Tuesday, March 07, 2023

Dean Powery on the 'Dash' of Life between Birth and Death

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We are accustomed to seeing historical figures catalogued with their birth year and year of death—and a dash separating the two numbers. In his (Duke) Chronicle column "What are you doing with your dash?", Chapel Dean Luke A. Powery focuses on that dash.

"Recognizing your mortality raises the question of morality—what is worth doing with the something you’ve been given in between nothing?" he asks. "What are you doing with your dash? As the grandfather of Howard University professor Kenyatta Gilbert once asked, 'Are you making a living or making a life?'”

"In the face of the stark reality of mortality, there isn’t an easy answer that applies to everyone, but we can pause and follow the encouragement of the theologian Howard Thurman to 'sit quietly and see one’s self pass by.'" Dean Powery says.

"The dash of life is short," he concludes. "Our mortality should shape our morality. So as you see yourself in quiet, what are you doing with your dash? I hope you are making a life."

Read the column.