1000 Marbles

The older I get, the more I enjoy Saturday mornings.  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, what began as a typical Saturday morning turned into one of those lessons that life seems to hand you from time to time.  I turned on my radio and heard an older sounding gentleman with a golden voice. You know the kind; he sounded like he should be in the broadcasting business himself.  He was talking about "a thousand marbles" to a talk show host named "Tom."

I was intrigued and sat down 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 60 or 70 hours a week to make ends meet. Too bad you missed your daughter's dance recital."  He continued, "Let me tell you something Tom, something that has helped me to keep a good perspective on 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 75 years.  I know, some live more and some live less, but on average, folks live about 75 years.  Now then, I multiplied 75 times 52, and I came up with 3900, which is the number of Saturdays that the average person has in their lifetime.

"Now stick with me, I'm getting to the important part.  It took me until I was 55 years old to think about all this in any detail, and by that time I had lived through over 2800 Saturdays!  I figured that if I live until 75 years old, I only had about a thousand weekends left to enjoy. So I went to a toy store and bought every single marble they had. I had to visit three toy stores to round up 1000 marbles. I took them home and put them inside a large, clear plastic container in my workshop next to the radio.

"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 is 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 if I make it until next Saturday, then God has blessed me with a little extra time to be with my loved ones.

"It was nice to talk to you, Tom. I hope you spend more time with your loved ones, and I hope to meet you again someday. Have a good morning!"

You could have heard a pin drop when he finished... the talk show host didn't have anything to say for a few moments.  We all now had a lot to think about.

I had originally planned to do some work, then go to the gym... 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, looking stunned!

"Oh, nothing special," I said.  "It has just been a long time since we spent a Saturday together with the kids."

"Hey, and while we're out, I want to stop by a toy store.  I need to buy some marbles."

May all your Saturdays be special!