“WHAT IS ON YOUR BUCKET LIST?”
Shifting his weight, he tried another position as he sought to find a comfortable spot. The morphine drip took the edge off for awhile but never long enough. Feeling helpless, I sat next to his bed and held his hand.
He was only 25 years old, and cancer devours the young as well as the old. For six short months, we had battled together to fight this invader. Now, the war was over, and we had lost.
We were young. Around us were people who told us that he should put together a bucket list. They didn’t understand. We had one, and it was short. Spend as much time together so that our four-year-old daughter’s heart would be imprinted with her dad’s love and joy. If she couldn’t have him physically, then we wanted her to have him spiritually.
Now, it seems as if most people have a bucket list. I guess it is a way to cheat death or enhance their life in some way. Maybe they want to have an excuse for risky behavior or spending money they don’t have. Regardless, the items are as varied as the people behind them. It is incredible the things that people have on their lists, from traveling the world to achieving their ideal weight.
What does it matter if you learn a new language and you expire tomorrow? When someone dies, how many of us say, “Well, at least he saw the Grand Canyon.”?
There is nothing intrinsically wrong with having a wish list. In fact, having goals and making plans to achieve them is admirable. Although, it seems to me as if there as two types of bucket lists: (1) the Rusty Bucket List, and (2) the Legacy Bucket List. The first list consists of temporary achievements that have no enduring value. The second list is what remains after someone passes away.
As I think back on the lives of those who have died, it doesn’t matter if they had the opportunity to scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef. Rather, I am struck by their legacy. Did they leave behind love? Were they the reason they were estranged from others? Is there guilt or anger?
I might live another ten or twenty years, but I doubt it. My disease continues to strip my muscles. My energy is wasting away. The bell is tolling faintly in the distance. There is no time to squander. Which bucket will I choose?
I have made up my mind. The decision has been made. I choose to love, encourage, and accept. No saint here. That’s obvious. Nevertheless, the time has come. The battle trumpets are sounding.
It may be another lost war, but I will continue to forge ahead. May faith, hope, and love remain.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.” Matt. 6:19