Before I Die

The lovely Mary Ann wrote her list in a poem, and while I am not a poet, I am trying to get back in the habit of daily writing.  I have a summer of pulpit supply ahead of me, and I always write sermons better when I’m in the habit of just plain writing. So I will take a stab–but not in a poem.

Before I Die

Before I die, I want to go back to the places that have inspired me: to Iona, to Chartres, and the Boundary Waters.

Before I die, I want to return to the place I barely got to know, but which beats in my daughter’s heart: Ethiopia.

I want to go to Sweden, and Alaska, and to my daughter’s college orientation.

Before I die, I want to learn to forgive easily.

I want to dance wildly, to be the cliche about nobody looking. I want to dance like Selam.

I want to remember my guitar lessons, and play a classical solo again.

I want to find my glasses that I lost last year, the pair that were as close to perfect as frames can be.

Before I die, I want to learn how to make good pancakes, light and not mushy.

Before I die, I want to have enough savings that every funny noise doesn’t cause my heart to go into my throat.

I want to see Selam surrounded by her adult friends, and maybe a partner or spouse. Or maybe a cat. Or five dogs that live behind the couch.

Before I die, I want to listen to every song on my ipod again.

I want to have every paper in a folder or recycled. I want no inbox left.

I want a community to be my flock–a pulpit, a mailing list, someone to call me chaplain again.

I want to sing a solo.

I want to preach on Christmas eve and Easter morning.

I want to get another degree.

I want to train my cat to stop scratching the furniture.

Before I die, I want to take a great vacation, and return to a home that has a washer and dryer for the clothes and an empty in box for the souvenirs.

But before I die, I want to never let any of these new memories crowd out the sweetness of today, of Selam dancing in the living room, while the cats fight over my lap.


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