by Bob Dasal
The Dash, by Linda Ellis, speaks of two dates on a tombstone. The first is for the date of birth and the second for the date of death. What matters, she says, is the dash between those dates.
My Dad's stone has the dates 1910 and 2003. His dash lasted more than 93 years. Since his death in December of 2003 I have given a lot of thought about what was contained in his "dash." Born May 15, 1910, in San Carlos, Negros Occidental, Philippines, his parents named him Domingo Dasal, meaning Sunday prayer. From the beginning he was full of life and wanted to experience it. The next 30+ years saw him growing up, being forced to drop out of school and go to work as a young teenager when his father was murdered, and then, as a young man, running away to the sea. He ended up being a sailor in the merchant marine circling the globe twice a year. The United States entry into World War II left him stranded in New York City. The war years brought about more changes. In 1943 he met and married my mother. The next year my older brother was born and two years later I came along. By 1960 they had six sons. The GREATEST event in Dad's life happened in 1947. In a small church in Florida he experienced the saving power and grace of God and it brought about a 180-degree change in his lifestyle. The words of the hymn "Since Jesus Came Into My Heart" were so true for him. "What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought, since Jesus came into my heart." In his 40s he attended and graduated from a Christian college in Mississippi and at the age of 50 became pastor of a church in rural Missouri where he served for 34 years. Dad's dash involved a lot of places, a wide variety of experiences, and he touched the lives of a lot of people. Born in a bamboo hut, he went on to build parts for the Mercury Space Capsule, NASA's first manned spacecraft. [He was a machinist by trade.] But the most important part of his dash is seen in the lives of his sons, his grandchildren and his great-grandchildren. One of my brothers recently wrote, "It makes me proud to know that my Dad worked on such major historical projects as the Mercury and Gemini space programs. It is inspiring to me to know the dynamics of his life reached from working at McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Corporation, on the most technically advanced aircraft, to pastoring a small congregation in a church with a white steeple that looked like a Norman Rockwell painting in the middle of the Mark Twain National Forest." Another brother related to me a time he would never forget. He was having a little trouble with growing up and Dad sat him down and talked with him about the importance of Scripture in his life. It was Dad who challenged me to memorize Scripture and build it into my life. Dad is in heaven now, but his "dash" continues to make an impact. I'm so grateful this Father's Day that I had a Dad whose life counted for the cause of Christ. Thanks Dad!
The above picture is of Domingo Dasal at the age of 92.
Bob Dasal has been Editor-in-Chief of Pulpit Helps for the past six years.