Do you have a bucket list?

If yes, when did you start it? What’s on it? Has it changed over time?

And if not, have you ever considered coming up with one? Why or why not? What might you put on it, if you were to start one?

A few days ago, several of us stood under the shade of trees by our Redeemer parking lot, with cans of spray paint, large white stencils and five 4′ x 8′ boards at our feet. Our fearless leader: Phyllis Taylor. Our task: To make our very own “Before I Die Wall” for Party in the Park in celebration of Hope, Healing & Heritage this Saturday in Lafayette Square, in collaboration with St. James Episcopal and other nearby churches. 

” ‘Before I Die’ is a global art project that invites people to contemplate death and reflect on their lives. Originally created by the artist Candy Chang on an abandoned house in New Orleans after she lost someone she loved, today there are over 2,000 walls around the world.”

The responses are as “light” as “Before I Die, I Want to … drop 15 pounds … learn another language … visit Cleveland … ” to as “heavy” as “live a life my grandchildren will never believe … have an honest conversation with my mom … get clean and sober ….”

The idea behind “Before I Die” is the same inspiration behind “bucket lists”: an invitation to shine a laser-like focus on what’s essential in our lives. Given the precious, limited time we have to live as human beings on our planet earth, how best to spend the time we’ve got?

But what does contemplating our lives and our mortality have to do with hope and healing, you ask? Hope and healing, in our own, individual lives? And hope and healing, collectively, as a city?