A Bucket List….Hmmm



I cannot recall the first time someone asked me what was on my “bucket list”, but I know I began to hear the question more often when I turned 50. I didn’t have a “bucket list” (still don’t) and was never sure how to respond. I love visiting new places and trying some new things, but it would be difficult for me to create a list of specific things or places.


The 2007 movie, “The Bucket List”, starring Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson likely added to the popularity of considering a bucket list. This unlikely duo presents a poignant portrayal of what life means when each unexpectedly faces a diagnosis that will end their lives. They begin to measure time through a different lens and consider what they had hoped to do and never did. If you have seen the movie, you know an adventure ensues that results in the two men taking trips to various places around the world. They risk skydiving, go on safari, and more. In the end what they discover is more significant than the exotic adventures they experience.


img_3433The idea of a “bucket list” seems to come from the anticipation of “kicking the bucket”, in other words…dying. It suggests this life is where things happen, where the good stuff is to grab and enjoy. It isn’t that I am in denial about the reality of death or that it will happen to me.  I think my awareness of that reality results more and more in savoring each day and living it to the fullest, cherishing God’s little surprises, and His gentle whispers with a clear sense that time is precious.


Recently I read something about this that John Eldredge has written in his latest book, All Things New, which gave me additional perspective. Let’s look at his words:


“A bucket list means those things we hope to do before we die. Meaning, it’s now or never, baby. Bucket list mentality is very revealing and even more tragic, because it betrays our belief that this life really is our only chance.”


 Of course John is referring to eternity and for those of us who believe, we often talk about the hope of heaven and life going on beyond this life on the earth we know all too well. Perhaps the hard part beyond that awareness is our difficulty conceptualizing what img_1052that “next life” looks like. There are hints here and there, but also a curiosity about whether it means as John later says, “…we go to the pews in the sky”. Yes, we look forward to being with the Lord and we know we will be worshipping and yet it can be easy to wonder how time is measured there. What else might we do? Mansions…what do they look like compared to what is considered a mansion here on earth? We go to a feast, but what will the taste of food be like there?


If we are honest with ourselves, there are some things in this world that we love despite all the flaws on this earth and with those that inhabit it. I love the beauty of sunrises and sunsets, the sound of a gurgling stream, the smell of roses in my garden, the taste of ripe blackberries, and the view of a velvet sky sprinkled with stars. There’s Boom Lake in Alberta, Canada that takes my breath away and the sound of a mountain stream outside a hotel in Lake Louise that nourishes my soul. There’s the view of the mountains of eastern Tennessee from the patio of a favorite resort where we have stayed. They all remind me of the One who created all this. I think He might even smile at the pleasure they give me (or any of us) along with other things He created that I haven’t listed. Will He have created anything such as this in eternity ahead?


PPP 026If I look at scripture about the future carefully, I see more than one or two references to a “new heaven and a new earth”. That goes beyond my imagination to conceive. Does a “new earth” mean something akin to what Eden may have been before the fall? Do our hearts have some awareness that we were meant for something more than what we know here? Is that what drives us with a hunger we cannot satisfy?


In All Things New John Eldredge challenges me to look more closely at the passages and the way the words appear:


“Notice also that God promises to make current things new—as opposed to making all new things. If God were wiping away reality as we know it and ushering in a new reality, the phrase would have been ‘I am making all new things!”. But that’s not what he says, and God is very careful about what he says.”


 Whatever is out there ahead of me or any of us, I think it’s going to be amazing. If God has created the incredible beauty we already can see, the hope and anticipation of His Stream at Blackberry Farm, TNperfection in the time ahead is a marvelous thing indeed. I wonder if it will be a little like going from the black and white TV’s of not so many years ago to the high definition sets we watch today that nearly makes us feel we are “in” the picture with the brilliant colors and full rich surround sounds. (I’m sure that is a pale metaphor, but maybe gives a sense of what may be ahead.)


As I think about it now, maybe I can’t think of what to put on a “bucket list” because even though I will face physical death here, I will go on living into eternity and life there is beyond description and life to the fullest!!


Being His daughter completed anything I would ever put on a “bucket list” even though I look forward to things I will still do this side of “amazing”!

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Evening sunset


















14 thoughts on “A Bucket List….Hmmm

  1. Thanks for sharing your thought!! I have not made my bucket list but loved the movie 🙂 Thanks for bringing it to the party at Fiesta Friday! I might have missed it but please do link back to Fiesta Friday to get a chance to be featured and so that more bloggers get to see your amazing posts and join the party!! Happy Fiesta Friday 🙂 🙂

  2. “Being His daughter completed anything I would ever put on a “bucket list” even though I look forward to things I will still do this side of “amazing”!”

    Yes! Beautifully put! That gives real perspective. Being with Him is the main thing. All the rest will be a big surprise of the very best kind! ( : I enjoyed reading your beautiful way of putting it!

    Pam, But I must confess I’ve been reading your posts re: Eldredge’s latest book with especial interest because I listened to a talk he gave on this subject of ‘all things new’ and came away really disturbed that the emphasis was entirely on the pleasures of having all the things we love around us for eternity and getting back all the things we’ve lost, but no mention was made of our primary hope, that of being with Jesus.

    There is a whole movement this direction in ‘the Church’ to de-emphasize heaven in favor of living on a new earth (and making heaven sound boring and meaningless anyway). I’ve been studying the roots of this thing lately and disturbed at the trend. For me, the hope of heaven is about being with Jesus. Yes, it’s not the whole picture. There will be new heavens and a new earth, and new bodies as well! but these things are not spelled out in detail for us, in my opinion because the main thing is to be ‘with the Lord’ and the whereabouts is secondary…

    Incidentally, with reference to the ‘all things new’. The previous verse says ‘the former things have passed away’. Other passages make quite clear everything’s burned up with fervent heat and such…I’m wary of making much of word transpositions without other passages to back up the novel idea. Perhaps he will develop the idea with other passages…

    Maybe I am being to analytical about all this. Maybe it’s nothing to worry about. Maybe our hope of heaven has been misplaced all along… But I am wary when a new ‘teaching’ arises that seeks to overthrow centuries worth of what the church has believed…

    I hope you don’t mind me bringing this up in your comments. I truly do enjoy your blogposts and perspectives, and am interested to hear more of your thoughts on Eldredge’s book and whether you perceive a mis-balanced emphasis, or anything to be alarmed about. Thanks for writing here Pam and sharing what you’re reading ( ;

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings about the book, Linda. I am about halfway through the book and have not had quite that perspective. I also tend to spit out the bones of a writer’s words and take the good nourishment I find unless it is total heresy in which case, I stop reading. I have heard John speak often enough and read enough of his books that I don’t believe he is intending to suggest a new earth is preferable to heaven. I do find his words fascinating about what heaven and earth made new will be like. As someone who lives in the midst of the beauty of the CO mountains, I know he sees the incredible majesty of God’s creation that He gave us to enjoy and that point assuredly to Him. The theme of restoration is one that I find powerful indeed because it resonates from Genesis to Revelation. He restores humankind to Himself over and over again. He valued the earth as significant enough to promise Noah He would never send a flood to destroy it. He also restored my own heart and spirit to Him when I came to Him. The possibility that He can restore the earth to put it as it was before the fall is fascinating to consider. Additionally, after the rapture and tribulation, we return to earth from heaven with Him and reign with Him for the Millennium on the earth so it is not a stretch to me to envision a perfect earth as He intended during that era. It doesn’t deny heaven or the centrality of the Lord or our worship of Him, but does speak to Kingdom and our possible role as His perfected bride some day. I will let you know if the second half of his book impacts me differently.

      1. Thanks so much, Pam for your clarifications. I guess I tend to choke on bones before I get them spit out! ha. I have enjoyed some of Eldredge’s books in the past, but have not read this one so I appreciate your highlights. Yes, there is a new earth coming and new bodies–our imaginations of them are likely the best we can do given our present human limitations! If this book stirs us to our true hope this is good. In the talk I heard, anyone, believer or unbeliever could have shared that hope–of having all ones lost treasures restored. But only believers have the hope of being with the Lord. If our hope of heaven has grown dull, it may be because we’ve lost the significance of what heaven’s about–worshiping our ‘first love’–not because we need a better hope, a beautiful earth beyond our imaginings (which will be there as well) Yes, do keep us posted as the book goes. Is Jesus central to the hope or might the hope he paints be a desirable hope for anyone without a need for mentioning ‘Jesus’? Thanks again for taking time to clarify. ( :

  3. Great post with fresh insight. I’ve never had a bucket list either. Love the Eldridge quotes, especially that God doesn’t say He’ll make all new things but He will make all things new. There’s a difference. And your last line is so powerful. “Being His daughter completed anything I would ever put on a bucket list….” Blessings!

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