One Thousand Marbles . . .

 

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One Thousand Marbles
Jeffrey Davis

I’m a Ham radio operator and spend some time working with radios and electronics. So when I heard this story it really made me think! I hope that you will find some application in your own life as well…

A few weeks ago, I was shuffling toward the basement shack 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. Let me tell you about it.

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 net. 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 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 sixty or seventy 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 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 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 3,900, 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 1,000 marbles. I took them home and put them inside of a large, clear plastic container right here in the shack next to my gear. 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 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.”

You could have heard a pin drop on the radio 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 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 a Saturday together with the kids. Hey, can we stop at a toy store while we’re out? I need to buy some marbles.”

Consider this: How many marbles are in your container?

Every Day Counts . . .

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Many people who’ve read my latest book Meaningful: The story of ideas that fly say that the introduction impacted them the most. It would never have been written without a nudge from a trusted friend, who reminded me after he’d read the manuscript that some people might only read one page. We don’t always have the luxury of getting people to pay attention to everything we want them to remember. He told me to write the page people needed to read. This is what I wrote.

– Bernadette Jiwa

EVERY DAY COUNTS

Our deepest fear is that we will run out of places to hide—that one day there will be no boss who allows us to remain invisible and no political or economic circumstance that stops us from doing the most important work of our lives. We are the ultimate paradox. There are only two things we want—we want to hide and we want to be seen.

I know you’re scared that your idea might not work.
I know you worry about being wrong, far more than you celebrate the things you get right.
I know you waste time being anxious that you won’t measure up to someone else’s metric of success.
I know that some days you say one thing and do another.
Why else would the same New Year’s resolutions happen every new year?
I know you are afraid people will laugh at you.
I know that every day you walk a tightrope between getting over these fears and creating an impact.
I know you’re ‘this close’ to a breakthrough.
I wrestle with these fears, too. Every single day. On my best days, I put away my nervous laughter, the twenty emails I must answer and my to-do list, and I do the things I don’t have the courage to do on the days I want to hide. The things that matter—the kind of things I wish my brother had had a chance to do.

My brother never posted a photo on Facebook or created an iTunes playlist. He didn’t ever book a room on Airbnb or make a call from an iPhone. He never got to know what an app was and how magical the Internet would be. He will never walk across the Brooklyn Bridge or eat a moon pie in Gramercy Park. And he won’t be there to kiss his daughter when she turns eighteen in ten days’ time.

Johnny was the kid who wouldn’t come in from playing outside until the very last warning. He lit up any room just by walking into it. Like the Pied Piper, he had trails of friends who followed him and women who adored him (yes, he was impossibly good-looking, too). He was funny and magnetic and caring and genuine, and he died right on the cusp of a brand-new millennium, with a lot of dreams left inside him because he didn’t understand that there was no reason to wait for tomorrow to be better—that he didn’t need to hide. He was the most magnificent person who had everything he needed, and he didn’t know it.
Every day counts.

The two most important things we can do are to allow ourselves to be seen AND to really see others. The greatest gift you can give a person is to see who she is and to reflect that back to her. When we help people to be who they want to be, to take back some of the permission they deny themselves, we are doing our best, most meaningful work.
I see you

What’s the one thing your audience needs to hear? Go tell them.

Consider this: What one page do you need to write?

Two Days We Should Not Worry . . .

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Two Days We Should Not Worry
Author Unknown

There are two days in every week about which we should not worry, two days which should be kept free from fear and apprehension.

One of these days is Yesterday with all its mistakes and cares,
its faults and blunders, its aches and pains.

Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control.
All the money in the world cannot bring back Yesterday.

We cannot undo a single act we performed;
we cannot erase a single word we said.
Yesterday is gone forever.

The other day we should not worry about is Tomorrow
with all its possible adversities, its burdens,
its large promise and its poor performance;
Tomorrow is also beyond our immediate control.

Tomorrow’s sun will rise,
either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds, but it will rise.
Until it does, we have no stake in Tomorrow,
for it is yet to be born.

This leaves only one day, Today.
Any person can fight the battle of just one day.
It is when you and I add the burdens of those two awful eternities Yesterday and Tomorrow that we break down.

It is not the experience of Today that drives a person mad,
it is the remorse or bitterness of something which happened Yesterday and the dread of what Tomorrow may bring.

Let us, therefore, Live but one day at a time.

Consider this: Live in the moment. Seize the day.

I Worried . . .

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I Worried

– Mary Oliver

I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not how shall
I correct it?

Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?

Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,
hopeless.

Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
lockjaw, dementia?

Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And gave it up. And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
and sang.

Consider this: Don’t worry.

Life . . .

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Life I am the new year.
I am an unspoiled page in your book of time.
I am your next chance at the art of living.
I am your opportunity to practice
what you have learned about life
during the last twelve months.

All that you sought
and didn’t find is hidden in me,
waiting for you to search it out
with more determination.

All the good that you tried for
and didn’t achieve
is mine to grant
when you have fewer conflicting desires.

All that you dreamed but didn’t dare to do,
all that you hoped but did not will,
all the faith that you claimed but did not have —
these slumber lightly,
waiting to be awakened
by the touch of a strong purpose.

I am your opportunity
to renew your allegiance to Him who said,
‘behold, I make all things new.’
I am the new year.”

Author Unknown
But Greatly Appreciated!

Consider this: Happy New Year!

These Are My Wishes For You . . .

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These Are My Wishes For You
Sandra Sturtz Hauss

May you find serenity and tranquility
in a world you may not always understand.

May the pain you have known
and the conflict you have experienced
give you the strength to walk through life
facing each new situation with courage and optimism.

Always know that there are those
whose love and understanding will always be there,
even when you feel most alone.

May a kind word,
a reassuring touch,
and a warm smile
be yours every day of your life,
and may you give these gifts
as well as receive them.

May the teachings of those you admire
become part of you,
so that you may call upon them.

Remember, those whose lives you have touched
and who have touched yours
are always a part of you,
even if the encounters were less than you would have wished.
It is the content of the encounter
that is more important than its form.

May you not become too concerned with material matters,
but instead place immeasurable value
on the goodness in your heart.
Find time in each day to see beauty and love
in the world around you.

Realize that what you feel you lack in one regard
you may be more than compensated for in another.
What you feel you lack in the present
may become one of your strengths in the future.
May you see your future as one filled with promise and possibility.
Learn to view everything as a worthwhile experience.

May you find enough inner strength
to determine your own worth by yourself,
and not be dependent
on another’s judgment of your accomplishments.

May you always feel loved.

Consider this: May you enjoy this season, however you celebrate it.

Joy . . .

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Joy
Rabindranath Tagore

And Joy is Everywhere;
It is in the Earth’s green covering of grass;
In the blue serenity of the Sky;
In the reckless exuberance of Spring;
In the severe abstinence of grey Winter;
In the Living flesh that animates our bodily frame;
In the perfect poise of the Human figure, noble and upright;
In Living;
In the exercise of all our powers;
In the acquisition of Knowledge;
in fighting evils…
Joy is there
Everywhere.

Consider this: Where is your joy today?

Rocking With Me . . .

IMG_3339Rocking With Me
Author Unknown

There was once an elderly, despondent woman in a nursing home. She wouldn’t speak to anyone or request anything. She merely existed – rocking in her creaky old rocking chair.

The old woman didn’t have many visitors. But every couple mornings, a concerned and wise young nurse would go into her room. She didn’t try to speak or ask questions of the old lady. She simply pulled up another rocking chair beside the old woman and rocked with her.

Weeks or months later, the old woman finally spoke.

‘Thank you,’ she said. ‘Thank you for rocking with me.’”

Consider this: Who do you need to sit and rock with today?

The Cleaning Lady . . .

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The Cleaning Lady
Joanne C. Jones

During my second month of nursing school, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions, until I read the last one: “What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?” Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade. “Absolutely,” said the professor. “In your careers you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say ‘Hello’.”

I’ve never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.

Consider this: Smile and say hello today. It might make someone feel important.

Dragons and Princesses . . .

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Dragons and Princesses
Ron Atchison
The Mayor of Inspiration Peak

 
Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

 
I was in Tokyo last spring, walking beneath neon signs and cherry blossoms with my dear friend Kirsten. Right about the time the sun was setting, we heard the sound of a jazz band coming from an alley. Turns out it was a group of four very hip Japanese college students playing their hearts out for anyone who would listen.

But not everyone was enjoying the music. In the middle of the second song, an older homeless man broke through the crowd and started yelling at the band. The musicians did their best to ignore him but the apparently intoxicated man would not go away. It seemed he was angry about the loud noise.

There were probably two dozen of us watching this unfold – none of us knowing what we could or should do. I remember feeling very helpless, because first, I don’t speak much Japanese, and second, the homeless man was starting to get more and more violent. At one point, he picked up a stick and started banging on the drum set.

This was more than the young drummer could take and he finally stopped playing, stood up and pushed the old man to the ground.

It was then that a young Japanese man made his way through the crowd very quietly. He knelt down next to the old man, took hold of his hand and asked him if he was alright. I couldn’t understand what was being said, but I’ll never forget the way this young man helped bring the fallen man to his feet. And I’ll never forget the way he carefully placed his arm around the old man’s shoulders and quietly walked him away.

After reading the above quote by Rainer Maria Rilke, I can’t help but wonder. Maybe this old man was a prince in disguise. And maybe he was waiting to see someone act, just once, with beauty and courage.

Consider this: Where is your presence needed today?