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our summer bucket list, and why i almost didn't share it



every year our family makes a summer bucket list, a collection of things we'd like to experience/do/achieve/accomplish during the summer.  we don't always get all of them done, but we usually get through most of them.  some of the items are traditions that we do every year, and some are unique to each year.  and of course our graphic designer wife/mom makes it look super awesome, as a kind of family memoir.  here are some from previous years:







but this year i felt kind of weird about sharing it.  i mean, my news feed is full of stories of kids being stowed in enclosures made of metal fencing (not cages, we are told); kids who have been ripped from their parents' arms.  children who probably don't have a summer bucket list, or if they do it just says, "get back to my parents," or "escape."  i cannot fathom a more fundamentally blunt symbol of our own privilege and blessing: that we will engage in a summer of camps and cream soda, of ice cream and amusement parks, while others will cry themselves to sleep at night here in our country because they have been forcibly removed from their loved ones. 

and so i thought about not even sharing this bucket list.  not even fully investing into it.  in some ways i just feel like burying my head in my hands and weeping. 

but then i thought that one of the small things i can do in this broken world; one of the stones i can throw into the water of injustice; one of the things that can make ripples that extend far beyond me and my family, is to live and love well.  i'm going to hug my kids and sing them to sleep at night and tell them until they are sick of it that God is crazy about them and i am too.  i'm going to teach them and lead by example that no one - no one - is outside of that divine love.  i'm going to show them that we can use our voices for good; we can celebrate the goodness in life - suck the marrow out of it, even - while standing up to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves.  so, we are going to have ourselves a summer.  we are going to fall into bed exhausted.  we are going to hold each other closer.  we are going to pray for those who have no one to hold.  we are going to write some letters to those with some power.  we are going to throw our own little stones into the water, and see there the ripples go.  we will refuse to be numbed by the atrocity, we will fend off apathy or we will die trying.  that's my summer bucket list. 

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