marbles

THANK GOD FOR JUNE: It is said that a grateful heart is a magnet for miracles. This year has been amazing. I’m thankful for big stuff, small stuff, standard stuff, personal stuff. I don’t know if I’ll post them all. I’m just going to go with it. I hope you read something that feels good.

I am thankful for marbles.

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I have been off-site on a job for the last few days. I was having mixed feelings yesterday while in the field. I wasn’t sure if it was the conditions that we were working in or what I was working on, but altogether I felt overwhelmed and asked to stop at a small rigidity shop on the side of the road before the next visit. I arrived with the intention of giving into a soda, but was startled by a bucket of blue marbles tucked away behind the selection of chips. I felt instant clarity. I felt grateful. I always do when I run into marbles.

My first marble moment was over brunch. We were having pancakes. It was summer. A friend of mine told me the story of a man who had lost his way. Always busy, never had time for family, etc.

Seeking perspective, he sat down to calculate the amount of Saturdays he had left to live. Assuming “the end” would be around the age of 75, he calculated he had about 1,300 Saturdays left in his life. Realizing his days were counted, the man went to a toy store–or a couple–and proceeded to buy 1,300 marbles and 2 jars. Each Saturday (for the rest of this life), he would pass one marble from the 1st jar to the 2nd. He kept this as a constant reminder of how important it was to value every moment spent in his life with the people he loved. I think of this story every time I see a marble. I think of the ability and blessing each of us has of passing one more over. As we got up from the table, wrapping up, he said, “Tone, it’s not about sucking the juice out of life. It’s just about being awake to the passing of each day. It’s not anxious or controlling. It’s peace. It’s about loving each moment for what it is.”

The second marble story was no more than a year later. I was in the midst of my Father’s cancer when a new friend, Dulce Thomas, took the stage at TEDxManagua and handed out marbles to everyone in the audience. Having survived cancer treatment, she spoke to us of love, hope, and despair.

She then lifted her hand and said, “My crisis was cancer. Here it is. Waldo. He is my friend.” She befriended her fear and came to realize that there was a world of love on the other side of her problem. Facing cancer meant facing her fear, and offering love to the very problem that was threatening her life.

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She continued, “This is your crisis. This is that thing that you are scared of. This is that thing that is crippling you. Look at it. Face it. Befriend it. Give it love anyway. Go farther than the pain, go farther than the fear. Live!”

I sometimes hold my marble out in front of me. Perspective usually follows. Marbles have been good to me over the years. They remind me of cancer. They remind me of life. They remind me of people fighting for another day. Of achieving happiness with a goodnight’s sleep or a warm plate of chicken pot pie. Marbles remind me of appreciating the days you have left. They remind me that love is unlimited, but time is not. Therein lies the perspective. 

I am thankful for marbles. Each marble. In the end, marble day or marble crisis, each one is an invitation to live & love.

About Antonella Saravia

Antonella is a New York based writer from Nicaragua.

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