From time to time I take a peek at my “Bucket List.” By definition that is an actual or imaginary list of what one hopes to do or be or where one hopes to go in one's lifetime. It is ever-changing.
When I was a child, my little toy pail was full of short term childish wishes. In youth, with stars in my eyes, my Bucket List held dreams. In adult life it was full of goals and hopes and plans. In prime of life I began to cross off from the List some concrete achievements and also some things that I had to admit were no longer realistic.
Now in my summit years I examine what remains on my Bucket List. Is my bucket empty because I have been there and done everything? Have I given up on some things that I should have attempted? Should I still press on to accomplish what's left in my bucket?
I should ask myself, “Who put those items on my Bucket List? Did I do it for self-centered reasons? Were they the expectations of others for me?” As a Christian I should ask at any season of my life, “Have I consulted God for the contents of my life Bucket List? Or am I simply on an ego trip? Are there things that should not even be on my Bucket List? Are there important things I have omitted?”
In rural China, I have seen two heavily loaded buckets being carried by one person. A long pole is suspended across the shoulders and two buckets in balance are hung on each end of the pole. It might take two buckets to contain all that some of us would like to accomplish in one lifetime. There is nothing wrong with having personal goals, wishes, desires, dreams, and ambitions. It is good and right to fill up one bucket with that kind of list.
Nevertheless, I should balance it in the other bucket with a list of God’s priorities and purposes for creating me. One bucket may contain worthy temporal desires; the other, eternal values and desires in sync with the will of God. They should not really balance—God's bucket should be the heaviest!
Although there have been many ups and downs and joys and sorrows, the Lord has given me a long lifetime of fulfilled desires of my heart. God’s storehouse of goodness and mercies has overflowed to me. I have traveled the world. I have served the Lord with gladness for many decades. I delight in my relationships, in my many friends, my grown children, my grandchildren, and my great-grandchildren. My cup is running over. I couldn't even count His blessings to me by the bucket full—more like by the barrel!
I shouldn't be concerned with whether I have accomplished all I want to do from my Bucket List. I should rather ask God, “Is there still something remaining in Your Bucket List for my life that would please You? If so, show me how to fulfill it!”
WELL, YES! I found something that I had relegated to the bottom of my personal Bucket List as an improbability. It jumped to the level of a priority, and I think it would give God pleasure. I would like to visit my hometown in Iowa once more and touch my roots.
Yes, I'm keenly aware that I will miss my parents and many relatives and friends who have departed this life. That will tug on my heart. I can expect that my emotions may be poignant on such a nostalgic journey down memory lane. Certainly, places of my childhood and growing years have changed until they are nearly unrecognizable. The warm, beloved, family bungalow of my childhood days is a rental house now. The “earth suits” (bodies) of the friends and relatives who remain have grown weathered and weary with the years. I'll have to squeeze visits between their doctor appointments or in some cases visit them in care facilities.
I realize that in a sense you can never “go back,” so I'm scaling back high expectations. Nevertheless, I feel a need to experience once more the place of my birth ninety years ago. I believe my desire to touch home base is a God-planted wish. The timing for this pilgrimage seems to be right. I feel that it is meant to be. My contacts with people at this moment in both of our lives will not be random; we will touch one another for some purpose.
I'm on my way to that adventure as I set off on a road trip from the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia to Iowa's heartland!