Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Bucket List and Dreams

People talk about bucket lists, lists of things they would like to do before they die. Some of them have quite a lot of things that they want to do in whatever time is remaining to them. Whether or not they get to it that’s another story but at least they tried. Some die with unfulfilled bucket lists. This morning I found myself thinking about bucket lists all the way to church and I thought about what is it I would really like to do before I go into that good (or not so good) night. I don’t have to worry about how to do them right now; first I have to have the dreams and then and only then do I need to think about how I could possibly make them happen. Some are totally out of the question, some are possible and some seem very doable, but first I have to figure out in which category each belongs and its likelihood of getting done over the course of, say, the next few years. I certainly don’t know how long I have so I can’t plan a real timetable other than: 1) Do it soon; 2) Possible, but not right away; and 3) Ain’t never gonna happen but it’s fun to dream about.

Oddly enough the first when it comes to mind is to preach a sermon. Don’t ask me why; I’m not sure I can explain it. Somehow being asked to give a sermon (or a homily) has the concept that the person being asked has something to say or is an expert in some aspect that would be informational or inspirational to others. It’s a lot like teaching since you stand in front of a group and talk about what you know or what you think and there’s some recognition of the validity of your thoughts.  I’m not really a showman and I certainly don’t proclaim myself to be the world’s greatest expert on theology or anything else other than myself. I blog, which is like writing essays, and sermons are, in some respects, sort of like essays. You have to catch the attention of the group to whom you are speaking, you have to have a general point, you have to impart some facts or explain your own POV in a way that might convince others that yes, you have a point and you’ve done your homework, and it helps to have a bit of divine inspiration to pass on. It also helps to have a few jokes or an ability to recount stories in an interesting way. Come to think of it, aside from not having my essays read aloud or preached from a pulpit, I may be able to scratch this one off – or at least put a check mark by it as partially completed. I’m not counting it out yet, though. How successful those essays are is still up for debate. Of course, they'll never be up to the standard of sermons by the priest at my church who, I think, could preach about instant mashed potatoes or hippopotami (not to mention any lectionary reading) and make it both interesting and relevant. Back to the drawing board for me.

Another thing I’d like to do is publish a book. I’ve had that dream for so many years now I can’t remember NOT wanting to do it even though there have been years and decades where I put the thought aside and didn’t give it any consideration at all. I know the Great American Novel is not in me to write; my strong suit is essays and word paintings, so maybe I need to focus on those. I don’t really want to do one of those self-publishing things because I am still the mindset that that’s kind of a vanity press thing and I’m not really into vanity press. I’d like to be sought out but hey, self-publishing might give me more options and might very probably be something more attainable, so I will definitely keep that on the list.

Number three is that I’d like to go home again one more time before I die. I’d like to see people that I know I’ll never see again if I wait too much longer, like I missed seeing my brother one last time. I miss my river. I don’t care how much the landscape around has changed, the river still the same and that river is one thing I really miss.

Talking about travel, I’d love to go to England. Why go just for a week or maybe two, see the main tourist attractions, and come home thinking I’d had the English experience? I’ve read too many books, watched too many documentaries and films and videos. I want to see if England really is what I imagine it to be. I want to settle in a small cottage in a little village and earn a place in that village.  I’d also like to go visit as many cathedrals as possible because for some reason I get off on cathedrals. There’s something about touching something that has existed for a long period of time, and by long I mean more than 50 years. I get that feeling from touching the wall of the little Episcopal church back home that was built in 1697.  I guess I’m really a church junkie at heart. I could do with daily Evensongs and living in a cathedral close, just to be near the church and able to participate in its life even vicariously.

I’d like to get my bills paid off. It’s a worthy cause, somewhat doable, but I’d better start now. I realize the way to lessen my bills is to pay more than I am spending and to me that’s difficult as I have an impulse control problem when it comes to money. Still it’s something to work on.

I’d like for the people I love and who have helped me in various ways to know how much they have meant to me, whether I’ve known them for a month or a lifetime. That’s an ongoing project. I may never finish that one, but that’s okay. As long as I’ve tried and told as many people as possible – and as often as possible. I hate those thoughts of “Gee, if I’d only known and said something sooner…”

I’d like to sing Messiah again, preferably in a big group. I love singing in choirs, always have. I’d far rather be part of a big group than a soloist, as nice as it is to have the spotlight once in a while. Some of the greatest highs (in the emotional sense) of my life have been from performing with a large choir.

 I’d like to earn a couple more college degrees – preferably masters’ degrees but I’ll take an Associates or Bachelors if the field were right. I’d love to study theology, Biblical anthropology, psychology, communications – and the list keeps growing. This is definitely one of those “Ain’t gonna happen” items on the list. I’m too old, to slow of mind and too poor to do much about it other than take a class or two now and then in whatever subject interests me and that fits the budget. Besides, I’d never pass the Graduate Record Exam at this late date. I had enough trouble with the SATs in high school!

I’d like to get a call from God and be able to follow that call. No, I don’t think the job of priest would be for me, but maybe a deacon’s job might. I can’t second-guess God, but if God wanted it I imagine there would be a way to do it. As it is, though, I couldn’t pass the exams or the discernment process. Still, I’m letting God know I’m still trying to listen…

I’d like to learn to speak another language fluently. I took French and Spanish in high school but haven’t done anything with them and never was really proficient at them anyway. Even now, living in a culture where Spanish is spoken almost as much as English, I still haven’t caught on to it. I think I’m just too lazy. Learning a language is a lot like learning to play the piano. I wanted to do the sonatas and such but wasn’t so interested in learning to do the scales. I would like to have the capacity to learn Koine Greek so I could read the NT in it without using an interlinear. I hear there are some good jokes in there – or was that the Hebrew of the Jewish Bible?

There are other things, like meeting the HM the Queen or Desmond Tutu or Katharine Jefferts-Schori, sitting in on a class taught by Marcus Borg, working as a church secretary again, or being a successful teacher. The thing about dreams is that when I dare to dream one thing it may never happen but it also might just open the door for other, more possible dreams. It’s been a long time since I’ve dared to even think about my dreams and wishes, much less actually making a bucket list of possible.  I’ve started one here and now, and all I have to do is decide what to do and how. Whether something is possible or not, I need to learn to think “as if” – and go with it.
I may not do anything on my list or, by some miracle from God, I could do all or at least most of them, I don’t know. I just know that life without dreams is a rather bleak place. I’ve been there, done that.  I need my dreams now, even if they never come true.


  1. Linda, I love your writing style and follow you as much as possible in my RSS reader.

    I think you would deliver a terrific sermon because your writing is compelling. If you deliver verbally as you do using the written word,I think you would wow the crowd.

    And you know that you're never too old for anything although I agree that we all make financial choices that sometimes constrain us.

    Thanks for sharing your bucket list. I'll bet that when your days are done, more of these items are done than you imagine today.

    God's peace to you.


    1. Thank you, George. Whenever someone comments on my stuff it makes my day. You have just made my whole week!

      The old saying, "Ageis a matter of mind -- if you don't mind, it doesn't matter." Hmmm.... mind over matter perhaps?

      Thanks again for commenting.

      All the best,