Wednesdays with Jillene: what will you do with your dash?

I have been challenged… honestly that word seems to weak but its all I have this morning… by the life of the Sauer family. If you aren’t familiar here is a brief synopsis:

In January of this year Ben Sauer, then 4 years old, began experiencing severe headaches. The cause, an unimaginable for their little family: a cancerous brain tumor. Stage IV Glioblastoma. An adult cancer. That only 0.00002% of the population gets. And it was likely that he only had a few more months before it overtook him completely. February 25th began an aggressive treatment plan at Roswell Cancer Institute. In early March the family learned Ben’s treatment would not be successful and he was expected to live for only a few weeks. Just over a week ago Ben passed away.

What has captivated me is not the story of the cancer but the life of faithfulness to God in the midst of these heart-wrenching circumstances that the Sauer family has lived out in national spotlight. The Sauer family plight was not just known to their family, friends and local church. No… their story even made it beyond the community of Western New York and was known across the nation. Social media at its best, shared the story of the little boy and his courageous family like wildfire. “Blue4Ben” became a news headline, profile picture… a cause to rally around… a miracle to pray for…

And in the midst of this struggle, Mindy, Ben’s mom blogged. She shared their story, the day to day along with their hope and faith in God. It was her blogging that captivated and challenges me at my core. Because even with the awfulness of cancer ravaging her son… Mindy wrote with hope, faithfulness and assurance of the love, faithfulness and grace of God.

These words from her the other day hit hard:

“As I walked around the gravesite the other day, I recognized a few names. But not many. Some of them might have had “Beloved Mother” under their name that gave me a glimpse as to what they meant to the people they left behind. But none of them listed how much money they made or how much success they achieved during their time on earth. Beneath their name, all it had was two dates separated by a dash. May 5, 2009 – May 13, 2014. Makes you wonder: how will we spend our dash?

Ben’s dash was very well spent. He played hard, loved much, and never questioned where God had allowed him to be. Even for a less-than-five-year-old, that’s saying quite a bit. People have been touched by his perseverance, his capacity for love, his selfless ministry. And because he was born, perhaps hundreds of people will be joining us in heaven someday.

And I’ll tell you, my friends, that is ALL that matters.”

They’ve been echoing in my head, “how we will spend our dash”? A challenge I’ve been contemplating. I’ve shared before that my favorite Tolkien quote is, “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” The Sauer family showed me a family living that out as I pray I can… that’s where the challenge lies for me: to live faithfully the life… the days I’ve been given.

How about you? What will you do with your dash? Some days are beautiful and easy to live… other days… not so much… but you are given each day, what will you do with this one?


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