There are several items that I never leave the house without, one is my Gerber Para Frame folding knife, and the other is one of my challenge coins. Today though in addition to one of my challenge coins I am carrying these items:
Yes you are seeing that correctly I have two marbles along with my Wood Badge challenge coin. Why you ask? Well I could be smart and say it’s so that I can never lose my marbles, and some day’s I wouldn’t be far from the truth, but the truth is much more cerebral. I picked up those marbles on the same day I was handed my Wood Badge challenge coin, and they came with a story. We were in formation and the course director began passing around a large jar full of marbles with instructions to take two and pass the rest on. When everyone had two marbles she began:
“There was a man who one day sat down and did a little arithmetic. He figured that most people live to the age of seventy-five, some live longer some live less, but the average is seventy-five. Then he did a little more math and multiplied 75 times 52 and came up with the number 3900 which is the average number of Saturdays that a person has in their live.
It wasn’t until he was in his 50’s that figured out that he had about another 20 years to live, and realized that he only had a little more than 1000 of those Saturdays left. So he went to a toy store and bought every single marble they had. He ended up having to visit three toy stores to round-up all 1040 marbles. He took them home and put them inside of a large, clear plastic container in his garage next to his gear. Every Saturday since then, he took one marble out and threw it away.
He found that by watching the marbles diminish, he 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.
Then one Saturday morning he took the last marble out of the container and threw it away, he figured that if he made it to the next Saturday he would have been given a little extra time, and who couldn’t use more time?”
It was then that she paused and looked at all of us. Everyone there had given up two of their Saturdays to attend this course, two of their marbles had been thrown away, and they were the two marbles we were holding in our hands.
“Take these marbles”, she counseled us “and, make sure that you always focus on the important things in life. You are here, attending this course, because you realize that your life on this earth isn’t just about you. Don’t ever forget that.”
I’m carrying these marbles today, because on Boxing Day my wife was looking in my bin on the shelf where I place all of my stuff when I empty my pockets and asked, “Why do you have these two marbles here?” I told her the story, and realized that maybe I hadn’t remembered fully what they meant, and that quite possibly I was squandering away some of my time here on earth, for you see that man only had the story half right, every day we have here is a gift, not just those left after the marbles are all gone. And every day we need to make sure we are setting aside time to focus on the important things.
To paraphrase one of the tenets of the Wood Badge course, it’s about leaving a legacy it’s about focusing on the important things in life, everyday and not just when you have time to spare.
So that is what I have in my pockets today...what do you have in yours?