Saturday, September 21, 2013

Living Lists

My friend Kara has been battling cancer for over a year now. She has bravely confronted, talked, and written about her struggles with this horrible disease. Her blog, Mundane Faithfulness, is a beautiful look into her world of love, family, suffering, and faith. I admire the way she bravely clings to what's important in life, even as her body is beaten and bruised by the cancer.

This week she has written about bucket lists and living. She talks of not being caught up in marking things off lists just for the sake of doing it. The post snagged my attention because I do have a list. If you've been here on the mountain before, you've read about my lists. I am a girl who loves lists. There is something in having all my things lined up in a little row like second grade girls on Pioneer Club nights (oh, you'll hear about this in another post!) that makes my heart sing.

My list started after Mom got sick. As I watched my amazing, 50-something mother slowly become unable to do the things she loved and wanted to do, I began to look at my own life. I've always had a bit of fear lurking around in the dark corners of my life. Fear of failure, or success, or living the wrong life. Through the years, fear held me back from truly living and experiencing life.

If my mother had fears as I was growing up, I was not aware of them. As an adult, she did reveal to me one of the fears she did battle with when I was a teenager. She didn't let it stop her; she lived life as it came and worked through it. She loved and nurtured and was always there for us. I want to be that kind of a woman.

So, after Mom got sick, I began to make lists that some people would call bucket lists. I've never liked the term. A bucket list is about all the things you want to do before you die. My list is about focusing on all the things I want to do as I live. I like to think of my list as the Living List...these are the things I want to do to live my life to the fullest, and not just eke my way through it.

My list encompasses the grand things like visiting Paris and climbing to the top of the Eiffel Tower. It includes little things like sending notes to my grandmother regularly, which I'm embarrassed to admit I don't do often enough. It's about all those things that ensure that I am living and impacting others while on this journey.

At the end of my life, if I haven't seen the world from the top of the Eiffel tower, I don't want it to be because I was fearful, but because there was just too much living going on for me to get there.

 It's not so much about having people look at me and say, "Gosh, Tammie has a great list and she does amazing things." I think it's more that I want to get down to the end of my life, whenever that may be, and be able to say, "I lived. I loved. I experienced this world and made a difference."

I love reading Kara's blog because she is so real and so honest. Cancer is not beating her, it's making her a better version of who she was. She doesn't have a list, but she is focusing on living right here, right now. If you haven't visited, I encourage you to stop by her blog. There may be some tears as you read about what she has gone through, but there's a whole lot of life and beauty in her words!

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