since this was prior to using metric measurements) because it fit my high energy. I loved the thought of not having to train for long distances and the immediate gratification of a short race. A lot of other students had the same idea and many of them were much faster than me.  The coach decided the best race for me would be the 440 (now called the 400 meter).

The 440 consists of one full lap around the football field.  It's a killer race because the distance is too long for a sprint yet it requires pacing yourself with speed spurts, especially at the beginning and end of the race.  Unlike the 100 yard dash, which is a short, straight, full speed sprint; the 440 requires a lot of time training to be effective and utilize your speed efficiently. 

Lucky me - I got to run it three times in our track meets: the individual 440; the mile relay and the mile medley in which I was the anchor runner. 

Training for this distance required a great deal of physical and mental workouts.  The mind and body talk to you during that intense minute or so while you are alone in your thoughts; pushing your body to perform.  The competition is personal as well as team-driven.  My best times were always during the relays, striving to bring home a victory for my team.  Team efforts and team support lift others up to achieve more and the synergy is empowering and exciting.  Herein lies another great life lesson; surrounding yourself with family and friends for support and encouragement doubles the joy and divides the sorrow.

Fast forward to life at fifty. Now the term "the dash" has taken on a new meaning for me after experiencing the loss of loved ones. The mark between two years (birth and death) is "the dash". The dash indicates our LIFE.  The small dash (-) represents many things we take for granted.  Reflecting on “the dash” when reading an obituary brings a flood of emotions as we contemplate current circumstances in our own lives.  Our heart and mind hit the pause button. Our perspective about the chaos in our life often changes when we learn a loved one has passed away.

Ironically, people are more aware of "the dash" when celebrating the birth of a child or life of someone at a funeral or memorial.  I choose to say "celebrating" even at a funeral because my belief is in eternal life with Jesus and the days or years we spend in our earthly body is a time for us to enjoy LIFE and impact the lives of others, which will be our legacy.  Embrace your dash.

The poem "THE DASH" by Linda Ellis is a powerful and emotional reminder of what life represents. I encourage you to take a moment and listen to the author read the poem Click Here; or read it via the book The Dash.

I hope this poem inspires you as much as it did me and its effect lingers a long time, or better yet, forever, in our hearts!   I hope to make the dash of my life, no matter how short or long it may be, something worth remembering.   

"Let us live so that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry." - Mark Twain

Much like the running the 440, I've learned it's not about a sprint but rather about one lap around the track, one stride (one day) at a time. It’s about feeling exhilarated by air filling our lungs, by the sights our eyes behold, the feel of the earth beneath our feet and all the emotions that tell us we are alive. 

The next time you see a sign in a cafe that says "Today's Special", smile and remind yourself; yes, TODAY IS SPECIAL!

Enjoy this clip from the movie "Coach Carter" shares another powerful poem called "Our Deepest Fear".  You are special. 

Your dash is right now. It's the race of your life ~ LIVE WELL my friend!


Until next month…TCOY!

Coach Lucy  

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