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 the most enjoyable.
A few weeks ago, I was shuffling toward the kitchen, with a steaming cup of coffee in one hand and the morning paper in the other. What began as a typical Sunday 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 up the volume on my radio in order to listen to a Saturday morning talk show. I heard an older sounding chap 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 someone 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 family so much. Hard to believe a young fellow should have to work 60-70 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 keep a good perspective on my own priorities.” And that’s when he starting explaining 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, some live less, but on average, most 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.
“Now stick with me Tom, I’m getting to the important part. It took me until I was 55 years-old to think about all this in any detail”, he went on, “and by that time I had lived through 2800 Saturdays. I got to thinking that if I lived to be 75, I only had about a 1000 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 3 toy stores to round-up 1000 marbles. I took them home and put them inside a large, clear plastic container right here 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 you get your priorities straight. Now let me tell you one more 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 times to be with my loved ones…. It was nice talking to you Tom, I hope you send 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 was finished. Even the show’s moderator didn’t have anything to say for a few moments. I guess he gave us all something to think about. I had planned to do some work that morning, then go to the gym. Instead, I went upstairs and woke my wife 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, “ I said, “it has just been a long time since we spent a Saturday with the kids. Hey, can we stop at a toy store while we’re out? I need to buy some marbles.”