Bucket list, a phrase popularized in the 2007 movie
by the same name, is a list of things people would
like to do or see before they kick the proverbial
My wife and I always have kept Australia on that list,
so in Januar,y we celebrated our 30th wedding
anniversary on a 12-day cruise aboard the Diamond
Princess bound for parts of Australia and New
It was a busy cruise.
In Sydney, we visited the world famous Blue
Mountains, where we rode the steepest railway in
the world, descending 1,350 feet through a cliff-
side tunnel into an ancient rainforest.
In the city of Hobart, Tasmania, we cuddled with
koalas, hand-fed kangaroos, and found ourselves
bedeviled by the Tasmanian devil as it devoured a
In New Zealand, we toured the Te Puia cultural
center for the indigenous people of New Zealand
called the Maori. The Maori came to New Zealand
from Tonga and Samoa in their canoes between 800
and 1,350 ago.
Adjoining the cultural center was the renowned
Pohutu geyser. It is one of only five geysers in the
world with regular eruptions. The eruptions shot to
such a height that the trees in the background were
hidden from view.
We spent five days in New Zealand, but saved the
best for our last day.
In the Waipoua Kauri Forest, we stood as specks
before the most massive of all life in New Zealand. T
hese Kauri trees have roots in the Jurassic age.
Standing under a tree named the Tane Mahuta (The
Lord of the Forest), we looked up nearly 60 feet
before we saw a branch.
My first descriptive word was a sucking gasp. It was
the sound of credulity leaving my body. I can’t come
close to describing it. It was one of those unique
moments that God gives us when we are again
reminded that we aren’t the center of our universe.
There are bigger things more magnificent than man
This was indeed one of God’s special temples. It was
one he created long before man could erect a
steeple, a minaret or an ark.
I humbly felt what Job may have felt when
rhetorically asked where he was when God declared
the boundaries of the sea.
“Who took charge of the ocean when it gushed forth
like a baby from the womb?” God asked.
Job was smart enough to remain silent.
“That was me!” God declared. “Tell me if you know
Speechless, I lay down on my back, atop roots
hundreds of years old, below branches a few
hundred feet above that stretched a hundred feet
across. Twenty-one time zones away from my own,
I’d found some synchronicity with the awesome
creative power of God.
A few days later, I was back in the United States
attending traditional worship and singing familiar
songs in a place made from mortar and wood.
The truth is that while I can barely carry a tune in a
bucket, I do hope I’ll never forget the tune I carried
out of the New Zealand forest. It was a place that I
was glad to have made my bucket list.