I’ve had a “bucket list” for years before I had ever heard the term “bucket list”. It’s about four pages long. I started it when I was in high school. There was a teacher who read us a story about a millionaire who had cancer and was given six months to live. He realized he had worked for all these years, made all this money, and never really done anything that he wanted to do in life. So he quit his job and made a list of 100 things to do in six months. From the mundane, like cook a six course meal, to the possible, like meet the Queen of England, and the fantastic, like travel to the moon. (This was 25 years ago when I heard this story, so it was a bit more unbelievable to think that civilians were capable of space travel.) Turns out the doctor’s were wrong and the six months turned into years, and he realized he had more to accomplish. So he kept chasing his dreams, and hoped to one day even be able to achieve #37, walk on the moon.
At the age of 15 (yes, I was 15 and a junior in high school) I thought this was a great story. So I made my own list. And I’ve added to it over the years. I have crossed stuff off too–like graduate from college, live somewhere for more than five years, fall in love, and have my eyesight corrected. But there are other things–like skydive, have children, travel to Moscow/Africa/Turkey/dozens of other places, learn to hula hoop, and own a Burnese Mountain Dog–that I have yet to accomplish. So picking two? Just two? Very difficult. But so many great ones to choose from!
So here are two that have been on the list the longest, and why.
Learn how to play the cello.
To me this is just the sexiest of instruments. As a second alto, the full-throated vibrato of the strings without the shrillness of the violin or the bulkiness of the string bass. The exquisite compositional movements by Bach, Dvorak, etc. And then there is this, the best quote I found while looking for a photo of a cello online: The cello is played by bowing the elegant bow across the strings. Sometimes, a choir of angels will join in with the cellist. Making the world a better place. Amen. Yep, on the bucket list.
Find a husband, chosen by God, for me to spend my entire life with.
Look, I just turned 40. (AAAAGGGHHH!!!) I don’t feel 40, I still feel 25 some days. But 40 I am. I have been engaged twice, once in my 20s, once in my 30s. The first was my first true love. The second was the one that I settled for so I wouldn’t be alone. I thought we could make it work. He was a lay pastor. He was a Christian. He was here. So why not try. But it wasn’t right. (Turns out after we broke up I found out he was also a heroin dealer. Who knew.) I think I had talked myself into it because he was a Christian. Chosen by his church to be a leader among men. So it should work, right? Who cares that he was a deadbeat, alcoholic, and (unbeknownst to me) a drug dealer. I am just thankful that my big wake up came prior to the vows and not after. But acknowledging that I was settling with my choice, simply because he was the only thing around offering at the time, was a big step for me. And I finally figured it out. I get asked all the time why I’m not married, why I don’t have kids. And true, I never pictured myself at this point in my life as single and childless. But like I said–I figured it out. It’s incredibly important to me that my husband share my religious beliefs. Years of dating outside my faith or even a Christian but a radically different background (a Quaker with 12 years of Catholic school, the first love was!) taught me that the important thing is that you are able to attend and worship together. And more than anything, I want a man I can pray with. To a point, a man that can be the spiritual leader of my family yet still respect the choices and input from his spouse before making an informed decision. And this, this is the reason I’m still single. I have male friends that I’ve been friends with for decades, and people wonder why we’re not married. I have finally found an answer that I can give that truly explains why I’ve not pursued a relationship with this person, who is not a practicing believer: I haven’t waited 40 years to find someone to spend my life with here on earth only to not have them with me in the next one. I realize that in heaven there is no husband/wife, but I like to believe that they are there with me, not suffering the hereafter in a place any less spectacular. So that is on my bucket list too!