The day started with expectant hope. I had less than two hours of sleep yet I awoke feeling refreshed. When my head hit the pillow a few hours before, I prayed that no matter how many hours of sleep I had that I would feel refreshed. Starting the day with answered prayer definitely put a spring in my step. I showered, dressed and finished packing for my trip. I arrived at my friend Linda’s house at 5 AM—a few minutes earlier than our appointed meeting time—more answered prayer.
Linda and I were heading to the San Francisco Bay area for a 4-day spiritual retreat, led by Tamara J Buchan. The days leading up to the retreat, I was stressed trying to handle the ever growing list of tasks to do before I left. I couldn’t even get excited for the trip. But once we got situated on the plane, I finally felt free to turn my undivided attention to this quality time with my friend.
I poured through the travel guide on things to do for our one-day pre-retreat adventure in San Francisco. My one and only trip to San Francisco was over 20 years earlier and only a vague memory. As I read through all of the sightseeing options, I was overwhelmed with all the possibilities. We agreed on a few key sights—the cable cars, Fisherman’s Wharf, Ghirardelli Square, Lombard Street and a sightseeing cruise on the Bay.
Waiting in traffic for an hour and peering out over the Bay, I wondered about our photo opportunities with the haze that was looming in the distance. By the time our boat left the dock, the sky was clear and the sun was shining. As the boat approached the Golden Gate Bridge, the photo opportunities grew and grew. With one camera and two cell phones, we snapped away—capturing the bridge from different angles. It was a picture-perfect day on the Bay. We weren’t even bothered by not being able to hear a word that the guide said over the loud speakers. It was enough to just take in the beauty of the day and this place.
“Check”, I thought as we departed the boat. I don’t have a physical bucket list (list of things to do before I die), but that would definitely be on it. I’m not sure why, but I have always wanted to have my picture taken with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. It is iconic. I was there before, but with no photo to prove it, the experience and memory had faded. This was truly satisfying.
We ended the day with a leisurely late night dinner—sharing our hopes and dreams. I needed this day. I needed these reminders of the little things—basking in the beauty of God’s creation and man’s architectural wonders. I have expectant hope.
Each day can be a bucket list kind of day. It all depends on how we view it. Do you view each day as a gift from God or as a painful reminder of what-ifs and what might’ve been? I have expectant hope that He is going to use me in bigger ways this year. I am nervous about it all—yet excited about the possibilities.
My trip to California is an investment in my self-care and to prepare me for the next steps toward the dream that God has put on my heart. I’m stepping into more unknown territory with expectant hope. I’m ready to see where God leads me and what I can check off my bucket list next—whether it be just living another day or traveling to Spain this summer. I’m doing some California dreaming—and checking off an unexpected gift on my mental bucket list.
Have you done anything fun from your bucket list? What was the last thing you checked off?