That sounds like a really big number, doesn’t it?
It seems like it would be a great number of things that would take up a quite a bit of space if you had to put that many of something somewhere.
But it’s not a big number.
It’s how many Saturdays I have left in my life, if I’m lucky.
Around four months ago I found a book called ‘1000 Marbles’ and I’ve decided to make it part of my life.
The fellow who wrote the book is an avid ham radio operator and he liked to listen to a show every morning to start his day. He tuned in one Saturday morning to hear the following conversation between the host, a man named Tom, and a caller:
“Let me tell you something Tom, something that has helped me keep a good perspective on my own priorities,” said the caller, and older fellow.
“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 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 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 1000 marbles. I took them home and put them inside of 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 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 here on the band again someday. Have a good morning!”
Now compared with the 3,900 we all start with, my 1,277 doesn’t seem so big. In fact it’s less than half.
So I went and got 1,284 crystals, the amount of Saturdays I had left when I started, marbles being too damn expensive, and put them in a plastic jar. Every Saturday I take one out and throw it away.
Around the same time, I also came across a wonderful series of videos on YouTube called “Human”. They are a collection of short videos of people around the world telling personal stories that prove, no matter what language we speak, race or color we are or religion we follow, we are all… Human.
One of them really made an impact on me.
The fellow telling the story has shockingly pink hair, huge thick black earrings, and a tiny goatee. The video is quite plain – just a head shot on a black background and the words he speaks are written on the screen beside his head. He says:
“The magic moment that I had with my grandfather was right after my grandmother died. I went to go see him and I knew that he was hurting, but I wasn’t sure what kind of state he would be in. And she was his partner for 65 years as well as his driver. So I went to see him and I said “Grandpa… how you doin’?” And he said: “Did you know that for four dollars, I can get a shuttle anywhere in the city?” I said: “Wow, that’s great Grandpa.” He said: “Well, I went to the grocery store, and I went to the woman behind the counter and said: I have this list of things, could you help me find them? My wife has recently changed her residence to heaven.” And I said: “Grandpa man, you always help me see the glass as half full.” And he leaned back, looked me in the eyes, and he said: “It’s a beautiful glass.”
It’s a beautiful glass.
What an awesome way to look at life.
So. I’m also going to do something special every one of my Saturdays. It could be something that I’ve always wanted to do, like take a guitar lesson. Or it could be something special with Lorna, like seeing a hot air balloon and chasing it until it lands and seeing if they’ll give us a ride. Maybe it will be something special with the grand kids. Or with a friend. It doesn’t matter.
The point is to not waste the day.
Oh, you’ll remember that the fellow on the radio lived to throw his last marble away.
I’m hoping I’ll be so lucky.