I was watching a video recently from John Hayden, a colleague in our fundraising world who’s dying of cancer. He’s been thinking a lot about death, and he was talking about “the dash” in our lives.
“The dash” is what we do between when we are born and the day we die. If you go to any cemetery, you see it on every gravestone. So John was asking everyone watching his video, “What are each of you doing with your dash?”
That’s a good question.
He goes on to say that in Buddhism, they believe that you don’t have a soul, but you do live on eternally. That seems like a contradiction. The way these two seemingly contradictory beliefs come together is that others in your life, whom you’ve touched and influenced, have a piece of you with them. So that even after you’re gone from this life, you live on in the thoughts and actions of others.
And it has a ripple effect.
I thought that was quite a beautiful way of thinking about how we live on after death.
So my question to you is, who are you influencing? Whose lives are you touching and making a difference? And are you consciously aware that what you’re doing today will live on in other people and will shape their future?
As a major gift fundraiser, you have the opportunity every day to influence and create positive change in people’s lives – your donors, co-workers, and colleagues doing this good work with you. (Tweet it!)
That is really what your work is. It’s helping others find joy and fulfillment in their lives by helping alleviate a hurt or pain in the world – nothing more or less. That’s a beautiful thing.
I know that this time of year is hectic for you. There’s pressure to make goals, work your plan, and end the year strong. But when you can find a quiet moment, take some time to think about what you’re doing with your “dash” and how you’ll live on in others, after you leave this earth.
I think the message I got from John was that you don’t need to wait until you’re near the end of your life to think about such things.
Now’s the time to ponder the question, “Who am I positively influencing and making a difference in their lives so that I’ll live on forever?”