This my favorite Simple Truths movie.
It's not the date you were born, or the date you died, that really matters. It's "the dash" between those years and what you do with it, to make a difference with your life.
I read The Dash, by Linda Ellis, for the first time on June 10, 2003, when it was sent to me by a friend, Anna Lee Wilson. She said, "Mac, you're going to love this poem." How right she was! I knew at that moment that I had to find a way to share these words with the rest of the world. So, I picked up the phone and called Linda about creating a beautiful gift book featuring her poem, The Dash. In addition, I told her that I'd love to write nine short chapters about how each of us can make a difference with "our dash." Each chapter, I said, would reinforce each verse in the poem. She loved the idea, and the rest, as they say, is history. Since we published the book, I'm proud to say we've sold hundreds of thousands of copies. We also created The Dash in the form of a short inspirational movie that over 30 million people have viewed on the internet. We've received thousands of emails confirming that The Dash touched hearts and changed lives around the world.
Today, however, I'd like to share the story behind The Dash, as told by the author, Linda Ellis. It's a wonderful story that I think you'll enjoy.
The story behind The Dash, by Linda Ellis
While it still amazes me, a simple poem I wrote one afternoon forever changed my life. It all began when I faxed a copy of this poem to a syndicated radio show in Atlanta. Soon after receiving it, the host of this popular show read it on the air. Little did I know how much my life would change from that day forward. Titled The Dash, these 36 lines have touched millions of lives and have literally taken on a life of their own by traveling all over the world. I call it uncomplicated poetry in a complicated world.
People are always asking me what, in particular, inspired me to write this poem. I believe it was a combination of things in my life at the time. It was during a period when I was working for the top executives of a very large and successful corporation. It was a strict company with a tense working environment.
I began to watch how the priorities in many lives there had become misaligned. It seemed to me that the bosses were worrying far too much about that which was inconsequential in the scope of life.
Also, resonating in the back of my mind were the words from a letter which had been previously routed around the office. It had been written by the wife of an employee who was aware that she was dying. I was so moved by that letter that I saved a copy of it and continue to live by her words:
Regrets? I have a few. Too much worrying. I worried about finding the right husband and having children, being on time, being late and so on. It didn't matter. It all works out and it would have worked out without the worries and the tears.
If I would have only known then what I know now. But, I did and so do you. We're all going to die. Stop worrying and start loving and living.
Her words stuck with me. Her letter made me stop and think. This is it. This is all we get.
I remember where I was when I first truly realized the significance of the piece that I had written. I was on a business trip in Minnesota, alone in a hotel room. I received an emotional email thanking me for sharing the message of the Dash from a student who had recently heard it as part of a memorial gathering for the Columbine High School students. I sat on the bed and cried.
Several years later, I found myself engulfed in the thoughts and feelings created by my own words as I listened to them read aloud, for what seemed like the very first time, at the funeral of my father...my best friend.
From being performed in an elementary school play somewhere in the heartland of America to being part of a State Supreme Court Justice's speech, from being printed in best-selling novels to high school yearbooks, The Dash has truly affected millions. I may not be able to change the world with these words, but I have certainly been able to influence a portion of it! The poem's words have convinced mothers to spend more time with their children, fathers to spend more time at home, and reunited long-lost loved ones.
The words have changed attitudes, and changed the direction of lives. They have, in their own way, made a difference. I know writing The Dash has changed my life. I hope reading it, in some way, may change yours.
The amazing beauty of nature provides many moments and small pleasures to treasure. Click on the link below to enjoy the movie, “Nature’s Inspiration.” The award winning photography, music and beautiful words will be a welcome break.
Your personal movie link below to share nature's inspiration with others today.