Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Bucket List

I watched the movie "The Bucket List" the other night. For anyone who has not seen the movie or heard of the concept, the "Bucket List" is a list you compile of things you want to do before you die (or "kick the bucket"). After they get out of the hospital, the two main characters in the film, who both have terminal cancer and who have become friends while hospital roommates, set out to accomplish the things on their combined list, together.

But the Bucket List concept is not what "stuck" with me after seeing the movie.

At one point early in the film, the every-workingman Morgan Freeman character is trying to explain a certain concept to the arrogant-and-rich Jack Nicholson character. He relays the following story. After you die, when you arrive at the Pearly Gates and your fate is being determined by Saint Peter, whether or not you are admitted to Heaven depends on your answer to two questions. Jack Nicholson says, "OK, I'll bite. What are the two questions?" Morgan Freeman says "Question One: Did you find joy in your life?" Nicholson smiles a big, broad smile and slowly nods yes. "Question Number Two: Did you bring joy to others?"

Whether or not we believe in the Pearly Gates concept or not, towards the end of our lives, if we are fortunate enough to have the time and the mental capacity to reflect on our lives, we may ask ourselves if we lived a good life, if we did all we set out to accomplish, or if we had any serious regrets. Instead, I think I will ask myself those two simple questions. And I hope I can nod "yes" to both of them with a broad smile on my face.

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