The middle of a journey…..building a bucket list.
Two months ago I didn’t have a Bucket List. For several reasons I failed to approach one. One, you cannot fail if you don’t start although you could argue that you have already failed if you don’t start. That could be it in a nutshell. A perfectionist and self admittedly OCD I hate failing – if I don’t start I can’t say I failed. Two, I am a list checker-offer. I have this huge fear of not checking everything off my list. You know, that “f” word comes in again. Three, I’ve done so much – before I even hit 20. It all seems another lifetime ago. Less than two months ago I swung from a trapeze. With the act of climbing that fragile ladder, swinging from that bar and letting go of my fears, my thoughts for a bucket list are born…
…or maybe not.
No, I’ve never sky dived but I stood on top of a volcano – Masaya Volcano and faced the very real but low chance that it could blow while standing there. I faced a scorpion, slept in a house while rats scurried overhead, rode a crowded bus through the countryside of Nicaragua AND LIVED, almost got dragged out to sea, helped level a church floor – in a skirt – with a shovel and plank. I hiked the jungle, drank soda from a baggie, saw a miniscule snake – 2 inches long, and was asked to pose nude. (HECK NO!)
I never climbed Mt. Everest, but I did climb sand dunes (mountains) in New Mexico, walk and touch the Chaco Ruins, hike the Carlsbad Caverns, tend a Navajo cemetery with a sweet little girl whos mother was buried there, and spent the longest hours outside a shut down East El Paso business – steel barred, bullet holes in bullet proof glass, with 7 other teens and 3 adults in 104 degree heat.
I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, played futball with orphans in El Salvador. Visited a dump where people LIVE amongst the trash, dug and helped lay a foundation, learned the art of making and mixing concrete by hand. I’ve lost part of my heart to sweet little children like Rodrigo, child #7 in a small Nicaraguan town who never had seen a white person before, held and sang lullabies to sweet 2 year old Wendy-bird, whose leg was eaten by toxins from concrete she ate to survive.
I’ve been to the Drakensberg Mountains in South Africa, the markets of Nicaragua, El Salvador and South Africa. I’ve faced an angry elephant on safari with nothing between our open vehicle but yards of space, had dental work in done in another country. I’ve celebrated my birthday is Swasiland as hundreds of beautiful African voices sang to me in Swahili. I’ve seen the excess of a president who builds another sprawling mansion while his people sit in squalor, living in dumps and houses tacked together with plastic and tar paper – living on mere pennies a day for hours of hard labor. I’ve walked where black and white have struggled and fought and history was made through Nelson Mandela – townships where no white person dare to walk alone but when admitted, finds the beauty of a transformed Coke can, the entrepreneurship of a woman who refuses to be pulled down to nothing.
Even more, I’ve laughed, I’ve loved, I’ve shared my heart, my hope, my life, with hundreds of people – children, adults, poverty stricken in all these places I call a part of me now. My life has been full. What have I needed a bucket list for? When so many struggle just to survive I struggle to envision visiting a third world country on a lark, for fun. I’ve seen the underworld, the pain, the hopelessness and I will never be the same.
In the face of all that, what is a Bucket List? So here I am. In the middle of a journey, and past steps tug at my heart. Finally far enough away to try to find a balance but still close enough to feel the pain. Today I choose. I choose to live fully, embracing every moment I have – to help those I can, to live what’s been given to me and take every moment I’m given to love, to laugh, and to remember.
As I write I realize I don’t really need a bucket list but here it is…
Live life fully, embrace every chance I have to live, learn, and love. I might be able to fail at a bucket list but I cannot fail at this.
But if I get to live some of my dreams, I will tour the streets of Ireland, tour Europe, visit the Christian History of Germany, walk through Israel.
I’ll skydive, surf, and once again see the faces of Rodrigo, of Juan, and Wendy Bird among so many others. I’ll teach my kids the beauty of serving, of sharing life, and stepping out and trying even when they are afraid.
I’ll live every day so when I die my last words aren’t “I wish….”
What’s on your Bucket List? What inspires you or motivates you in life?
Today I am linking up with A Life in Balance.