Saturday, June 14, 2008

Might as Well Make a Bucket List; I'll Kick it Sooner or Later

I started rather flippantly working to write out a "Bucket List" of things I want to do before I kick the bucket while I'm still alive, whatever. I don't mean to say that I wouldn't be content to die before this was done; I've lived already far longer than some, more than I deserve, and there's been a lot of good in it. God is great.
I googled "bucket list" on other websites, and didn't get as many ideas as I thought, but I did change my perspective about writing the list. Many of them were things I don't want to do, like skydive; there aren't material things that I would buy and feel fulfilled.
The significance of my list was greatly expanded upon by seeing what others had to say about pondering such things. There was one quote at a USA Today site that I liked: "'We are all encouraged to leave a small ecological footprint and a huge spiritual footprint,' Kerry Shook says." A huge spiritual footprint. Now that's a good general aim for my list! Then it's a list not only for the here and now trend-wise, not only for the future goal-wise, but for eternity, faith-wise. How much more significantly can you live than for eternity? And how better to build and live by that list before you get a terminal disease, while you still have vitality and clear mind and hopefully some significant time, and while you're living for joy and purpose itself, and not just under a threat that it all will end? At a website called bucketlistblog, there was a pertinent quote that I'd like to share here:

"Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time.

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again."
—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

That is a great passage to keep in mind in the making of a bucket list. Keep in mind those who come after you, who recall your impact once you are gone. Will it direct and inspire them to better things than they would have had if they had not known you? That would be a significant aspect of a spiritual footprint that I would like to make.
I also went to an article, "How to Create and Manage Your Bucket List Before You Kick," that gave some rather good advice for creating a serious bucket list, one that might be useful for really trying and attending to; a real tool to make sure that you're living your life to live it rather than let it pass without conscious direction.
I'll live in the here and now as far as trends go, doing this "bucket list" trend while it's still a trend...after all, here and now may be all I've got, on this earth! (I think that's a funny thought, but only time will tell.) If it impacts the long-term and the eternal, that would be fantastic! Okay, enough intro. I have to get to the list! This is without regard to the reality of finances and other constraints that God in His wisdom put in place:
1. I have always wanted to take our kids around the country on a trip--like my family did when I was little. We moved to Indiana via a northern route, seeing the Rockies, Glacier, Waterton, etc., and came back via a southern route, seeing all sorts of red rock features and turquoise jewelry stands. I never saw Mt. Rushmore, and I want to see it if I can...along with the other national parks and the Statue of Liberty and other American landmarks (well, I'd say landmarks worldwide, but I'm trying to be somewhat specific and not too selfish!) I'd like our kids to see the Grand Canyon, too. Wow! God's creation is great! And to think that's just a little tiny crack in a tiny little pebble in a tiny little solar system in a great big's amazing!
2. It would be fun to see my kids get married (not to each other) and have kids.
3. If it were up to me, bring all our relatives to come to know Christ. And my neighbors, and while I'm wishing, people in authority, people not in authority...
4. I'd have my finances all in order, have my will up-to-date, have everything where the people who need to find it can find it. I actually was kind of there once, but that was a long time ago.
4. If I visit a country as a tourist, my first choice for beauty would be Italy because of a History of Art class I took in college. For faith and learning, it would be Israel, to stay there for a while and really know it. I'd also love to explore Mexico and South America. Never been to Hawaii, either, but I'd rather see these other places first.
5. I would like to go to China or Russia to do some English-as-a-Second-Language work. At least once.
6. I'd like to memorize much more of the Bible; especially the New Testament. If it weren't for obvious limitations, the Old Testament too. It would be fun to draw verses out of context all the time and pepper my conversation with them, and drive people crazy. No, that wouldn't be my main aim, but I've always thought it would be fun. Just a little crazy!
7. I'd really love to be able to say my whole house was clean and organized and honed down to the things I really want to keep; rid of the junk! And be telling the truth. And be moved to a smaller house besides, with less demands that distract from the important things.
8. It would be fun to have a party and invite all the friends we can remember having, that we can get back in touch with. At least, I think it would be fun. There'd be a lot of people, after 5 churches!
9. I'd love to be physically fit. Why this is this far down the list, I don't know. I'd want to get there before the trip to Italy. But more so that I can see my kids have kids, and not be a physical burden to them in the process.
10. I'd like to have my photos organized (of course this goes with #6), but also scanned into the computer so I can put them on disks, or on Flickr, or blog with them, or whatever. I did do some, a while back. It's amazing how much editing can improve them, and how pictures that you think are too dark can be lightened up and you find things you never thought were there. And I'd probably throw half away, because they really aren't all that good and life is too short to keep looking at them or storing them or sorting through to get to the good ones.
11. Take a dancing class--for dancing as a dance partner, and not as a tv performing dancer, and not as a jazz dancer, and nothing sleazy. Just fun, for at parties...just for fun!
12. Teach someone illiterate to read...though I don't know anyone illiterate to my knowledge. (Though I did teach our kids to read...and that is a thrill!)
13. Go river rafting--on a fairly mild river. And maybe rock climbing--on a fairly mild rock.
14. Learn to identify at least the fairly major constellations. I know the big dipper and the little dipper. In fact, I can see the entire big dipper, perfectly framed, through our bathroom skylight, for what--a few months of the year? It's neat.
15. Register to be a bone-marrow donor. I think I may have to lose some weight first. They have standards about this, after all. I went in once, but I couldn't get answers to some questions, so I didn't actually register.
LASTLY but Importantly: I'd like to continually live according to eternity and not just for the present day; yet live for the present day with contentment, and with eternity in mind. Keeping this list in mind, in view, and revised and added to as I think of improvements.
Okay, I'm using this as a tag for you. It's your turn. What's on your bucket list? Make it meaningful! Let me know when you've made one. I want to see it.

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