I suppose that’s natural, considering that the revolving door called cancer caught me in its spin before leaving the hospital where Ray’s last battle was fought, that I find myself thinking about bucket lists these days.
Honestly, Ray was the bucket list master in our marriage. All I had to do was ride on the coattails of his. Their content so often captured my interest that they easily found their way onto our mutual list. If you like reading my messy musings, you can thank him for that. Were it not for his giving me a copy of The Artist’s Way, I would not be here today. (His bucket list included our creative spirits playing together.)
Not that I am blasé about this gift called life or this planet called earth or any creative endeavor inspired by our Creator, but close friends will tell you that – though I enjoy each day – a Bernadette who casts far into the future with her personal wishes is a rare sighting.
But making decisions on cancer treatment does funny things to one’s perspective. This mastectomy-stand-in for my breast brings a lot to surface about life-cuts that speak to life-noun, living-verb conversions.
For the first time in my life, I want to come up with a list all my own but am a bit stumped when it comes to getting jazzed about world-stuff – like parachuting or bungee jumping or kissing the Blarney Stone. Okay, wouldn’t mind the Blarney Stone thing – as that is in the land of my ancestors – but I would not be restless on my deathbed not having done that.
So, I guess that’s my starting point. What would leave me restless on my deathbed? I know. A morbid place to begin but, hey, it leads to an interesting question and maybe points to my challenge in making bucket lists. I might be looking in the wrong place for what fuels me.
Here’s the question – and I want you to join me on this: What if we came here with a spiritual bucket list, too? Things our soul wanted to accomplish or experience and, if we didn’t do them, we’d be restless for all eternity? All right. A bit dramatic there, but I dare you to consider a bucket list through that lens. Does anything start bubbling to the surface? It did for me.
What if some bucket lists aren’t about world places, but the people we meet there and how we engage with them? What if they aren’t about world accomplishments, but what we learn in the doing and the legacies we leave behind to lighten the way for others? What if some are scavenger hunts that we agreed to on the other side and we returned – heaven forbid – empty-handed?
The possibilities are endless with lists like that. Lists that points to where our REAL joys lie because they answer to the way God wired us.
As I look at settling my deathbed restlessness, words like legacy, creativity, inspiration and service come to mind. What can I do with the creative gifts and inspirations God has given me? How can I be of service in lightening the way for those God puts on my path?
My new bucket list qualifier is this: If you can do [fill in the blank with legacy, creativity, inspiration, service] and make it fun, put it on the list.
Now, I’m not living my life with purpose. I am living my life like it’s a bucket list!
Cool, huh? So, here are the first two things that popped onto my list.
- An abandoned book project, using Bernadette’s Pages: An Intimate Crossroad. I am deathbed-restless when I think about its message of love and forgiveness sitting on pallets in a storage unit – or being carted off to the dump after I die. I feel excited – even a little rebellious – when I think about copies being abandoned on windshields, park benches and carnival ride seats, with a note telling the finder that the book is a gift for them or someone they know.
Psst: Contact me if you’d like to help abandon! Especially if you are traveling across country or have an imaginative way to abandon large quantities of them. I don’t want to go to my grave with recycled books weighing down my spirit so I am not asking bucket list buddies to pay for these abandoned books.
- REALLY have coffee with all the people I have bumped into and said we should have coffee sometime. So, if you are one of those people and I call you … uh huh … you know you have to say yes. After all, you are on my bucket list and qualified as fun.
I would absolutely delight in your sharing at least one of the things on your bucket list in the comments below. (I might like to add it to mine!) AND, if my “deathbed restlessness” brings up another one for you, I would love to hear that, too. We’ll put a little magic-mojo on it!
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Remember, sharing is caring. If you found something here that inspired, you may know someone else who will feel the same. XO Bernadette