Yesterday, I attended the funeral of a very, very good friend, Lyle Bates. Lyle and Shelley were Terry and my best friends when we lived in Parkland. In 1979-1980, being a fire chief, and new to the community, I didn’t have many friends outside of the fire department. When we joined Spanaway Assembly of God, Lyle, Shelley, Terry, and I hit it off. I have wonderful memories of Lyle and I doing many things together, including working together to help upgrade the lighting in the church for energy efficiency. When Terry was down, or having a bad day, she would contact Shelley and Shelley would always cheer her up (even when were were a hundred miles away). Even today, when one of my kids or grands have problems, she instinctively knows and reaches out to provide comfort.
During Lyles service, his family read the poem, The Dash – you can read the complete poem here.
As the poem reads, the dash is that little symbol in our eulogy that separates the date of our birth from our last day on earth. What should matter most to us is the time between those dates; the dash.
I have come to realize that, in my life, there are really two dashes in my timeline. While God only knows my final date, He has given me a life with my sweetie, and continues to give me life, today.
As the poem reads, “For it matters not, how much we own, the cars… the house… the cash. What matters is how we lived and loved and how we spend our dash.”
Ever since Terry went to Heaven, God has been pressing me forward. Forward into a new path on my journey. This new path, this new dash has become my new focus. Terry is my first dash and she was my everything, my all, my inspiration, my love, my best friend. I am proud of our time together. Her memories give me so much happiness (and the grief that walks alongside them).
But, I do know my sweetie. And, I do know that she wants me to move forward. And forward I will move. Those life moments that occured during my first dash serve at the core of what I must do with my new dash.
So, as I have said before, I move forward. Leaning into what God has in store for me. We don’t know everything that God has in store, so I watch for His hand and follow His leading.
My friendship with Lyle, the memories of his family that I heard yesterday are also part of this new dash. They serve as another source of inspiration.
So today, as in everyday, I choose to move forward. Forward with the recollection, experiences, memories, and love that I have had the wonderful privilege of having; serving as a foundation of this new path, this new journey in my life.
God’s got this, I don’t. My prayer today is that God will fill your heart, your soul, your spirit with His spirit, with love, with comfort, with peace (and mine too!).
Thank you, Lyle (and Shelley) for the friendship that will never be lost.
Dedicated to Lyle Dean Bates, January 31, 1959 – October 12, 2018.
Taken on the ferry when we buried Terry in Puget Sound