A few months ago I went to a funeral reception for a friend. Of course, never the most enjoyable of situations. It occurred rather quickly and unexpected so there was not much time to ponder on the ramification.
It was a small quiet affair with maybe thirty people there. It was perhaps your typical expected small gathering with a clergy delivering some kind words with the usual playing of the deceased favorite songs. Next came a few people to speak about their life or events which had occurred in the past and made obvious memorable markers in those people’s lives. Some of the events others no doubt might have shared at the time.
One particular individual which took to the podium was his grand-daughter. She spoke highly of her grand-father of course but what struck me particularly was an observation she revealed which her grand-father had revealed to her when visiting a graveyard some time in the past.
She may have said who’s grave they had visited at the time but I do not recall. It appeared that she was quite young when the visit took place but she remembered clearly what he had told her.
He asked her what the first set of numbers under that person’s name represented. She replied accurately that it was the year that the person was born. Then he asked her what the second number represented. Again she answered correctly that it was the year that the person died. I really don’t know how old she was when this even took place but I believe she likely was very young. If so she no doubt looked at her grand-father with some degree of pride that she answered his questions correctly.
Now for me at this point sitting in the audience I recall thinking, interesting but what point is she leading us to. Then she continued with her story.
The next thing her grand-father asked her was, “what is that little line in between the first and second number?”
I have no doubt that she must have looked at her grand-father with a certain degree of confusion. Certainly today as I sat there I did. My immediate thought was….. “what? The line between the numbers? It’s just a clean text break between them.”
In reflection and as she looked at us sitting there, no doubt with more than me with a confused look on our faces. She recounted her grand-father looking down at her and announcing that the little line represents that person’s LIFE. It is the time they spent on this earth between the time they were born and the time they died.
Well I must say I was gobsmacked…. I was equally amazed on how true an analogy that was. I was even more impressed by my deceased friend. I never thought he had that kind of deep retrospective view on life.
As I do my own reflection on the statement I am amazed at how true it is. As a function of time our own time on this earth is fleeting and that the numbers before and after the hyphen are much larger and occupy a much larger space. So in a way it is fitting that the hyphen is much smaller, it only strengthens the fact that our time here is not long by comparison to before and after we have departed. In that light equally we should not waste it on petty quarrels or unproductive negativity.
Now after this somber visit with my friend for the last time I don’t think I will ever look at a hyphen in the same way. And now equally I pray that God will grant me a long and meaningful hyphen.
As a closing quote, which I do not know who originally said it but I have seen it often lately on signs, and I think quite appropriate here…..
“It’s not the years of life that matter but the life you put in the years”.
(If you like what you read…please let me know …I’d love to know who has visited me….leave a comment…one word is great….THANKS)
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