I believe every human has a finite number of heartbeats. I don’t intend to waste any of mine. ~Neil Armstrong
I wrote once about how the idea of death can make us brave to live life. Sadly, the story has disappeared from the website it was on, and with it the brave moment language that I likely need to read over and over again. It was in those words that I shared a list. You know, THE list. Call it what you will – bucket, adventure, whatever. It’s still growing. Last week, there were 21 things on it. Then there were 25. Maybe 30 is just fine. I can’t say with certainty, but maybe the list needs just a few more adventures. Because life itself is just that – a strange, beautiful, joyful, painful, messy miracle of an adventure. Every single breath of it is a divine gift from God Almighty.
There’s a little bit of brave moment language. Every single breath, a divine gift. Maybe that should be on the list. To simply breathe.
I could not, at any age, be content to take my place by the fireside and simply look on. Life was meant to be lived. Curiosity must be kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life. ~Eleanor Roosevelt
The Adventure List
- Write a list of adventures and share it with others, so when I am feeling less than brave about living every ounce of life to the fullest, I can be reminded that every day I’m alive is an opportunity to be a song of praise to my King.
- Sit on chilly metal bleachers on blustery spring mornings and cheer my grandson on as he puts on shin guards, long socks, and cleats and joins his team in a great game of soccer, blabbering far too much about how the moment reminds me of blustery spring mornings watching his dad do the same thing.
- Go on a 3-day roadtrip with my best friend. There will be no particular destination in mind, and we’ll savor local fare in small towns, drive along back country roads, find misfit treasures, and be amazed by the beauty of God’s precious imagination. Yes, we’ll use a map. That way our husbands will feel better about our departure.
- Finish what I started, and get my masters degree – even if nothing comes of it. It’s one of those “personal dream” things that I carry in my heart.
- Spend an extended season in a foreign land, caring for the discarded. Though Guatemala and Uganda call to me, I’ll be willing to go wherever…
- Run three half-marathons in a single year so I can get one of those cool Rock & Roll Marathon Series Heavy Medal awards. While I would love to get the “Rock Star” award, I’m thinking 5 in a year might be the end of my toenails.
- Gently hold the hand of someone as they say “hello” to eternity. I think it would be an honor.
- Go on a really great vacation with my family. The destination really doesn’t matter. Family does.
- Learn to fry. My mom could fry the best chicken, the best sweet potato pies. Frying terrifies me.
- Put on a tutu and dance and twirl with my little lady. We will record it and we will watch it over and over again – even when she’s trading in her tutu for a veil and gown.
- Spend a day picking fresh veggies and fruit in a garden, then put on an apron and learn how to can from someone who has done it for years and has stories to tell about its goodness.
- Publish the books about the Stories of One and Me in Them. The books that will prayerfully inspire someone to let their heart be filled with faith and move their feet to action by caring for those in the margins.
- Have a picnic. An honest-to-goodness fried chicken picnic (hence the need to learn to fry), with lawn darts and Frisbee and naps on quilts. With at least 10 friends. Teach every single one of them the magical beauty of laying on sweet soft grass and staring up into the blue and the clouds until you feel your body let go and want to fly away.
- Watch my grandson laugh about how awkward mortarboards are to wear – and then stare in the mirror with a little bit of “wow” when he sees himself in one and realizes its meaning.
- Drink a pint in a pub in a small town in Ireland while chatting about nothing in particular with the locals. Just because. I don’t really like beer, but it seems like something that just needs to be done.
- Skinnydip. No more explanation required.
- Be part of the story of complete rescue of one girl. Even just one.
- Journey to India to serve orphans. There’s always been a tug to travel there. I’ve been told it will be an assault on all my senses. I am ready to be assaulted.
- Reach into the sky and catch the sunrise with my husband on Lake Travis. That’s right – sunRISE. Where we can see new mercies sparkle in the growing light. (This one is DONE. But we’ll do it again.)
- Crash a large, prestigious event. Perhaps I’ll try out a fancy accent and pretend to be a princess. I think everyone should keep a little make-believe in their reality.
- Sit quietly at the top of a mountain and be overwhelmed by the beauty below. Overcoming my strange not-always-there-but-when-it-is-it’s-sad fear of heights isn’t necessary. I just want to get there and observe. And be awestruck.
- Read a Greek-Hebrew study Bible from start to finish, so that every story is filled with new layers of amazing to top the layers God has already placed in my heart.
- Introduce my family to my “family” in Guatemala – minister alongside them at Pequeno Refugio in Xela and Mi Especial Tesoro in Chimaltenango, and have them with me as I find my two precious girls in Guatemala City.
- Write about the overwhelming splendor of where God lives, and have others illustrate it with photography and artwork. His neighborhood is beautiful and restorative. Writing about it brings joy.
- Learn to make chapati, kurtoskalacs, and papanasi, knowing every bite will remind me that the other side of this globe has some really beautiful moments just waiting to happen.
- Build a huge sandcastle on a sparkling beach near crystalline water – with a tower and a moat and a place to sit and pretend to be royalty. We will bring a crown and name our littles the King and Queen.
- Find something to do with the thing that’s in me that sees story in everything. That thing that reframes every image, that thing that hears and tastes and smells and feels a sunset or feet on orange clay. I don’t know what to do with that. But there is something to be done. Maybe I need someone to help me with it.
- Get that second tattoo. Yes, the second one. The one that says “selah.” The one that reminds me to deliberately breathe, to take in each and every moment as a gift.
- Get that third tattoo. The one that says “felix culpa.” The one that celebrates even the most horrific pieces of my life – the violation of all things innocent and right. “Happy fault.” Brokenness is meant for redemption.
- Write love letters to those who mean the most to me. Hand-written ones, complete with unapologetic misspellings and a smudge or two. Messy ones. Because love is messy and life is messy. And messy can be divine.