I hear people talk about “bucket lists” all of the time. A “bucket list” is a list of things that people want to do before they die . . . things to do before one “kicks the bucket.” Never really thought about it much . . . then I read an article about twelve things a person must do before he or she dies. I was flabbergasted at the list . . . explore the Far East (by private jet, no less), eat a living thing, gamble more than you can afford, float the Grand Canyon, sleep in a tropical rain forest, drive a Ferrari (in Italy), see a sunset from Key West, record a record, climb an active volcano, hug a tree, make front page news, make my children’s life list my own, learn to sail, and many more. I must be living in a different reality. These “bucket list” items are out of my realm . . . at least most of them.
Explore the Far East in a private jet . . . shoot, I haven’t explored the town I have lived in for nearly six years yet. I haven’t seen even an iota of the area of Montana I live in . . . not even in my car. If they mean “far east” as being Miles City . . . well, I have that covered, though not in a private jet.
Eat a living thing . . . do a few bugs flying into my mouth while walking, running, or driving with the windows open in the car count? I like my food cooked . . . not crawling on my plate.
Gamble more than I can afford . . . isn’t that called life? If you are living, the odds are you are probably gambling more than you can afford. That is the American Dream.
Float the Grand Canyon . . . I can’t even float the bathtub!
Sleep in a tropical rain forest. I have lived in Panama for a couple of months, been to Gaum . . . tropical life is not for me. Too humid, lots of lizards crawling around in the house to kill the bugs. Besides, I would just like to get a good night’s sleep in my own bed.
Drive a Ferrari in Italy . . . I would be happy to drive one in Montana. The bigger task is finding one.
A sunset in Key West . . . probably couldn’t beat a sunset in Big Sky Country . . . especially when the sun is setting behind a herd of bull elk in July.
Record a record. That one made me laugh. There are laws against noise pollution . . . ask any member of a church I have served as a minister and they will tell you . . .
Climb an active volcano. Well, I guess I am as close to doing that as I can be without leaving home. Those of us on the edges of the Yellowstone ecosystem know that we are basically living on top of a huge volcano . . . a huge volcano that if it were to erupt would send us all to the great beyond.
Hug a tree. I have probably hugged more than my fair share of trees growing up . . . probably not for reasons I would want people to know. Usually had something to do with the “spirit” moving through me . . . liquid spirit that is.
Make front page news . . . not really something that one wants to do as a minister. Most the front page news I read usually has to do with things that none of us would ever want anyone else to know.
Learn to sail . . . naw, I will stay on dry land. I have no inkling to go sailing or to learn to sail. Sounds expensive . . . besides, I do not look good dress in white. I am more of a grayish sort of guy.
Making my children’s life list my list. Yeah, get real. I want to live, not die.
I never really gave much thought about things I wanted to do before I died. Oh sure, there are a few dreams that I had. I wanted to hike the Appalachian Trial. The Appalachian Trail always fascinated me . . . the great outdoors fascinated me . . . but, I live in Montana. Montana’s beauty rivals that of the Appalachian Trail and I haven’t even scratched the surface of what is around me. But I would be lying if I did not admit that the Appalachian Trail still hangs out in my rock garden. I’d love to go to Ireland, but I am happy in any Irish pub no matter where it might be. Always wanted to run the Boston Marathon, but now I am satisfied if I can walk around the block. I never considered any of these things as being a part of a “bucket list” that I needed to accomplished before I died . . . probably because most of them would kill me in the first place. I have never really developed a “bucket list” . . . and, if I used these suggestions in the article I read . . . well, my bucket would probably have more than a few leaks!
As I have gotten older I have to admit that there are things I think about that I hope I accomplish before I die. Not so much a “bucket list”, but a few things I hope happen before I “kick the bucket”. They are nothing spectacular, but important to me none the less.
I hope to see my grandchildren grow up and start their own families. That is probably my greatest desire . . . to grow with my grandchildren. Right now there is the one granddaughter . . . coolest little person I know; but, she will soon be joined with a sister in a couple of weeks. If this new grandchild is half as cool as the first . . . well, I will be tickled to death. I cannot wait to meet the future grandchildren . . . it just seems that some of my children need to get down to business. But, I am a fairly patient person . . . I can wait. I just want them to know . . . the clock is ticking! That is my greatest desire to accomplish before I die . . . that I have the opportunity to love my grandchildren . . . and, that they love me.
Another thing that I think about accomplishing before I die is to write a book. Over the years I have been encouraged by others to write a book, but I haven’t written one yet. Actually, I have. After more than thirty years of ministry with a weekly sermon . . . I have written a book. After more than thirty years of writing a weekly newsletter column . . . I have written a book. After nearly three years of writing a blog ten times a month . . . I have written a book. Throw in there countless dapples at short stories, letters to the editor, and just musings . . . I have written a book. The problem is that I need just need to sit down, organize all the stuff I have written, and make it into a book. I could do it, but the problem I have with that is that I would need to rewrite, rewrite, and rewrite again to please some editor before it would ever get published. Sounds like a lot of work . . . so, in the meantime, I contemplate the idea. Hopefully I have a few more years!
Probably the last thing I want to do . . . well, it is simple. I want to live . . . I want to live for as long as I can. Plain and simple. Both my parents died younger than they should have and I want to live longer. Don’t we all?
I guess it is okay to have a “bucket list” . . . a list of things we all hope to accomplish before we die; but, I have never given it much thought. I often think of how blessed I am to live the life I live. I have a wonderful family that I enjoy for the most part . . . I live in a beautiful place that constantly gives me opportunities to stand in awe at God’s magnificence tough . . . I have a wife that loves me . . . a granddaughter that adores me . . . dogs that welcome me . . . a computer that allows me to write . . . a church I enjoy serving . . . and, each day an opportunity for blessing. Taking care of that is more than fulfilling . . . so, who needs a “bucket list”. It is in the moment that the blessing is held. Why would I need more than I already have?