Sunday, August 23, 2015

My "Bucket List"

Many of us remember a movie released back in 2007 called, “The Bucket List”.  Just to refresh your  memory, it was about two men who shared a hospital room with plenty of time to think about what might happen next – and about how much of that was in their hands.  Basically the movie’s message was, it’s never too late to live life to the fullest.

I recently had one of those “bucket list” experiences!  We were having one of those fabulous, Upper Peninsula summer days….you know…where the sky was brilliant blue, the sun sparkled off the water on the bay, the breeze created ripples and the temperatures were perfect.  It was the kind of day that deserved to be celebrated!

In our community we have a vast, waterfront park that includes a public beach area. The beach itself is located on an island with a charming, old fashioned looking bridge making it all accessible.  Across from the beach/island is a marina with a variety of sailing and motor boats berthed in the many slips.

This year a new business was launched out of the beach house; we can now rent kayaks and paddle boards.  The beach/marina area is frequently dotted with people enjoying both of those but the paddle boards really intrigued me.  I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to stand upright on a flat board and use an oar to create movement around the harbor.

Earlier this summer I harbored a secret wish: before summer ended I wanted to try one of those paddle boards.  The little voice in me said, “Judy, you are getting ready to have one of those “enter-another-decade” birthdays!”  (You know, the one that no longer allows denial about the aging process.)  That voice was gaining strength and nearly won over the secret “bucket list” wish. 

I am enormously blessed to have wonderful friends, many of them younger in years than me.  My friend, Michelle, who also embraces life, and is ever ready to have an adventure, encouraged me to join her and teen family members to head to the beach and rent paddle boards.  After I paid the fee and donned my life jacket, that crazy little voice fought to be heard in my head.   “What are you doing?  Isn’t this really for younger people?”  Fortunately my sense of adventure and the encouragement of the others won out. WHAT FUN!!! 

Per the instructor’s tips, I started out on my knees.  Well, as physically active as I am, those knees of mine did not want to stay in that position very long.  (I suspect it has something to do with the age “issue”.)  So I sat on my behind and stretched my legs out.  All of us were laughing and hooting and cheering for each other.

After watching my friend get all the way up, I decided I had to make the big move!  Up I went!  Yes!  Me! Judy Vader!  The muscles in my legs quivered but I was up and standing!  What a great view of the world around me.  It was almost like walking on water!

I believe God rejoices with us (maybe even smiles?) when we embrace those challenges and life adventures.  God tells us in His Word (Jer. 29:11) that He has good plans for us.  In the New Testament (I. Tim. 4:4) He tells us everything He created is good and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving. 

Challenges come in many different forms.  Sometimes they are fun and low risk (like my adventure on the paddle board).  At other times we may be plunging into a new job, starting a marriage or a family….something that feels more risky.  And at other times a challenge could even mean embracing and growing through illness, loss, or some type of adversity.  I have experienced all of those challenges.   Some of them terrified me, but I was determined to not let fear hold me back. 

What is on your bucket list?  Is God calling you to step out in faith? Maybe you have had something thrust upon you, something hard that you would never have chosen. Do you think God is surprised? 

I want to leave this life with a body that is worn out from embracing ALL God has for me!  Every hurt, every sorrow, every pain, every joy and every life experience has the potential of drawing me closer to my Savior and growing me into the woman He wants me to be.  I want my “bucket list” to reflect the adventures God has planned for me.  So…I wonder, what’s next?

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