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A Thousand 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, I was shuffling toward the study 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.

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.

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.

“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. Too bad you missed your daughter’s dance recital.

“Let me tell you something Tom, something that has helped me 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 math. 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 entire lifetime.

“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 got to thinking that if I lived to be 75, 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 1000 marbles. I took them home and put them inside of a large, clear plastic container.

“Every Saturday since then, I have taken one marble out. I found that by watching the marbles diminish, I focus more on the 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 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, God bless you and your family, and I hope to meet you this side of heaven. 75 year Old Man, this is K9NZQ, clear and going, good morning!”

You could have heard a pin drop on the band when this fellow signed off.

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 Saturday together with the kids. Hey, can we stop at a toy store while we’re out?

“I need to buy some marbles.”




5 comments

  1. I would rather spend the rest of my life focused on doing the Lord’s will, which regards family as priority, than to focus on my demise.

  2. I’m 75, yes I had a full life of happiness, sadness, and many times to appreciate a Saturday or Sunday. But it’s been my later years that have been more meaningful that I welcome busy days even if it’s volunteering. A “restfull day” is knowing I’m still healthy and am able to be of help to anyone or anything be it Saturday or any other day. Yes life has it’s busy times but you put yourself in those times, using the talents you have and putting it to use. I’ve learned more, have felt more needed at 75 and feel rested in my spirit

  3. Wow! This is a truly inspiring story. Although I’m a 17 year old and still have many more Saturdays to live if God permits me but then you’ve just opened my eyes on a very wise way to spend my future Saturdays… Thank you very much and God bless.

  4. As usual..you have inspired me to focus on the important things!
    Like loving..the ones with those who God has entrusted me.(mom,daughter,son,grandson)
    Oh,don’t get me wrong the kitchen really needs painting and my daughters victorian doll wallpaper really needs to come down!
    But,oh Thank you for the reminder that Jesus really cares about this spiritual house of mine as well.
    How I spent this vacation time ..was far more important!
    I know.
    I think I will look through some of the kids things and see if I can find that big bag of marbels.
    Should I forget.


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