Tuesday, February 18, 2014

In Praise of Bucket Lists

The past two Sundays I said that we--and everything about us--must die in order to be raised from the dead. I included this statement:
Our society presses the idea that we should be the centre of our lives and that we should set our dreams and goals and tick every item we can off our bucket list. Don’t you believe it! In the end, anything that puts self at the centre is too small to give real fulfillment, to give eternal life! Jesus is the resurrection and the life, not just for our bodies destined to die one day, but for our hopes and our dreams. We give ourselves to him and say with Martha: “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.And you mean it for everything! Everything that you are and want to do you tie up together and give it to Jesus. That is a real and difficult death, we don’t like giving up control so completely; but only in that death can Jesus become the resurrection and the life for you and for me.

Trouble is, someone might hear this and think that I'm saying dreams are bad. You shouldn't even have a bucket list! So here are some basic values in a bucket list.
1. We can't live without dreams. Or at least, we can't live joyfully without dreams. Life without something to live for is empty and soul-destroying. So dream on!
2. God is not in the business of destroying our dreams. Sometimes we think that the way you know what God wants you to do is by thinking of what you don't want to do. That's just perverse. God is not some old man sitting somewhere above us just waiting for us to enjoy ourselves so he can say, "Stop it!" Who do you think put the best dreams in you? So dream on!
3. Dreams are no good if they never lead to anything. Remember Langston Hughes' poem:
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
So dream on, and realize your dreams!

dreams that fulfill only our own dreams are too small, too weak for the weight of eternity. We are, as C.S. Lewis reminds us, destined for the glory of the children of God! So our dreams need to be as big as God.

And only God can give dreams that big. That's what I was getting at last week. Not running down the bucket list, not saying dreams are bad; but making sure that we act on dreams that God gives us. So if your dream is to climb Table Mountain (something I have actually done), that's too small. But listen to God's heart for the world and dream God's dreams and then live them.

Dream on!


KGMom said...

Wait, you CLIMBED Table Mountain? Well, I went to the top, but took the easy way.

Climenheise said...

Well, I went up the gorge in the side of the mountain--easier up than down. Klippjes Kloof? I forget the exact name. Drive half way up really, then climb a steep path, resting every five minutes. The boys were up long before Lois and I made it, and she kept saying, "At least I'll be able to say that I climbed Table Mountain in my 50th year!"