A Story that Touched My Heart Today
Written September 11, 2011

Today I met with my best friend, and she shared a special story that touched my heart. And if you haven’t heard it yet, I hope it will do the same for you.

Eva said, “You need to hear this story. It will take a while because I have to translate it from Albanian. “OK….” I responded and waited for what was coming next. She fired up her laptop and slowly begin translating the following story.

The Vase of Life.
When the most important things in your life make you anxious, when you feel stressed, when 24 hours a day doesn’t seem like enough, think about this story…

Without saying a word to his students, a philosophy professor set a large empty vase in front of his class. Slowly, he started filling the vase up with golf balls. He asked his students whether the vase was full. All students agreed it was full.

Next, the professor brought out a box of small glass pebbles and poured them into the vase. The pebbles filled the empty spaces between the golf balls. The professor asked his students if the vase was full. And the answer was an indisputable yes.

Out came another box. This time it was filled with sand. The professor threw the sand into the vase, and the sand filled the empty spaces. He asked his students again, “Is the vase full now?” And they answered, “Yes.”

At this moment, the professor poured a cup of coffee into the vase… the students burst out laughing. When the laughter stopped, the professor said, “I want you to understand this vase represents life.

The golf balls are the most important things like family, kids, health, friends, love and the things we like. Even if we lose everything else, and what is left are just those things, our lives will still be full.

The pebbles represent our accomplishments and the things we are interested in like our job, our house, and car.

The sand represents all the other small things that make our lives enjoyable.

If we fill the vase with the sand first, there will be no space left for the golf balls and small glass pebbles.

The same thing happens in our lives. When we spend our time and energy on the small things, there is no space for what is important.

Be careful with the essential things in your life – play with your kids, find time to go to the doctor, go out to a dinner with your loved one, practice your favorite sport. There will always be time and space in ‘the vase’ to clean up your house, to cut the grass, and tend to the small things.

Take care of the golf balls.

Decide now what your priorities are.”

“So what does the coffee mean?” asked one of the students.

The professor smiled and said, “I’m so happy you asked. It’s just to remind all of you that it doesn’t matter how busy you are with your life, you still have the time to have coffee with your friends.”

And tonight, I did just that. Spent time with my loved ones. We didn’t have coffee, but a wonderful dinner and a great time translating this story to share it with all the people we love and care about.

Now, I am curious when and where this story originated, and into how many languages it has been translated. I can testify with certainty that an Albanian version exists. Thanks Eva 🙂

And even more so now I am examining what my life has been filled with…

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