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One Thousand marbles

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."

Story by Jeffry Davis

Dont Forget Your Mother....

After 21 years of marriage, my wife wanted me to take another woman out to dinner and a movie. She said, “I love you, but I know this other woman loves you and would love to spend some time with you.”

The other woman that my wife wanted me to visit was my MOTHER, who has been a widow for 19 years, but the demands of my work and my three children had made it possible to visit her only occasionally. That night I called to invite her to go out for dinner and a movie. “What’s wrong, are you well?” she asked.

My mother is the type of woman who suspects that a late night call or a surprise invitation is a sign of bad news. “I thought that it would be pleasant to spend some time with you,” I responded. “Just the two of us.” She thought about it for a moment, and then said, “I would like that very much.”

That Friday after work, as I drove over to pick her up I was a bit nervous. When I arrived at her house, I noticed that she, too, seemed to be nervous about our date. She waited in the door with her coat on. She had curled her hair and was wearing the dress that she had worn to celebrate her last wedding anniversary. She smiled from a face that was as radiant as an angel’s. “I told my friends that I was going to go out with my son, and they were impressed, “she said, as she got into the car. “They can’t wait to hear about our meeting.”

We went to a restaurant that, although not elegant, was very nice and cozy. My mother took my arm as if she were the First Lady. After we sat down, I had to read the menu. Her eyes could only read large print. Half way through the entries, I lifted my eyes and saw Mom sitting there staring at me. A nostalgic smile was on her lips. “It was I who used to have to read the menu when you were small,” she said. “Then it’s time that you relax and let me return the favor,” I responded. During the dinner, we had an agreeable conversation – nothing extraordinary but catching up on recent events of each other’s life. We talked so much that we missed the movie. As we arrived at her house later, she said, “I’ll go out with you again, but only if you let me invite you.” I agreed.

“How was your dinner date?” asked my wife when I got home. “Very nice. Much more so than I could have imagined,” I answered.

A few days later, my mother died of a massive heart attack. It happened so suddenly that I didn’t have a chance to do anything for her. Some time later, I received an envelope with a copy of a restaurant receipt from the same place mother and I had dined. An attached note said: “I paid this bill in advance. I wasn’t sure that I could be there; but nevertheless, I paid for two plates – one for you and the other for your wife. You will never know what that night meant for me. I love you, son.”

At that moment, I understood the importance of saying in time: “I LOVE YOU” and to give our loved ones the time that they deserve. Nothing in life is more important than your family. Give them the time they deserve, because these things cannot be put off till “some other time.

Dont be proud of Your Looks...

Bimbisar, the king of Koshal, was a devotee of Buddha and would pay him a visit quite often. His wife, Kheema, was extremely beautiful and was very proud of her beautiful looks. Her motto in life was to ‘eat, drink and be merry.’ She would often say to the King, ‘Life is too short. Why don’t you spend it enjoying to the maximum? Why do you go to Buddha? What does the poor mendicant have and what can he give us?’

But the King had an earnest desire that Kheema too should realize the greatness of saints like Buddha. Once he tricked her and asked his ministers to bring Kheema to Venuvana, the forest where Buddha lived in those days. When Kheema got off her palanquin, she did not see the king and instead found a mendicant sitting under the tree.

Perturbed, she said, ‘Where is his majesty?’

Buddha said, ‘This forest doesn’t belong to the king of Koshal. It is I who live here.’

Hearing this, Kheema started rebuking her attendants, ‘Why have you brought me to a place where my lord, the King, is not present?’

Buddha said, ‘To enlighten you about the reality of life. You just enjoy royal comforts and ephemeral pleasures, but you are far away from true happiness and contentment. You consider this body as you, while remaining ignorant of your true Self.’

Kheema said, ‘Well, you can keep these philosophies of true happiness etc. to yourself. I respect you only because his majesty pays obeisance to you. But Holy One! As far as life is concerned, I believe in what I see with my eyes. I love my husband. I am enjoying the present and I am least interested in any promise of happiness that might come in future.’

‘Kheema! Are you satisfied by enjoying your life in this manner?’

‘Why not, Holy One! Of course I am.’

‘Kheema! God forbid the King should lose his kingdom or his strength; will he remain as lovable to you as he is now? What if you grow old, have grey hair or a bent back; will the king continue to love you with the same zeal? Will you still be happy?’

“Kheema was stunned. Buddha continued; ‘What you consider as happiness and contentment is transitory in nature. A bout of diarrhea can tarnish your beauty. A slight fever can weaken this good-looking body. And old age, which is certain to come, will surely be devoid of such pleasures. Aren’t you tired of royal luxuries and momentary pleasures? Haven’t you become a slave to them by becoming dependent on them? Aren’t you perennially anxious to keep these pleasures intact forever?’

On hearing this, Kheema’s discrimination was slightly awakened and she sat on the ground feeling dizzy. After some time, she regained her composure and said, ‘Holy One! You are right. What I consider to be an enjoyable and satisfying life is in fact a delusion. Those who fall for the worldly pleasures are like the fish caught by the bait put on the hook or like the moth that is attracted by the flame and gets burnt by the fire. Holy One! You have bestowed infinite grace upon me by opening my eyes with your words of wisdom…’

Buddha was listening with calm composure.

‘Childhood is spent in childish activities; in old age one is but weak and dependent. Youth alone is suitable for seeking true inner joy. Holy One! Please pardon me and accept me as your disciple.’

When the king of Koshal came to know about this, he was extremely pleased to see that Kheema’s lust was transformed into devotion by the grace of the Holy One.
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