That is the span of years I have been living on the earth (and I hope to keep living on this planet for quite a few more, thank you very much). As I've been flexing my introspective muscles lately I've been considering the dash. That little punctuation mark that symbolizes sooooo much. The dash is where I have been, where I am now, and where I will be until the 2010 becomes a 2011 and so forth.
Within the span of that dash I have loved, said good-bye to loved ones, laughed, cried, learned, been hurt & done some hurting, spoken in anger, comforted, listened, smiled, prayed, danced, jumped in puddles, made mud pies, tattled on siblings, cut my own hair, skinned my elbows and knees (and somehow managed to NEVER break a bone), experienced highs and lows, conquered fears, and so much more than I can express or mention in this blog.
All of that, and days not yet lived and experienced to come. How I've filled that dash and am using it matter, but what matters most is how I will use it in the future. Will I be selfish? Giving? Raise my voice in anger or temper it with love? Will I achieve goals I have now or realize new and better ones? I don't know. Talking with a friend today, talking about life in general, I said, "You can make plans, but you can't really plan for life." I can try to create contingency plans for a wide range of scenarios, but life is unexpected and unpredictable and can quickly lay waste to any well laid plans. Scary, yes, but also exciting -- at least that's what I'm trying to convince myself of.
Would I like to have someone tell me what choices to make alone each step of my journey? Absolutely! However, I also know that would quickly get old and I'd begin to chafe against the bonds deciding my fate. My Father in Heaven is really good about nudging and leading me in the direction best for me...he let's me think I'm in control, which I am, to a certain extent. But He's the master planner who paves the paths for each of us that enables us to grow, learn, and best serve others.
So as I consider the dash, I also consider those that have influenced and touched me during that span -- both lovingly and hurtfullly. I was going to say, "both postively and negatively," but I think each contact, whether clothed in love or pain, is ultimately positive. Without some of the hurt and pain I have gone through I wouldn't be the person I am now. I wouldn't erase any of my tears or pain. Hopefully my loving influences on others outweigh the hurtful.