There’s a hole in my bucket list, dear Liza

I never made a bucket list. I don’t know if I ever will, but it isn’t because I don’t want to be prepared to die.

Last year I celebrated American citizenship with a woman from Iraq by buying her lunch. She turned her palms up to pray for our meal. Her prayer was simple, “God, I open my hands to whatever you want to give me.”

I stared at her instead of my bowl, I wasn’t sure I could eat. She had been through so many trials–she was still enduring ramifications while we shared our soup and a sandwich. Still, she was more open to whatever God wanted to give her than I was.

Last night a friend told me about a statistic measuring happiness in two different groups one year after life altering events. The groups: winning the lottery and a life threatening accident. The people who had suffered, but lived, were happier than the people who had won money. She told me this as her daughter rested in a hospital bed next to us.

James chapter 1 says to consider trials as joy–but he doesn’t say we should ask for them. I don’t know if I could, sincerely.

Photo by Carlos Pimentel on Unsplash

I’m not close to a birthday or a milestone, so that isn’t why the bucket list idea has come up. I’ve just been thinking of all the things I’ve experienced that no one would intentionally want, but make for a better, more rounded life. (After it is finished.)

I have been thinking of this as I ask God “why” about things in my own life and the lives of the people I love.

I know the question is good to ask. But I think that, while waiting for the answer, it is more important to watch for the good He can bring out of it.

As for bucket lists, we all have holes.

A benign example: raising and killing chickens to eat. I hated slaughtering them. We did it several times though, and it changed the way I think about food. I still love meat, so I try not to watch videos of people playing with cows as pets. But it is good to be affected once in awhile. I think everyone who eats meat should experience the process once.

I would love to hear a list of things you think everyone should experience, but no one would put on their list. Things like cleaning public toilets, bussing tables, going to bed hungry (once)…

My prayers are not as open handed as my refugee friend, but I have stopped being so specific in my requests. Lately, I have begun to only ask God to give me something I didn’t know I wanted.

Do you have something to add?