Making the most of the time you have leftPublished 2:30pm Saturday, September 25, 2010
“Do all you can, with what you have, in the time you have, in the place you are.”
— Nkosi Johnson, 12-year-old Zulu boy, living with AIDS
Tom arrived at the local radio station a little late. He was to begin his usual midnight shift as a talk show host. He was tired, wishing he could just go to bed and sleep like most people do on a Friday night.
“I hope I get some good discussions tonight,” he thought as he checked over last minute responsibilities before going on the air.
The usual conversations unfolded. People having trouble sleeping called in to share their woes, or just talk to pass the time. Some spoke of political concerns or relationship problems. But nothing prepared him for the call he got from Sam just before dawn.
“You see,” said Sam, “I sat down one day and did a little arithmetic,” the told Tom. “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 I came up with 3,900, which is the number of Saturdays that the average person has in their entire lifetime.”
“It took me until I was 55 years old to think about all this in any detail,” he went on, “and by that time I had lived through over 2,800 Saturdays. I got to thinking that if I lived to be 75, I only had about a thousand of them left to enjoy.”
Sam’s voice became more focused.
“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 have taken one marble out and thrown it away.”
“I found that by watching the marbles diminish, I focused 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.”
Tom’s ears were really perked by now.
“Tom, 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. After all, half the people my age are already gone.”
Sam hung up with Tom still a little off balance. He thought about that call the rest of his shift, as sun began to dawn on his own Saturday, and has done the same almost every Saturday since then.
How much time did he have left, he wondered? What was he doing with the present moment he had? Where did he focus his energy and time? If he had a marble jar, how close would he be to his last marble?
How about you?
What would you do tonight, this weekend, if you were on your last marble?
Do it now.
How do you know you haven’t already used your last marble?
What will you do about that?
Story adapted from an unknown source by David Larson, M.S., C.P.C.C. His column appears on alternate Sundays. He can be contacted at 507-373-7913, or at his website, www.callthecoach.com.