Journal excerpt: Miles apart, and yet so close…

February 10, 2015

I convinced myself that “bucket list”* carried with it a negative connotation, as in “kicking the bucket” and so I have stop using it. In a sense (to stay with the kicking metaphor); I am kicking the bucket list to the curb**. I am also yes, working very hard at kicking the habit*** of negative-speak. And so instead of fulfilling a kick the bucket list, I prefer the idea of filling the bucket list (this presumes that we have never completed our work in this life; and therefore our “bucket” is never completely full. Or as I wrote in my creative writing class project (posted on this site); life is like a play and we simply end one act to start another. Somewhere we are convinced that there is this thing called “life”; which we live vigorously and engagingly for a while; and then rest and retire from it. But I am having a hard time seeing things from that perspective. I think that we can be passionate and bold (the real antidote to feeling “old”) about projects that will continue our calling in another format. The only real retirement in my view is death; and then, who knows? But back to my Creative writing class at Miles college. I am so honored, humbled, inspired and energized by the young people in my class. First, because they are so smart, creative, thoughtful and wise beyond their ages. And although we are Miles apart in age and experience; I have become their student as they bring me into a better understanding of how young people see the world. And even as Alabama once again finds a way to be a source of negative national news; these young people seem to be focused on the idea that they would not stand in the door of denial to oppose another person’s definition of love; even if that view was in opposition to their religious beliefs. As one student stated: “Why don’t we just let God handle it!” Now that was an interesting idea; that is, the idea of God being able to handle something! And then we discussed the idea of: who created the hierarchy of sins anyway? Why is denying the poor access to health care in Alabama, not a greater sin, since it is actually (unlike your marriage) does great harm to many other people? Why is committing adultery (defined as any sex outside of marriage) in a heterosexual relationship not sinful enough to deny marriage to any of its violators? With all of the things wrong with Alabama why are resources and energy of the state’s leaders devoted to a nullification effort; and not dedicated to helping (not cutting) education, lifting the poor, and creating jobs for the many unemployed; good questions! I wondered if a simple theology of “good and evil” and “do’s and don’ts” will work with these young people, as they see so many contradictions in the people who claim Christian “goodness”, those who say that they do, but really don’t! I left he class yesterday thinking that perhaps if our species can manage to stick around long enough, we could possibly make this thing work. There is in the hearts and minds of young folk a hope; even if they don’t recognize it as hope, it is there. And so this is what I want to share with my fellow 60+ 2nd actors; take a college class in a subject totally unrelated to your previous profession; take a course in something you have been thinking about doing for years, but never had, or made the time. I guarantee that you will learn much more than what is outlined in the course syllabus. You will learn something about the future, that place where hope in the hearts of the young becomes reality.

*A list of things that one has not done before but wants to do before dying. From the phrase kick the bucket (to die); Mariam-Webster
** kick someone/thing to the curb–North American Informal: Reject or Cast aside; Oxford Dictionary
*** A habit is something that you do regularly, and if it is not good it is very difficult to change or stop even if you want to do so. The meaning of the idiom to kick a habit is to be successful in stopping it.; Awesome-idioms