What’s on your bucket list?
Don’t have one?
Well, we need to change that right now.
Life is like a trip to the grocery store: If you don’t have a list before you go, you end up leaving without the stuff you want and with a lot of stuff that you don’t want.
We all have hopes and dreams. Maybe it’s a trip you want to take, a book you want to write, a song you want to sing, a skill you want to learn, or a relationship you want to heal. Dreams are important! As the old saying goes, “Don’t be pushed by your worries; be pulled by your dreams.”
The problem is that we’re always thinking, "I’ll get to it later; I’ve got time."
Newsflash: You don’t.
Never take time for granted. Do it now!
Proverbs 27:1 says, “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.” And if you need further proof, just look at our daily headlines. Life can change in the blink of an eye.
The sad thing is that we waste so much of life’s fleeting moments by doing pointless things like complaining. We complain about our parents and then miss the precious years we have left with them. We complain about our kids, and in the blink of an eye, they’re grown and gone. We complain about getting old and taint the years we still have to enjoy life.
We can complain our way through an entire life. And then it’s gone — never to return.
The flip side of the “I’ve got time” excuse is “It’s too late.” That justification comes clothed in many versions: “I’m too old.” “The opportunity has passed.” “People would think I’m crazy.”
We’ve all done it.
But here’s the truth of the matter: You can chase your dreams at any age, at any time. For example, F.X. Toole made his literary debut at 70 years old, his first novel being the basis for the movie "Million Dollar Baby."
No one’s saying that the path to your dream will be a straight line. Look at my road: trial lawyer to stand-up comedian and Baptist minister. In fact, one of the things I’ve learned as a comedian is that the ending of your act is the most important part. Even if you bomb in the beginning of the set, if you give people your best material at the end, that’s what they will remember.
The same is true in life. Even if you mess up in the beginning, make choices you regret, or let opportunities pass you by, if you give the world your best stuff at the end, that’s what they’ll remember.
It’s never too late. A friend of mine adopted a dog from the local shelter. It was a cute Collie/Labrador Retriever mix that was within days of being euthanized. After the paperwork was done, she took him home and immediately named him “Just-in” for just in time.
Just-in’s story is our story, too. Maybe you feel stuck in a dead-end job. Maybe you’ve let your relationship fizzle out. Or maybe you feel your dreams have faded or your sense of joy has disappeared.
Many of us are walking this earth physically alive but dead of spirit, operating at the level of our social security number — existing rather than living.
But time is ticking . . .
So whatever is important to you, whatever you feel passionate about doing in this life, don’t take time for granted. Don’t waste the gift you’ve been given.
Figure out what’s at the top of your list. Remember your dream, and do it now!
— A trial lawyer turned stand-up comedian and Baptist minister, Rev. Susan Sparks is the senior pastor of Madison Avenue Baptist Church in New York City and the author of Laugh Your Way to Grace and Preaching Punchlines. Contact her through her email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or her website, www.SusanSparks.com.