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Together in Spirit: Gratitude

The Reverse Bucket List

An exercise in gratitude from Rev. John Allen

A few years ago as I was scrolling through facebook one night, a phrase caught my eye. “The reverse bucket list.” I clicked.

The article described a fairly simple practice. We know about the traditional bucket list. A list of things I haven’t done, that I want to do before I die. The reverse bucket list is simply, a list of everything that I have done.

I decided that I would undertake this exercise during a long flight to Arizona during the first week of January. Air travel seems to make me pretty introspective. Up and away from the ordinary things of life. Around total strangers who don’t know me from anyone else.

I took out a journal, thinking that at this relatively early point in my life I would only need a page.

But once I started, I filled page, after page. I kept remembering new things. Or entire new categories.

I found the exercise to be incredibly powerful.

Just as one example, I wrote “ordained as a minister” on one line. A thing that seems like a simple fact of my life now. And I remembered how just a short few years ago, that accomplishment felt like a distant star to which I was always reaching.

Sitting on that plane I remembered the day it happened. I could almost again feel the weight of the hands laid on me. I could faintly hear the hymns.

I listed my visit to Niagara Falls. Not so far away really, but when I was a young kid looking at pictures of it in a book, it might as well have been on another planet.

As the list grew and grew, I felt myself continually returning, back to a time before these things had taken place. I felt the wonder, thrill, and excitement of them all over again.

And I was filled with gratitude.

Give it a try, make your reverse bucket list. See what an abundance has drifted into the background of your life. And give thanks to God, from whom all blessings flow.