This summer we made a bucket list of sorts as a family. We brainstormed all the things we wanted to do this summer. I resisted making one because I don't like the idea of a bucket list. But we did it so our two kids could see that neither one got to have a monopoly on the fun. Everyone got to put in their ideas, and we would try to do some of them. And we did.
Then, one day on our vacation, we were riding a cable car in San Francisco. As we inched our way up Powell Street, my son burst out unexpectedly, "WOW, Mom! This is like five bucket lists! And it isn't even on our list! This is AWESOME!"
What a reminder for life!
I don't like the idea of making a bucket list or any list that keeps track of my accomplishments because it feeds into my addiction to perfectionism and the illusion that I can control life. All the years of walking through infertility and the adoption process forced me to let go of that illusion. My life did not go as I planned, and I had to figure out how to deal with that reality. I had to let go of the list and the time table and the expectations. I had to stop comparing my life to those around me. I had to accept that I wasn't in control.
Letting go started when I began living one day at a time. And that came when I started seeing the gifts in each day. Some days it was a stretch. Some days I didn't want to see them. Some days they stared me in the face, and I couldn't help but reach out my hands.
How many times, since then, have I felt like my life is not going as I planned only to miss out on life itself? And then a gift unexpected and I'm shaken from my stupor. Awakened to the gifts in my every day life. Gifts from the One who holds my hand.
Maybe you know what I am talking about. Maybe you too have had to figure out how to live life beyond the if only's and figure out how to live right now and breathe in what is good, kind and wonderful in the midst of stress, pain, and uncertainty.
My circumstances have changed from those years when I was waiting for a child, but I still need the reminder to let go when I am holding on too tight to life as I want it. My heart still needs the gift of gratitude to help me open my hands and let God have control.
I want to live life beyond my bucket list -- One cable car ride at a time.