Hello and welcome back to Second Chance to Live. I hope you are doing well today. Last night I attended an event. During the event I saw some framed pictures on one of the walls where the event was being held. These pictures drew my attention. As I looked at the people in these pictures – whom I had know over the years – I was reminded that some of them were no longer living. As I thought about the reality of their deaths and passing I thought about my own mortality.
One day, I too will also pass away and be gone forever. I do not share this reality in sadness, but in the reality that until that time I can choose to use my time, energy, gifts, talents and abilities in ways that work for me to positively impact my world and the lives of individuals who are brought into my life. I would like to share a revised and updated article with you that I wrote and published on Second Chance to Live in June 2007 under the title of The Dash.
Several days ago, Ruth Bell Graham, Billy Graham’s wife passed away. I was fortunate to be present at the public service earlier today. Her life covered a span of 87 years. At the service, I listened to different members of her family eulogize her life. As I listened I heard the positive and lasting memories that she had upon the lives of family, friends and the people whom God brought into her life. I was sad for the family, but happy for Mrs. Graham because she passed to a place by grace through faith where there is no more sorrow or pain. Her tears are being wiped away. On a personal note my Dad passed away on January 10, 2007. I wrote an article to share what I learned through the passing of my Dad. To read that article, please click on the following highlighted link, Hello World. Although our family was sad at my Dad’s passing, we believe he is in a much better place, as is Mrs. Graham.
What struck me as I watched Mrs. Graham’s memorial service was that she is gone forever as my Dad is gone forever.
The reality is that people die many times each day. Television shows and movie screens often desensitize us to the finality of that reality. The finality of death does not seem to sink in until someone close to us dies. That is what happened to me after my Dad died. I was reminded — with stark reality — that life does indeed end. Remarkably…we are here on this earth for an appointed amount of time and then we are no more. Memories live on in our families and close friends, but for many more we are only an obituary in the local newspaper. The time we had been given will be swallowed by eternity. When death comes, our light on this earth will be extinguished. We will be no more. Our appointed time will end and the dash between the date we were born and the date that we died will be filled in forever. Our ability to use the time that we were given – between the dashes – will be no more.
“Footprints on the sands of time are not made by sitting down.” – Unknown
My point is that our lives are of much worth and value. Although we may have sustained a traumatic brain injury, been born with or acquired some other kind of disability, or been the victim of spiritual, emotional, physical or sexual abuse we still have the power to choose. What may seem to be limiting our lives, no longer has to limit who we are as individuals. We can choose to learn and grow from our experiences. We can choose to be true to ourselves and find ways to use our gifts, talents and abilities in ways that work for us. We can choose to learn how to channel what has occurred in our lives to herald hope. We can choose to use what has been given to us – with our time and energy — to be a conduit of confidence in the lives of the people who want what we have to give. We can choose to live our lives in such a way to leave lasting footprints on the sand of time.
When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, “I used everything you gave me.” Erma Bombeck
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