I am 60 years young today. 60 years. That is a long time. I am resisting the urge to look through the obituaries of our local paper and count the number of persons younger than me that have died recently. Being 60 is huge. Last night I went out on our back patio to meditate and reflect on my life. My life is good. I love my wife and she loves me. I am fortunate to have served as a pastor in the United Methodist church for nearly 38 years. "Time to make a bucket list" I thought. Different things, swimming with whales and sharks, vacationing on a boat, publishing a third book, and taking my father to Alaska came to mind, but in all honesty, if I never have a chance for any of these things, my life has been rich and full. Only one thing made the final cut on my bucket list. I would be crushed if I could never do this one last thing;
I want to hug my son Ron one more time. Ron took his own life in 1998 and I miss him. I want to hug him once more and feel his strong arms around my neck one more time. Technically, a bucket list is what I want to do before I die but since I have done just about everything I ever dreamed of already, my one bucket list desire will be fulfilled on the day that I die.
The human desire to see our loved ones again is overwhelming. God's gift for that part of life that we call death is in a promise that we will see our loved ones again. My mother will be healed from her torment, my brother will be released from the rage that captured him and my oldest son Ron will be free from the deep dark hole of depression. At 60 I expect to live many more rich, full, and happy years, and I am thankful for that. However, the smile on my face this morning is a recognition that I am getting closer to the time when I get to hold my oldest son in my arms and check of the last entry on my bucket list.