Are you living your dash?

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

God has blessed me with a few real good friends.  Tom Smith 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 said that 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?


When speaking to different groups about living the good life so that they can leave a positive legacy, I often ask, “Are you living your dash?”  No one knows what I’m talking about.  I then share the above poem and it gets people’s attention.


If you have any questions, or comments, please write to Get High on Life, P.O. Drawer U, Reserve, LA 70084, call 504-881-0113, or email