25 Mar 2017

My Bucket List

            Yesterday morning I checked something off my bucket list (that list of things one hopes to accomplish prior to 'kicking the bucket'): I went for a run in Central Park. It was, by far, NOT my best run, but I did it. My body was really wanting to still be in the hotel bed, but I managed to hammer out a few miles.
            I was feeling rather pleased with myself, and treated myself to a fancy coffee on the way back to the hotel, where someone in the lobby commented on my rather rough appearance (you know how some people look fantastic when they run? I'm not one of those people. My skin goes blotchy red, I huff and puff like I'm about to blow a house down, and my current level of tiredness means the bags under my eyes are large enough to pack my luggage in.) BUT - pleased with myself, full of endorphins, about to be adequately caffeinated, I mentioned that this was a bucket list check-off.
            I was unprepared for the response I got: "Oh. Really? That's sad."
            Sad? Sad. SAD? My still tired brain wondered if 'sad' was a new catchphrase for 'exciting' or 'exhilarating' or 'empowering' - apparently not. My companion continued that a bucket list should be for really extravagant things, nothing so *simple* as a run in a park.
            I refused to deflate. Because for me, this run *was* extravagant.
            I am not a natural runner; I've had enough injuries and surgeries to make running a significant challenge. I've spent intentional time preparing for this run, so my body wouldn't (totally) collapse when I made the effort. I had opportunity to be present in New York City in the first place. I opted to spend the time and money to stay an extra day here, on Columbus Circle, so I would have easy access to the park. I made space in my luggage for the requisite shoes and clothes.  I timed other workouts accordingly, and mapped several routes.
            It was not a small feat; it was not simple; it was, for me, an extravagance. Well worth it, mind, but an extravagance: I have no regrets!
            The truth is, my bucket list includes other things that are extravagant to me, which may seem comparably simple to others. But - it's MY list. These are my dreams and hopes, and I do what I can to make them happen.
            How unfortunate that the lobby stranger could not appreciate that. However, I use the experience to reflect that as a Christian it is my responsibility to build up the kingdom of God. As such, I pray that God will help me to respond with sensitivity to others as they share with me their plans and accomplishments, their dreams and intentions.
            Realistically, when we have narrowed down to a short bucket list the things that are most important to us (whatever they are, and for whatever reasons), we have articulated a part of our inner self. And when we share that part of ourselves, we are trusting the recipient of that information to respect it and join with us in celebrating its completion.
            No matter how small or how extravagant, your bucket list is yours. Own it, love it, live it.

            I pray that you have some extravagancies on your own bucket list; that you are able to engage with those intentions and find deep joy from the journey, and that you will be supported by everyone you meet as you make those dreams a reality.

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