By Amy McCollom
We have all heard of the notorious Bucket List; a list of all the things we want to do before we die. Well, this pandemic has turned that list upside down. No longer is death the only thing that can keep us from checking off the things on our list. Now there are other factors involved, such as quaranteens, sickness, and bans on travel. Who would have guessed?
My Bucket List has become more realistic and attainable as I have gotten older, and also as life has gotten more complicated. I no longer desire to skydive, or ride in a race car, or hang glide off of a cliff. I have marked off going to London, Paris, Amsterdam, and Rome. I do not want to cross the Golden Gate bridge or the Brooklyn Bridge, or raft down the Colorado river.
I do not care if I ever see New York City, Boston, Seattle, Miami, San Francisco, or Martha’s Vineyard. That is not important to me anymore. I guess when faced with the grim reality of people dying all around me, not knowing if my time is coming soon, I re-evaluate what is really most important to me. (I would still like to pet a lemur though.)
I understand now why, when my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer, that he didn’t really want to go anywhere. He just wanted his family around him. He just wanted closeness, love, and a closer relationship with everyone who mattered to him most. He read his Bible and drew closer to God at that time, as well. Not wasting a moment that he had left on himself, he gave his love, wisdom, and encouragement to every soul that stepped through his doorway. He ministered from his deathbed to everybody.
Now that we are being kept apart from everyone, I wonder if I have shared enough love, wisdom, and encouragement to the people that I have encountered. Is my relationship God as strong as it should be? Are there words that need to be spoken? Apologies that need to be made? Paul said, “I die daily.” As perhaps we all should examine ourselves deep down to the bones, and crucify ourselves on our own altar of repentance so we may walk blameless, if this be, indeed, our last day on earth.
My New List of things that I really want to do will include things like:
1. Worship with my whole heart in the sanctuary of my church.
2. Enjoy the fellowship and conversations of family and friends at the next potluck.
3. Watch groups of children frolic at the park.
4. Eat an ice cream cone while people-watching at the mall.
5. Invite my neighbors onto my porch for some brownies.
6. Gather together at my brother’s house for a Bible study.
7. Go to a movie.
8. Eat at a restaurant that uses real plates and silverware.
9. Send my children off to school.
10. I want to not be afraid anymore.
Like Paul and Silas did when they were imprisoned for doing nothing more than the works of Jesus Christ; as their feet were bound in the darkness of the depths of the jail, Paul and Silas lifted up their voices in the midnight hour and Sang Praises to the Lord so that all the prisoners heard them. It was then that a great shaking broke off their chains and the doors of every prisoner burst open. Praise moves God, and then God moves our mountains. The Joy (praise) of the Lord is our strength. We must remember to sing even when we feel those chains tighten, and even when it’s dark and gloomy, because God hasn’t given up on us, as long as we don’t give up on Him. Sing. Sing, my friends. And make yourself a new list of what is important to you. And it shall be done. God is listening, always.