Editorial Columnist: A life lesson: Have you lost your marbles?
by Jim Davidson
Oct 28, 2013 | 1029 views | 0 0 comments | 45 45 recommendations | email to a friend | print
One evening last week I said to Viola, “Honey, can I take you to Stoby’s for breakfast in the morning?” In her usual cooperative spirit she said, “Sure, I will be happy to go.”

What she did not know at the time and won’t until she reads this, is the reason I was motivated to take her.

A few days before, a very thoughtful reader, whose name is Janet Williams, had sent me something titled, “1000 Marbles: Something to Think About.” This was an emailed article that has been forwarded thousands of times to people across the country and sadly, to me, was written by an unknown author.

This article contains a very profound message about the priorities we place on our time and the fact that someday all of our time will be gone. This reminds me of W. Clement Stone’s favorite saying, “Do it now.” The truth is, if we don’t, it probably won’t get done.

As I share this article, please think about your own life and what you have been doing with your precious time. In reality, have you just been busy or have you been doing things that really matter?

The emphasis here is on Saturday mornings and it begins, “A few weeks ago, I was shuffling toward the basement 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.”

It continues, “Turning the dial up on my ham radio in order to listen to a Saturday morning swap net, I came across an older sounding chap. 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 have been 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 just 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 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 the average, folks live about 75 years. Now then, I multiplied 75 times 52 and came up with 3,900, which is the number of Saturdays that the average person has in his or her 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, and by that time I had lived through over 2,800 Saturdays. I got to thinking that if I lived to be age 75, I only had about a thousand of them left to enjoy.”

Continuing, he explained, “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’ve 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 earth run out to help get your priorities straight.”

Then he closed, “Now let me tell you one last thing before I sign off with you and take my lovely wife out to breakfast. This morning, I took the very last marble out of the container. I figure 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 ... 75-Year-Old Man, this is K9NZQ, clear and going QRT, good morning.”

You could have heard a pin drop 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 up stairs and woke my wife up with a kiss.

“C’mon honey, I’m taking you to breakfast this morning.”

“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. Hey, can we stop at a toy store while we’re out? I need to buy some marbles.”

As I read and pondered this article, it made me realize that my priorities had been wrong for a good part of my life, especially in those first 55 years. I’ve decided that in the future, if I can’t take my wife out to breakfast, at least I can do the dishes.

Did you know that no husband had ever been shot while doing the dishes?


(Editor’s Note: Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. He may be contacted at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway AR 72034.)