Our Life is That Little Thing Between the Dates


I like rabbis. Having grown up Catholic, I tired early of what I was taught of the “God loves you/God is always watching you/If God approves of you, you will go to heaven ” mantra. It’s kind of like Santa Claus. “Be good, so you’ll get presents.” Hogwash.*

Rabbis always seemed more practical to me. And being a practical guy, I typically prefer their insights on life to other religions.

At a funeral service for the father of a colleague yesterday, the rabbi said something that really resonated with me:

“On every tombstone, there’s a date, a dash, and a date. The dates signify birth and death. The little dash, often overlooked, signifies what you did with your time in between.”

That should get all of us thinking. What are we doing with our lives? Most of us are given so many years; virtually endless hours to accomplish great things. Are we spending those years wisely? Are we chasing after things that matter, or just chasing? Are we truly present when we are with our families, or do we have one eye on the door, the other on our Facebook feed? Are we making contributions to our communities that will last after we are gone, whether from the neighborhood or from the earth? Are we conducting ourselves in a way that is kind, and invested in the welfare of others? Are we having an impact – regardless of how many people it touches – on the world around us?

What are you doing with your dash today?

*I am not intending to insult any religion with this statement. It’s my take on what I was taught. You may have a different experience.

7 thoughts on “Our Life is That Little Thing Between the Dates

  1. Had a beer with a buddy of mine yesterday who’s just starting a(nother) business and we talked very specifically about the “truly present when we are with our families” issue. You’re so on the money with that, I try to leave my phone in another room when I spend time with my awesome family, but I still have moments when I find myself wandering back over to it.

    Great post, great reminders.

    1. Thanks Jeff! Technology is such a double-edged sword for all of us. And we need to teach our kids by example. Imagine the distractions they will have to deal with when they are adults!

  2. Great post — it definitely rings true with me. My wife and I love to travel — maybe a little too much — but we’re creating awesome memories and experiences. I had quite the health scare last spring and was so thankful I had the chance to create those memories and I look forward to creating many more. There is so much more to life and we never know just how long we have.

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