Keller: Are you living your ‘dash’?

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 14, 2019

God has blessed me with a few good friends.  Tom Smith, former bank president of Omni Bank, is one of them.

A few years ago, as we were talking, he handed me something to read.  It was the eulogy of Ben Rawlins, 1938 – 2000, president of Union Planters Bank.  Notice the dash between 1938 – 2000.  Mr. Rawlins’ best friend gave the eulogy, which described 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 had no idea he would be sharing the following poem at his best friend’s funeral.


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 his date of birth
And spoke the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years. (1938 – 2000)

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 actions to rehash…
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?

If you have any questions, or comments, please write to Harold Keller at Get High on Life, P.O. Drawer U, Reserve, LA 70084, call (985) 652-8477, or e-mail: