Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Don't Lose Your Marbles!

Note: I do not know the original source of this article, but it speaks to me and I wanted to share it with you.

The older I get, the more I enjoy Saturday morning. Perhaps it’s the quiet solitude that comes with being the first to rise, or maybe it’s the unbounded joy of not having to be at work. Either way, the first few hours of a Saturday morning are most enjoyable.A few weeks ago, I was shuffling toward the garage with a steaming cup of coffee in one hand and the morning paper in the other. What began as a typical Saturday morning turned into one of those lessons that life seems to hand you from time to time. Let me tell you about it:

I turned the dial up into the phone portion of the band on my ham radio in order to listen to a Saturday morning swap net. Along the way, I came across an older sounding chap, with a tremendous signal and a golden voice. You know the kind; he sounded like he should be in the broadcasting business. He was telling whomever he was talking with something about “a thousand marbles.” I was intrigued and stopped to listen to what he had to say.

“Well, Tom, it sure sounds like you’re busy with your job. I’m sure they pay you well but it’s a shame you have to be away from home and your family so much. Hard to believe a young fellow should have to work sixty or seventy hours a week to make ends meet. It’s too bad you missed your daughter’s dance recital,” he continued; “Let me tell you something that has helped me keep my own priorities.” And that’s when he began to explain his theory of a “thousand marbles.”

"You see, I sat down one day and did a little arithmetic. The average person lives about seventy-five years. I know, some live more and some live less, but on average, folks live about seventy-five years."

"Now then, I multiplied 75 times 52 and I came up with 3,900, which is the number of Saturdays that the average person has in their entire lifetime. Now, stick with me, Tom, I’m getting to the important part.It took me until I was fifty-five years old to think about all this in any detail,” he went on, “and by that time I had lived through over twenty-eight hundred Saturdays. I got to thinking that if I lived to be seventy-five, I only had about a thousand of them left to enjoy. So I went to a toy store and bought every single marble they had. I ended up having to visit three toy stores to round up 1,000 marbles. I took them home and put them inside a large, clear plastic container right here in the shack next to my gear."

"Every Saturday since then, I have taken one marble out and thrown it away. I found that by watching the marbles diminish, I focused more on the really important things in life.There’s nothing like watching your time here on this earth run out to help get your priorities straight."

Now let me tell you one last thing before I sign off with you and take my lovely wife out for breakfast. This morning, I took the very last marble out of the container. I figure that if I make it until next Saturday then I have been given a little extra time. And the one thing we can all use is a little more time.It was nice to meet you Tom. I hope you spend more time with your family, and I hope to meet you again here on the band. This is a 75 year old man, K9NZQ, clear and going QRT, good morning!”

You could have heard a pin drop on the band when this fellow signed off. I guess he gave us all a lot to think about. I had planned to work on the antenna that morning, and then I was going to meet up with a few hams to work on the next club newsletter. Instead, I went upstairs and woke my wife up with a kiss. “C’mon honey, I’m taking you and the kids to breakfast.”

“What brought this on?” she asked with a smile.

“Oh, nothing special, it’s just been a long time since we spent a Saturday together with the kids. And hey, can we stop at a toy store while we’re out? I need to buy some marbles.”

Friend… you don’t have many marbles. So spend them well!


Jenny said...

I just found you from other blogs I was surfing through and want you to know that this post inspired me. It makes me want to be a better person, a better mother, a better friend, and a better wife. Thank you for sharing~!

LVP said...

Bret, Thanks. I turned 77 the other day. I guess I'm living on borrowed marbles. I think what I'll do is buy some marbles tomorrow, along with a nice clear glass jar to set on my desk. I'll put 55 marbles in the jar tomorrow, since that's how many real good Saturdays I've borrowed so far. Then I'll add a marble early every Saturday morning, and see how many great Saturdays I can borrow. I'll get a nice big jar that will hold plenty of marbles, with a small opening so none can get away; and I'll be very selective with the marbles. They need to be happy but productive colors. I think it might be a good idea to have colors that speak of focusing a little more on other people than myself. I think I'll want to buy enough marbles to at least fill the jar. And then I'll remind the Lord that it would be kind of a shame if they all don't get into the jar.

But then, on the other hand, maybe I could buy enough marbles that some are sure to be left over. Then each of our kids, and their kids, and so on, can have one. Maybe it will be a reminder that every single day can be a good day if we decide, early in the morning, to make it so.

Incidentally, Jenny referred me to your Blog.