Do you have a bucket list? What are the items listed in it? A lot of us would write ours to contain things we want to do before we die, such as visit so-and-so or do such-and-such with who-and-who. The goal? To maximize the experience one gets from life before it’s all gone forever (or, rather, before one goes back to God). No harm in that; the world has so many nice things to enjoy.
But what is it that we really want to do or have before it gets too late? I came across a very interesting and touching Facebook status post by a good friend, Mr. Jio Victorino, who used to work in the foundation I currently am with. He entitled it “The Underrated Bucket List”. It is reproduced below.
The Underrated Bucket List
Food on the table
A peaceful home
Sleep without fear, resentment or regret
The well-being of your loved ones
Friends who embrace and shine a light on your darkness
And the chance to do the same for them
Opportunities for kindness
The grace to forgive
Time to pray
This brought to my mind a similar effort I made years ago (although with a lot more shallow content, I will confess), which I kept on my laptop and used as a daily reminder of sorts. While I did write personal wants, such as independence and empowerment, and even material needs, I also wrote in the last part of my “list” about things I wished for the world, like peace, environmental growth, and the like.
Jio’s list is so much more a bucket list I would wish for than the “traditional” ones that also tend to be somewhat more extravagant. The problem is that so many of us, especially the more fortunate and blessed ones, tend to overlook the basic things that make life sustainable and hence enjoyable. Those who are not as blessed (yet) and need to make more effort to fulfill even just one item on the list are those who fully understand the importance of these things. Some of them continue to acknowledge these simple but essential blessings even when things change for the better for them, but others forget it and become fixated on other things that for them will give the exhilaration they want to draw out from life.
But don’t take my word for it too seriously. In fact, I will admit I have my own, albeit unwritten, travel bucket list, too. No, it’s not the absence or existence of this “underrated bucket list”. It’s the mentality behind it. Amidst all the “glory” we desire, and get (or not), from life, do we remember to step back and thank everything and everyone, including the One, who has made it possible for us to even think of said little adventures in the first place? For if the matter of food and friends is not even being solved in the first place, would it cross our minds to concretely desire to go on a Scandinavian cruise? (Which, by the way, is part of my travel bucket list. :p) Without good health, would we be even able to go deep-sea diving, when we are physically incapable of such?
I would say the Underrated Bucket List is the prerequisite, if you’ll forgive my term, for all other bucket lists in life that we write down and try to complete. It is the foundation, the basis, the spine without which we would not be able to fully appreciate the things we would like to do so eventually. I think this is something all of us should take to heart and pray for, never forgetting to thank the Lord for these blessings.
There are three items on this list I find particularly interesting.
If it were up to me, I would re-word “meaningful employment” to write, or at least be defined as, “the wisdom and strength to know your calling, and to act on such”. I firmly believe each of us has a God-given purpose in our life – and that the only thing we need to do is to accept His hand for that, to embark on a journey of self-discovery and growth that affects not just our “work lives”, but every single aspect of our being. That for me is what a calling is: an invitation from God to live a life of purpose in every single thing we do, however mundane or mighty.
I love the follow-up to “friends who embrace and shine a light on your darkness”: And the chance to do the same for them. We often get so engrossed in what is given us, that we sometimes forget to think of what we can give back to others. And for me that is the most important thing, what we can leave rather than take. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said (paraphrased) that the most pressing question of life towards us was, “What do we do for others?” We cannot take anything from this world once we die, but we can give so much to it and make it a better place for our children.
Reasonable adversity is reasonable to be here, indeed. Without a little challenge to spice things up a bit, we are unable to test ourselves, to break free from our comfort zones or the box, to stretch our limits and grow. A life of complacency is not a life well lived, as we don’t get to experience those truly meaningful situations that show so much of who we are and how much we do not compromise our principles and values. Yes, I would pray for reasonable – but not so much – adversity. I would pray for courage to lose sight of the shore and to sail out into the wide, open ocean where I can learn so much about myself, but at the same time not forgetting that I could easily drown there and that I rely on God to bless and keep me.
What would you pray for, and put in your bucket list? 🙂