A woman I had never met -but who was known well by many members of my immediate social circle – died recently. I didn’t know her, but since so many of my friends did I have been party to conversations about her life, who she was for those around her, and her passing. Hearing my friends speak of her, I know she was certainly a remarkable woman. I wish I had known her.
You’re probably familiar with the popular practice of having a “bucket list.” A list of things you want to do before you die. Most of these lists, mine included, are made up of experiences and accomplishments – vacations, traveling, achieving goals and such.
Hers was different, and one of her closest friends shared it with me (with permission to share it with you):
Joanne left us a road map in the form of her bucket-list. Now, you’ll remember that her list was not your ordinary traditional bucket-list. It didn’t list places to go and things to do or see before you die. Rather, it is a list to live by:
1. Love Everyone
2. Acknowledge Everyone
3. Forgive Everyone
4. BEing Compassionate
As I said – surely a remarkable woman. I am moved each time I read this. I am humbled. I am also a bit embarrassed of my own bucket-list – rather narcissistic in comparison - that includes mostly things like: sail around the word, go to Greece with my girlfriends, write a best-selling book, become a sought-after speaker and coach. Yes, there are some generous, altruistic and benevolent-sounding things on my list, but they are nowhere near the top and (telling the unflattering truth) they only came to mind to include once I had pictured that all the other “fun stuff” was accomplished.
Do I want to do those things? Yes. Do I think it is wrong to have those kinds of goals for myself? No. And yet, by Joanne’s words, I am humbled and inspired to push to the top of the list a few things more lofty and uplifting to the world and those around me. The words of woman I never met have elevated my thinking and my aspirations to reach farther and deeper than my own amusement.
My new, elevated bucket-list now includes at the top:
- Love everyone.
- Acknowledge everyone.
- Forgive everyone.
- Live with heart, humility and passion.
- Leave a legacy worth celebrating.
As I move quickly toward a milestone birthday (more on that later), I am so very grateful for the elevating gift of Joanne’s words.
What about you? What are some words that have elevated your life? What can you say today to elevate your world?
photo credit: phil h