Single Steps Strategies Blog

The Story of the Beads

MGM smaller fileBy Mary Grace Musuneggi

Once upon a time there was a man named Donny who had been diagnosed with cancer and given only a year to live. He could only imagine what that year would be like, but he knew if it was his last then it was his last chance to make each day special.

Not wanting to risk that any day would go by without making it the best it could possibly be, Donny decided he needed a way every day to remind himself of the limits of his life span. So he went to a craft store and purchased a glass jar and 365 small, round colorful beads. Each morning when he arose, he took a bead, meditated on it and on what he would do with the 24 hours ahead of him, and then he tossed the bead away.

The first time I heard this story, I thought it was sad and morbid to be counting down the days, watching them slip by as the jar became more and more empty. But I then learned that Donny went through all the beads in the jar and he was still here. In fact, he filled the jar once again and managed to stay in the world for another six months before his life came to an end. Donny deliberately lived and experienced 545 very special days.

No matter how old we are, can any of us truly say that we have planned and executed 545 special days?

How great would it be if we could as we go forward? If our life expectancy is age 90 or 95 or more, how many days do we have? How many beads would that be? And since tomorrow is never promised to anyone, maybe we need to fill our own jars with 365 beads and repeat this year after year.

In The Writing Life, Annie Dillard wrote, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”

So let’s spend each in the spirit of carpe diem and seize the day. Pick up a bead and have a great day!

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