I've never been a fan of chain emails. But a few years ago, a friend forwarded a story that had a powerful effect on me. In fact, after reading this story, I started to . . . well, lose my marbles. Let me explain.
Time is not infinite
The story was about a man who loved Saturdays, and he wondered how many he had remaining in his life. Fifty-two Saturdays a year times 75 years in an average person's life equals 3,900. But since the man was 55 years old, he'd lived through most of those Saturdays already, leaving only about 1,000. Determined to make the remaining Saturdays count, the man bought a glass jar and filled it with 1,000 marbles. Every Saturday, he opened the jar and tossed one marble in the trash. In this way, he reminded himself that time passes quickly, that each day is a gift.
The story inspired me to buy my own jar of marbles. Like the man in the story, I remove one marble every Saturday. Clearly, only the Lord knows how many Saturdays I have remaining in my life. But to have a visual reminder of a day in the context of a life span has been valuable. It reminds me that my time with my family is not infinite, that there are only a certain number of Saturdays before my sons graduate from high school and a few more after that until they leave for college. Time slips through our fingers so quickly!
A well-spent marble
After returning from a work trip, I took a long weekend to spend with the family. When I returned to the office, a few colleagues asked me the typical questions: "Did you have a good weekend? Did you do anything?" After briefly scanning my memory for anything newsworthy, I realized it had just been a quiet few days with Jean and the boys. "Well," I said, "I actually did nothing this weekend."
Later, I thought about that answer. Nothing? We had played board games, read books, gone to church and ate some fabulous meals. We'd gone sledding together and sipped hot chocolate afterward. It had been a wonderful weekend. Even the most "exciting" thing outside the home can't top the time that Jean and I are given to spend with our growing boys. If only every marble would be so well-spent.
Jim Daly is president of Focus on the Family and host of the Focus on the Family broadcast. His daily column is available at JimDalyblog.com.