• Barbara A. Zotara

Volunteering In The Dash

Updated: Mar 3

“The Dash” is a poem by Linda Ellis that inspires us to live our lives while we are alive. A critical line in the poem reads: "If we could just slow down enough to consider what is true and real and always try to consider the way other people feel.”

Wow, how powerful!! In this hurried age in which we live, we rarely slow down to consider anything, even when we are relaxing. We would rather numb our minds and think about nothing after a stress filled day at work, or tend to our families’ needs at home.

What would we consider if we just took 30 minutes out of our day to think about what is “true and real”? Would we think about ourselves or the needs of others? I have a dear friend who knows someone near her who is going through a difficult financial time. Last week, she took some time out of her very busy life to bring this person a hot meal and a much needed shoulder. My friend had gone through some tough times of her own, so she knew what a visit could mean. Sometimes just knowing someone cares, means more than anything.

No grand gesture, no expensive gift needed – only an hour of her time.

Volunteering is not a grand gesture, it is simply showing you care. Read to a child or a senior, visit someone who is ill, offer to babysit so a single mom can have some alone time, or hug a friend who really needs one, watch what happens in their eyes and in your heart.

Remember the Christmas show about the Grinch and how his heart grew after he saved his dog and the toys. You can have the same feeling of fullness in your heart too.

After you finishing reading this, take a few minutes to consider how you are living your dash.

Are you proud of what you see?


the poem by Linda Ellis

I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend. He referred to the dates on the tombstone from the beginning… to the end.

He noted that first came the date of birth and spoke of 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 they spent alive on earth and now only those who loved them 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 still can be rearranged.

To 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 is being read, with your life’s actions to rehash, would you be proud of the things they say about how you lived your dash?

Barbara A. Zotara

Senior Managing Director

VIBE Home Makeover/Trilogy Agency


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