The List

Years ago I learned about buckets. In an effort to develop my story telling, a mentor shared that he constantly filled buckets with ideas and wisdom, quotes and thoughts so that when he sat down to work, he could pull from the things that moved him. My bucket list is in Notes and I add to it often. When I hit dry seasons or find myself frustrated with a lack of inspiration, I often go to my bucket.

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Confession: I am really struggling with our government. So as not to turn this into a political debate, let me be clear. My struggle is with pain and worry that I see on the faces of friends and real life flesh and blood people because of the current climate of our country. You know I love to debate to finer points of policy, but for this discussion, I need you to hear my heart. I’m angry. I’m tired. I’m losing my patience and the little bit of ‘try to be nice and polite’ that I might have. Ok, you know I don’t have more than a baby toe’s worth of nice, but I’m running on past empty.

I have very intentionally made the decision in my life to enjoy the margins. I have found myself on many occasions to be broken and hurting and lonely, and in those times, it has been people that dared to meet me outside of the comfortable that have come to my rescue. In my personal story, in my faith community and in the way that I see the world today, I choose to walk, no run, to hear the stories of those who are forgotten or betrayed or broken. These are my people. We belong to each other and we are better together. This, however, leads me into dangerous waters in 2019. For many in my circle, the world feels scary and unwelcoming and volatile.

As I sat down to write today, I was struggling. I wanted to be able to offer great hope and a promise of new beginnings. But I cannot. Not today. So I did what I do when I feel dry and uninspired. I went to my bucket. Surely there was a quote or a song lyric that could help spark brilliance. There is some quality stuff in my bucket. But I intentionally went back a few years to notes that were dated. And from June of 2015, I found this gem:

Music
Meat
Queso
Chips
Drinks

That’s all it said. And somehow, it was EXACTLY what I needed tonight. Perhaps it was an inspired grocery list (that’s my best guess). But what if it was more? That’s how I am seeing it tonight. I went digging for answers. In my excavation, I was reminded that what I need today is the same thing that I needed in 2015.

Music: I need a good rhythm to my life. I need to enjoy the times when a moment reminds me of happier times (“California Love”) and be ready when the song that plays on my life’s radio is a call to action (“Million Reasons”).

Meat: My FIL is the master meat cooker. When I saw this on the list, I immediately thought of him. Just this week, I have called him twice just to be reminded that I have a team of the best standing beside me when the days are too full. Who is your meat (or your Goat, in my case)?

Queso: My comfort. I am a Texan and when life gets me down, I turn to queso. I no longer need the margarita, but damn, queso is like wound care for my soul.

Chips: All queso needs chips. Chips are my co-conspirators. Who are you going to war with? Be it as I fight for injustice or as I fight for my own life, I need my chips. All of them.

Drinks: While many would think this is an easy item, this is perhaps the most profound for me. There was a time when the drink helped me to forget or “manage” the painful days. But when I saw this, I immediately thought of the last 4 months. In September, I had to once again choose to put down a drink. I know nothing about moderation, and my all day Coke consumption was adding to compounding health problems. So I stopped. For the last few months, I have had to learn to drink to LIVE.

What a weird find. I went searching for a kick-my-butt-out-of-self-pity quote and I found a grocery list. Perhaps I should pay attention to the signs that are all around me. I have what I need to continue to fight, so its time to get busy.

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