I wonder who wrote the first bucket list. Was it somebody who received the terrible news that their condition was terminal – needing a prod from their imminent mortality to accomplish things that had only been in their mind? Or was it simply a person who was bored with the daily grind of life and needed a set of adventures to make life more livable?
How does a bucket list get compiled? Does a person watching Top Chef think that mastering the sugary art of pastry will allow them to take their final breath and exhale with a smile? Or, when thumbing through Outside magazine, does the thought of hiking the Appalachian Trail make a life ended with Matlock reruns and Early Bird specials seem less miserable?
I want to kill a grizzly bear. With a spear. I’m not sure why, but I think it would be invigorating. If you’re a member of the ASPCA, I’ll add, “It’s coming right for us!” to the scenario. In that case, the bucket list item might actually make me kick it. There are less dangerous things I’d like to do, but I figured I’d go for the most dramatic for illustrative purposes.
My life isn’t boring, but it’s not jam packed with excitement every day either. On the days when things are in a lull, it’s easy to daydream and consider that maybe my life would be better spent as a mercenary or mountain climber – for Jesus, of course. But if much of a life is spent imagining glorified alternatives to the one lived, it’s going to be a waste.
If a bucket list turns into escapism then, really, what makes it different from drug abuse, alcoholism, or any other form of coping behavior? Sure it’s less dangerous to the body, but is it less dangerous to the soul?
I get frustrated with Paul because of his single mindedness. If I had a tenth of that drive I could take over the world but, alas, I don’t. He got thrown in jail, shipwrecked, and beaten but those things didn’t steer him off course. Some people loved him like family while others hated him with unmatched fury. He traveled all the time and lived life like it was a Mountain Dew commercial.
His focus was like a laser even though all of these things were going on in his daily life. If he’d been less focused on Jesus his life would have probably been calmer. He could have lived a peaceful, comfortable life while still being a good enough person. But his soul would have been less alive.
Everything Paul wrote was filled with love, passion and determination. He didn’t waste any of his words. If it came through that much in his writing, how much more exhilarating would it have been to spend time with the person and hear him speak? Not about himself, but the Savior who moved his passion from pursuing destruction to striving after life.
So am I seeking adventure because my life is boring or because my soul needs to be stirred? An awesome vacation gives you memories, pictures and stories, but a revived soul changes your vision, your drive, and your very life. Paul’s life was adventurous because of what had happened in his soul – he wasn’t trying to reawaken his soul by getting stoned. (Shame on you for thinking about drugs.)
Just to clear things up, your deepened devotion to Jesus and the Gospel doesn’t necessarily increase the chances of you sky diving at low altitude or rowing through Venice in a gondola. But if the way you see life becomes more and more altered to see things through his eyes will the periphery matter as much as it does now?
I think I may be part gypsy because I get antsy when I’m in the same place for very long. Thus, I alter the scenery. I’m doing it wrong. Instead of asking God to take me to somewhere else, I ought to be asking to be able to see where I am through different eyes. If God is omnipresent it means He is active and working where I am, not just everywhere else. The variable that doesn’t change with location is me. If my focus on God is weak here, it will eventually weaken as the excitement of somewhere new wears off.
So I’m going to try to start living my life like a bucket list – but not with items to check off. Applying my foot to the pail instead, I’ll be seeking to thank God for all I’ve gotten to be a part of and smiling because of what I am about to see.
*Photo credit: MuddyFunkster