Buckets of Joy

In the movie The Bucket List, while sitting on top of a pyramid, Morgan Freeman’s character tells Jack Nicholson’s character that “the ancient Egyptians had a beautiful  belief about death, When their souls got to the entrance to heaven the gods asked them two questions. Their answers determined whether they were admitted or not.”  The two questions were:

Have you found joy in your life?

Has your life brought joy to others?

Good questions. Worth pondering long before we get to the gates of heaven. Notice that the questions do not ask whether you have had enough fun or achieved enough in the material realm. They are about what we have experienced in our hearts and what our life has brought to the hearts of others. It is two questions. Neither of them are sufficient alone. Bringing joy to others, but being joyless ourselves doesn’t open the gate. Neither does being personally joyful, but isolated.

The idea behind the film, The Bucket List, is that you can make a list of things you would like to do before you kick the bucket. Not a bad idea. It may help clarify what is really important to you and what is holding you back from having the life you really want.

Much of the fun of watching the movie is seeing these two old guys having fun before death catches up with them. But part of the message is that it is not all the fun stuff that really matters. It is what we do with our love that matters most. Do we live and die with an open heart?


Make your own bucket list. Write down the things you would like to experience before you die.

Ask yourself the two questions:

Have I found joy in my life?

Has my life brought joy to others?

Now take another look at the bucket list. Revise it based on your answers to the questions.

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© 2008 Tom Barrett