Courtney S. Barr

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The dash....

Sadly I spent Monday at a funeral. Marcus' first cousin Derek passed away on Friday, September 21, 2007. He was 28, we think it was a stroke (he had been having some high blood pressure issues). The funeral of course was terribly sad, any funeral is, but when you see someone who is so close to your age lying there peacefully it slaps you in the face. The preacher who spoke at the chapel discussed one of the most interesting concepts: our dash. We all have been to a cemetary, all of us have seen a headstone bearing names of people we know or wish we could have known. There are always those headstones with years that seem so long ago, we feel sorrow at those that were born & died on the same day, those that seemed so young, and we feel surprise at those that lived so long. We focus on the two dates: birth & death. Seeing only the number that the years create. But that dash there between the dates truly is the life that person lived. The dash represents all the heartaches, happiness, anger, love that was shared or lost within the years. The preacher spoke of how we all need to think about how we are living our 'dash', whether or not we would feel fulfilled if today were our last day or now our last moments. There is no perfect way to live our dash, we are all human therefore we are all imperfect. For me that imperfection is part of what makes our 'dash' so spectacular. Mistakes are made every day by me & I am better for each of them when I go to bed. I may not yet know they were made or their depth, but a choice made changed something in my life. Those changes are worth waking up for, working for, & believing in. Consequences are not always negative, seeing the silver lining & not being able to access it teaches us endurance & faith. For even when out of reach, knowing that there is something to reach for creates faith. A life without faith can become empty quickly. We all have some sort of faith perhaps not always the spiritual kind, but a form of faith. We place faith in friends & family to be there when we have troubled times. We place faith in ourselves to continue to get up & do something every day. It pushes us when we are down & lifts us up even higher when we are happy. My dash is full of faith, hope, love, impatience, anger, dislike, romance, sorrow, every word to describe and emotion or action is here in my 'dash'. Already I have experienced so much, I do so hope that there are many years to experience so much more, but if time slipped away I do know that I have loved, I have been heartbroken, I have been loved, I have endured, I have grown, I have impacted, I have been affected, I have lived. I thank God for faith; for us being imperfect, for allowing us to see our mistakes, to have the opportunity to make a mark in this world, God granted me life & I hope that I am living it worthy of his presence, so that he will smile when he looks upon my 'dash' some day...


  1. Courtney, I'm so sorry for the loss of yours and Marcus's cousin. It's interesting that the preacher talked about the dash, I had just reread a poem the other day called the dash and have been thinking of it intermittitly thru the past week. I'll email it to you. I hope ya'll find comfort this week.

    Love you!

  2. Courtney, My heart goes out to you and Marcus. You think of strokes as something that happens to old folks, not 20-somethings like ourselves. I was very touched by your post. I will pray for ya'lls continued comfort at this difficult time. On another note, I want to have ya'll over for dinner sometime sooner than later. I have always been impressed by you both, and want to know you better. Let's set something up.


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