Ten wishes — more or less


By Les Linz

If you Google, “bucket list,” you get, “about 468,000,000 results” (in 0.78 seconds). If you likewise research, “The Bucket List,” you get “about” 33,000,000 more (which takes an additional .09 seconds). Where does the time go?

That’s a good question, especially since so-called bucket lists are a reflection of what we did or didn’t do by the time our own time was up.

And what does the movie by that name and the phrase “bucket list” have in common? The former originated the latter, when Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman co-starred in the poignant 2007 film.

Everyone seems to have their own top 10 “list” — singles, seniors, even centipedes (okay, I made that one up, but you get the point).

As a volunteer hospice chaplain, I have formulated my own (meeting former Vice President Mike Pence tops the list, with actors Jim Caviezel and Nicholas Cage nipping closely at his heels), but for the purpose of today’s column, I am rewriting the list (today only, Mr. Vice President).

Here, then, are 10 (tongue in cheek) things we will (or won’t) care about as our demise nears —more or less.

I wish I had argued more

In the grand scheme of things in relation to wherever we’ll spend eternity, isn’t arguing important? It raises blood pressure and makes us feel better because it causes us to know we’re superior to another. Sure, it may burn some calories, but what it really burns is you. Being king of your castle will, more often than not, cause you to bed down in Rex’s wooden domain, making you the “king’s” subject instead.

I wish we focused on more money

“Money is the root of all evil,” a “verse” misquoted a gazillion times. Money itself is not evil — the love of it is (I Tim. 6:7).

If money itself were evil, paying bills would be demonic (Okay, it does feel that way sometimes. I would like to be able to convince my creditors that I am being ethical in not paying them. After all, holiness is something they should appreciate, right?).

Come on, who of us don’t want to err from the faith that secured a glorious future, and instead heap more misery upon ourselves?

I wish we took more vitamins

Mortal life expectancy has continued to rise over the years (until the recent pandemic), and taking vitamins and other supplements has had a lot to do with it. Who of us wouldn’t rather spend more time in a fallen world and less time in an exquisite eternity (not that spending more or less time in eternity is possible to begin with)?

I wish we had spent more time on our electronic devices

How enjoyable it is to be able to sit in the same room (or for that matter, on the same couch), and be totally engaged — yet disengaged one from another.

To be sure, there are probably some people you would prefer not to talk with when they’re in the same room with you — people you would most prefer talking to when separated by one or more state lines. Nonetheless, when nearing our end, we want to enjoy quality time with our friends and loved ones in close proximity and the more we did it in good times, the easier it will be to do during the more challenging ones.

I wish we had spent more time worshiping our favorite team

Idol worship takes many forms, and following your favorite sports team can easily fit that bill. Regular readers of this column know me to be an avid Chicago Bears fan, and that my vows included not watching them over doing so, if ever my wife needed more to talk with me than I needed to listen to John Madden (Note: Paying more attention at halftime to the one that cheers you on makes halftime way more interesting than merely watching “professional” cheerleaders and that’s all the time).

I wish we had less dates

Yeah, they cost a little bit and their cost continues to rise, which is probably the best reason to date less — that you can spend more money on yourself and sabotage your relationship, right?

Invariably, a time will come when you need someone that thinks even more of yourself than you do and spending less time together (with or without expense) is worth the investment. Don’t short yourself-develop intimacy for the long run.

I wish we had less intimacy

The thoughts and cares of this world are more important to think about when our mate requires affection — after all if we didn’t care about them, we wouldn’t spend every free moment so focused.

As the Apostle Paul said (in I Cor. 7), husbands and wives belong one to another-no husband (or wife) is an island unto themselves, and if they think they are, they may soon find themselves, “deserted.”

I wish we had spent less time in our chosen house of worship

We commonly speak of not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, all the more as we see the day approaching (Heb. 10:25), but what we normally do NOT quote is the verse before it:

“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:” It’s simply harder to provoke love-to do good works-unless you are with others to do so, and as Proverbs 27:10 says “[10] Thine own friend, and thy father’s friend, forsake not; neither go into thy brother’s house in the day of thy calamity: for better is a neighbour that is near than a brother far off.”

Pandemic quarantines have shown us more than anything how important human interaction is, and where there is agreement in purpose, the resulting strength will stand up to the most severe of challenges.

I wish we had given less donations to worthy charities

The government recently made it easier on the common man to give less by having taken away almost all tax deductibility on benevolent donations. Whoever said charity begins at home apparently didn’t command a checkbook. Where it is true that we can spend more on ourselves by giving less to others, we cannot clone ourselves to be in multiple places at once. Therefore, giving to worthwhile agencies early on in life will yield a handsome reward at the end, when we’re about to go on to that place where we don’t have to worry about “leaving home without it.”

I wish we had spent less time with our friends and loved ones

“A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” (Prov. 18:24).

Lowenbrau Beer commercials used to toast them. You can do it too. You don’t even need the beer.

To live one’s life without friends is tragic-to have them and not avail yourself of them is worse. There is no status in selfishness. Upon meeting your Maker, don’t tell Him you thought it was more important to show your self-sufficiency than to bless your friends by relying on them, giving them a chance to be an even more important part of your life.

“Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

To conclude

The Nicholson and Freeman characters grew to be the very best of friends, as they helped each other fulfill their respective bucket lists.

“What’s down in the well comes up in the bucket.”

Who (or what) is on your list?

Les Linz of Seymour writes the “Humor: More or Les” column. For information about Linz, visit his amazon.com author page. Send comments to [email protected].

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