Summing Up a Life

For many of us, the past year has moved death from a distant idea to a dreary reality. Our American culture and our own denial do their darnedest to keep us from the fact of death. Ironically, an invisible virus has made death far more visible to many.

A few weekends ago, we attended a graveside service. As we walked up a hill holding the remains of hundreds, we sought to walk carefully around gravestones marking lives. I was struck by the reality that a thin dash represents is meant to represent someone’s life. Two dates glued together by a meager mark are somehow supposed to capture the entirety of a human life.

I feel the same way when the Scriptures sum up the life of a saint in a sentence like, “Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him” (Gen. 5:24). Some people get a paragraph or two, others get a few chapters to contain a life. Obituaries conure a similar dissatisfaction in me. An entire life summed up in a short clipping? It doesn’t sit well with my soul.

And yet, for the believer in Christ, all that is lacking in those dashes and laconic lines is known, seen, and treasured by God Himself. For we know every day is designated, every hair numbered, and every tear collected. Not only are we known, we have eternal days of life ahead of us.

For the Divine came and made a dash that our dashes might be only prelude to the life that is truly life. In the midst of the heavy reality of death, may our souls be buoyed to hope.

A Dash

To sum up a life with a dash
Seems minimalistic and rash.

As doorways, life and death
Bookend the days of breath.

All that unfolds in-betwixt
A thin little line depicts?

The laughter and the tears,
The compounding of years? 

The profound and alluring,
The mundane and boring?

You linger over every line
With full knowledge divine;

All lives are seen in your light;
Nothing is hid from your sight.

Yet You came to our earth
By way of a human birth.

Dying, they gave you a dash,
Rising, death you did slash.

Our dashes are merely prelude
For a life of eternal magnitude.

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