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Sunday, January 13, 2008


The Bucket List is a new film with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. With nothing in common but a terminal illness, they embark on an adventure to do everything they want to do in life before they kick the bucket. Fun and interesting premise, no? My local newspaper thought so, too, and ask their readers what was on their “bucket list.”

Several golfers dreamed of making a hole-in-one (I’m sure my hubby would second that one!). Some of the adventurous types wanted to ride in a hot-air balloon or see the earth from a B-24 bomber. Motorcycle trips across New Zealand or hiking the Appalachian trail topped others’ list. Many people dreamed of exotic vacations or taking the whole family to Disneyland. Sports-minded types would thrill at playing for the Chicago Bears or just watching a game at Wrigley Field. One grandfather’s wish was to see his 4-year-old grandson play Little League baseball, and a lighthouse collector wanted to visit a real lighthouse in person. Many bucket wishes revolved around family and faith—watching the sunrise on the beach with a special granddaughter or walking where Jesus walked in the Holy Land.

This is the stuff that causes my writer’s heart to beat faster, my imagination to spin off in unclaimed territory. Knowing my characters longings, their wildest dreams, and the one thing they would move heaven and earth to accomplish gives me new possibilities for plot twists, for deepening personalities and relationships of the imaginary people whose lives I weave into stories.

I haven’t seen “The Bucket List” movie (rated PG-13) so can’t attest to how moral or entertaining it is, but it sounds like something I would like. For certain, it brings up the question—what’s on my bucket list?

Right off, I’d have to say I want my name on the cover of a book as a published author. There burns within me the desire to become accomplished enough to have an editor, a publishing board believe that my writing has merit. I know God planted the desire in my heart, and should it come to pass, I will be grateful that He has allowed my dream to come true.

After mulling it over for a bit, however, I know that this is only a fraction of what my life is about. I’ve been blessed with a husband who loves me, four boys who’ve grown into pretty cool adults, grandchildren who amaze and delight me. Sprinkle in some memorable trips every year or two and countless friends and family who’ve intersected my life along the way, and I would have to say, this journey called life has been full of scenic turnouts. Fun and sometimes painful side trips have molded me and given my life meaning. Mercifully so. Within the marrow of my bones, I know my true bucket wish—to see Jesus face to face and bow before Him. To hear him say, “Well done.”

Should I abandon my dream to be published? Absolutely not! I will still aim my arrow toward the prize. I will pant after it, read books on writing, hang out with writerly friends, and polish my sentences. I will give my characters grit, my plots pizzaz, and my dreams to God.

How about you? What quickens your heart? What’s on your bucket list? I’m dying to kn


Erica Vetsch said...

That publishing dream lives in my heart to, and would have to top my bucket list, but the truth is, that would be the gravy.

I have an amazingly wonderful life, full of blessings too numerous to count.

One other item on the England, Egypt, New Zealand.

Myra Johnson said...

Well said, Carla! This movie is also on my "to see" agenda, so of course I've been asking myself what might be on my "bucket list." I don't have to tell you that publication is as dear a dream to me as it is to you. But as you said, life is filled with so many other things that just might be even more important in God's great plan for my life. I'm trying hard (and praying a lot) to let go of the steering wheel, listen to what He says, and follow where He leads.

Anonymous said...

Witness one person fall to their knees in repentance before God.

(BTW - I did watch the movie, I can't remember if there was any bad language, but the movie itself was, IMO, very good -- I cried!)

The Koala Bear Writer said...

Saw the preview for the movie and it's definately on my list of to-see movies (and that list is very short, with what Hollywood is producing lately!). I'd have to say that, like the other writers here, getting my novel published (at least one of them...) is on my bucket list. And it just struck me that a few other things - getting married, having a baby - that were on my list have now happened. :) Still would like to do some travelling... see Europe, Israel, Scotland. And definately want to hear God tell me, "Well done, good and faithful servant." (But maybe that's the after-bucket list???)