I’ve been thinking alot lately about the things that I’d like to do in this lifetime. Maybe it’s my upcoming birthday that is putting me in this mood. While it’s a common phrase these days, I’m not sure I like the term “bucket list” – I get it, it’s from the movie title. I’d rather call it my “Life List” or my “Dream List” or my “Experience It All List” … but that’s just me. Whatever you call it, I love the concept. I first heard about it as a “100 Things to Do Before You Die List” back around the turn of the millennium. The speaker talked about the idea of arriving at the end of life knowing he lived it all, as much as he could, on purpose. No regrets are as strong as the dreams you left unchased. With that motivation, I immediately made a pretty good list that started with flying in a hot air balloon. Yep, that was my first thing checked off as I did just that for my 40th birthday. I’ve since checked off quite a few items by now (11 years later).
So I’m reinvigorating my dreams and building up my list. I’d love to hear what’s on your list of things not to miss in this lifetime. So let’s do some sharing. What’s the favorite thing you’ve ever done and something you are hoping to do. I’m sure with suggestions from friends I’ll fill up my list in no time.
Did you know that you are, in actual fact, “enough”? So often I hear people say:
I’m not pretty enough.
I’m not smart enough.
I’m not rich enough.
I’m not creative enough.
I’m not ___________ enough.
These are just the stories that someone told us, or maybe just hinted about. And in a weak moment, we believed them. We probably didn’t even verify the validity of their statement. We heard them say it and we simply agreed.
But, in all truth, God made all of us to be more than enough. Where there are differences between ourselves and others it’s because we are comparing our “enough” to someone else’s greatest strength or life circumstances or hard-earned success. How unfair. We would not do this to a friend or loved one. Yet, we do it to ourselves.
We should be comparing ourselves to only ourselves. If you’ve grown in some way or learned something today then today you were in the right place, at the right time, and in the right mindset to end your day a little more of your greatest self.
You see, you are enough and I am enough. We are enough to love and be loved. We are enough to learn and grow. We are enough to connect and share. We are all exactly enough for the life and purpose that we were put on the earth to experience. Be yourself … your glorious, beautiful, “enough” self. Be you and be blessed!
I recently sent my foreign exchange student back home after being with me and my daughter for a full school year. The experience was something I’ve wanted to do since I was in high school day dreaming about jetting off around the world on adventures. So this past year I decided to take advantage of my daughter’s final year of high school and make this happen.
Our student was a lovely girl from Norway. From the very beginning she seemed to fit our family well – she liked similar shows and activities as my daughter. She wanted to dabble in American sports and she signed up for several sports throughout the year. She worked hard in the beginning to get a handle on the US school system, and a Catholic private school at that (nope, she wasn’t Catholic, and she wasn’t religious in any form). Things got off to a great start.
We hit some snags but that’s to be expected along the way. I’m not sure if it was cultural or just the personality of our student but she didn’t bond with us in the tight way I had heard other students do with their families. At times I felt like she was simply on a 10 month vacation and sometimes I felt we were in her way because of our conservative beliefs and behaviors. We’re not monks of course but we certainly couldn’t compete with the California lifestyle I later found out she wished to have on her exchange.
At the end of the day I have no regrets. I’m glad to have done it. I’m glad to have provided this experience for my daughter and for our exchange student. But I’m also left wondering. I ponder whether the lack of bonding meant little to no influence in the life of this girl. She was polite and genial (well, for the most part). But I can’t put a finger on whether or not my dream to have her here had much impact on her at all. I wonder if our faith and what she learned about our culture has changed her heart or her behaviors in any way. I wonder whether she went home wiping her brow, glad to have gotten through it. I wonder if I will ever see her again. 10 months is a long time to give emotionally, financially, and spiritually. I feel a connection to her as a mom in a way that I’m pretty sure she doesn’t reciprocate. So I wonder and ponder and muse at the level of influence we had on her. I wish for her all the dreams of her young life. I hope that she remembers us and her time here fondly. I hope that a glimpse into our life plants a seed of faith for another day. I wish her love and happiness. And I miss her.