Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 18, 2000

Harold Keller / L’Observateur / October 18, 2000

God has blessed me with a few real good friends. Tom Smith of UnionPlanters Bank is one of them. I drop in the bank once in a while to visit withhim. Our talks are mostly about our families, business or conditions in thecommunity.

Last week, as we were talking, he handed me something to read. It was theeulogy of Ben Rawlins, 1938-2000, president of Union Planters. Notice thedash between 1938 and 2000. Mr. Rawlins’ best friend gave the eulogy, whichdescribed Ben as a man with integrity, intelligence and, above all, a Christian.

He shared how just a few weeks prior to Ben’s death, he had set up the theme, “Living Your Dash,” for the annual planning conference with 150 key associates from Union Planters. He said that he had no idea he would besharing the following poem at his best friend’s funeral:

“Are You Living Your Dash?

I read of a man who stood to speak At the funeral of a friend.

He referred to the dates on his tombstone From the beginning…to the end.

He noted that first came the date of birth And spoke the following date with tears, But he said what mattered most of all Was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time That he spent alive on earth…And now only those who loved him Know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not how much we own The cars…the house…the cash,What matters is how we live and love And how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard Are there things you’d like to change? For you never know how much time is left, That can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough To consider what’s true and real, And always try to understand The way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger, And show appreciation more And love the people in our lives Like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect, And more often wear a smile…Remembering that this special dash Might only last a little while.

So when your eulogy’s being read With your life’s actions to rehash…Would you be proud of the things they say About how you spent your dash?”

HAROLD KELLER writes this column as part of his affiliation with the Get High on Life religious motivational group.

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