Revising the Bucket List

bucketIt’s still sinking in that Mom is not with us anymore, and really, I don’t think our family has fully adjusted to Dad’s passing two years back. Three short years ago Mom and Dad were seemingly healthy, each with a family history of longevity into the 90s. Now they’re both gone. They were good people. Wow, that seemed to happen fast.

But Mom and Dad aren’t the only ones. My wife and I have other friends and relatives who have passed away from illness or accident within the last year. You may not have had the same recent close-up experience with death, but you probably know someone grappling with a serious, potentially fatal illness, and of course we all see media reports of innocents killed in the Middle East, addicts dying of overdoses, and many tragedies large and small cutting lives short. People die.

Yes, people die. But more to the point, I’m going to die. (And, more to the point for you, you’re going to die.) No one here gets out alive. What do I make of that? How should I live? What is worth my time, and what is not? What’s on my “bucket list?” Those are the questions that I’ve been asking myself over the last couple of years. Examining the lives of those friends and relatives who have passed away, looking at how they lived and the impact they had, and continuing to follow Jesus is helping me understand that life is really all about relationships – with God and with man.

Here’s how my bucket list is shaping up:

  1. Love God. Follow Jesus.
  2. Love my wife and be a good husband.
  3. Help my children as they establish their own adult lives. Be a better father, and adjust to the changing nature of my relationships with them.
  4. Take care of myself. Eat right, exercise and remain emotionally balanced. Rest more.
  5. Live simply. Shed possessions. Avoid entanglements. Be grateful for what I have.
  6. Listen more. Talk less.  Stop arguing.
  7. Be kinder, gentler, more understanding, and more tolerant.
  8. Do work that really matters to people, especially work that matters to their souls.
  9. Remain passionate (but without scaring people).
  10. Focus more on the process – being the person I want to be and doing the work I am called to do – and less on the results. Leave outcomes up to God.

None of us knows how much time we have left. But even with a very long life, I won’t be able to cross any of these things off the list before I depart. I’m a work in progress, and perfection is not attainable. Nevertheless, it’s good to have clarity about what I’m doing, and also what I’m not doing. I don’t need a dream vacation, or to climb Everest. If I just work on the ten things above, I’m sure I will have a fulfilling life, and probably quite a bit of fun too.

Mom and Dad have shown me that.



  1. Jeff Wood says:

    Peter, sorry about your mom. Stay your course. J

  2. Peter Weiss says:

    Thanks Jeff. Pete