During the Dash-Time


Last updated 9/10/2018 at 4:45pm

Finally! It looked like we were really going on vacation. My husband had finished his doctor appointments and felt fine for our first vacation since his cancer diagnosis. My son and I had taken time off work. My daughter had arranged to register for high school when she returned. So we gathered our clothes to leave the next morning.

Then I got the message from Janie’s sister. Janie and I became friends during our Bible college days right after high school. Through the following decades, sometimes we saw each other more, and sometimes less, but we were still tight. She knew me better than anyone, including my family.

Janie and I had been too busy to get together during the summer. Now her sister let me know Janie had just been diagnosed with stage-four cancer that had spread to her lymph nodes and liver. Janie was too sick to see anyone; she would start chemo immediately.

During our vacation, I fervently prayed for Janie. I sent messages of encouragement and hoped she’d feel up to a visit soon. But two weeks from Janie’s diagnosis she was gone. Absent from the body; present with the Lord.

Nearly a week later, I took my husband, Mark, and son to the airport so they could fly to a reunion of Mark’s childhood pals. Mark had first organized the annual reunion a decade earlier, hoping to share the gospel with his friends.

I dropped the men off and dashed across town to Janie’s memorial service. The service caused me to yet again thank God for the woman who’d given me her decades-long gift of friendship, even while I had a hard time believing that she was gone.

A couple of days later I picked up the guys from the airport. Mark said another childhood pal who was a Christian had joined them this year. In fact, two of the guys were Christians. Mark chatted about that and about how healthy his friends were compared to him.

That’s why Mark was surprised to get the phone call the next morning. After Mark had left for the airport to fly home, the remaining guys found that one of the men, one of the Christians, had died during the night.

So naturally, Mark and I have both been grieving and thinking a lot about death the past week. Both deaths were so sudden. As I looked again at the program from Janie’s service, I noticed the dates: 1961–2018. The beginning of my friend’s life and the end of my friend’s time on earth. Then I noticed the dash. The dash was where we became friends. During the dash-time, she served Jesus and became a formidable Bible scholar. During the dash-time she loved others extravagantly and gave generously. Because of what she did during that dash-time, even though she’s no longer on earth, her influence, the fruits of her life live on.

Janie lived her dash in such a way that she finished her race on earth well, and so did my husband’s friend, Rick. How about us? We’re still in the dash-time of our lives. Are we living in such a way that our legacy of faith will continue? May the Lord help us realize what and Who really matters in our life on earth.


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