It’s dawning on me that I probably have just ten to fifteen years of good health left. Odds are that ten to fifteen years down the track I will be severely debilitated by Parkinsons or receiving chemo for my leukemia or both. The looming future has created an urgency to my present. It’s caused me to wonder just how I will spend those healthy years.
In the movie ‘The Bucket List” Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman play terminally ill men who set about doing everything on their “bucket lists”, the list of things they had always dreamed of doing before they ‘kick the bucket. So what’s my bucket list? What are the things I want to do before I am physically incapacitated?
I want to answer that question as a Christian, not a hedonist. Jesus calls me to ‘seek first God’s kingdom” (Matthew 6). Rather than coasting along year by year assuming I have plenty of time, I am now asking much more intentionally how I can live more fully under God’s reign and play a part in the extension of God’s reign, of seeing more justice, peace, grace, forgiveness, and faith in the world. I find this a much more satisfying question than ‘how can I have as much fun as possible in the next ten years?’
So here’s the start of my kingdom oriented bucket list. Some items reflect my desire to make the world a better place, while others reflect a desire to enjoy God’s good creation. Some are things I want to do on an ongoing basis. Others are discrete, time bound activities. It’s early days and I imagine I will add and subtract, but these are the things I want to include at present.
- Write. I have written a fair bit for Baptist World Aid Australia, including a book on ethical consumption that they have recently published, but there are a couple more areas I believe I could make a modest contribution to the Christian church. So I’d like to give some more writing a crack.
- Make life better for people living in extreme poverty. I am blessed to be able to do this through my work and I want to keep doing it for as long I can.
- Have one Christmas where the only gift we give is a donation to poverty reduction programs.
- Take every opportunity to be the best father and husband I can be
- Take a couple of long holidays with Sandy and the kids.
- See Uluru
- Kayak through Katherine Gorge
- Visit Tasmania. This is the only Australian state I have yet to visit.
- Go cage diving with great white sharks
- Smoke the cuban cigar I have been keeping for many years. I plan to smoke it the day the Australian Government commits to an aid budget of 0.7% of Australia’s national income, something I have been involved in lobbying on for some years. I am not a smoker and will probably choke but there seems to be something unhealthily romantic about smoking an authentic cuban cigar.
- Attend a grand final the Cronulla Sharks play in and win (come on Sharkies!)
Perhaps just as interesting to me as what I’ve included is what I’ve left out. I don’t want to get a bigger house or travel the world. There are also things that would have appeared If I’d written this bucket list five, ten, twenty years ago. Past lists would have included getting a doctorate, converting ‘x’ number of people to the Christian faith, growing my church. Not sure what to make of these omissions from my current list. Perhaps there are some areas of my life I need to reconsider, perhaps there are some areas I have grown, perhaps there is just change.
You never know God may miraculously heal me, medical science may find cures to my ailments, or the progress of my diseases may be unusually slow. Whatever happens I have found putting together a bucket list wonderfully concentrates the mind on what it is I truly value.