Posted by: mystic444 | November 24, 2010

Peas and Marbles

My blog entries tend to be critiques, refutations, and Scriptural commentaries. Sometimes they are spurred by critical and hate filled e-mails I receive. However this morning I received a very positive e-mail with a story of kindness. Whether it’s a true story or a work of fiction, it is very uplifting and provides a good example by which to live. I decided that rather than forward it to a small list of family and friends, I would put it out on this blog. It needs no further commentary.

I was at the corner grocery store buying some early potatoes.  I noticed a small boy, delicate of bone and feature, ragged but clean, hungrily appraising a basket of freshly picked green peas..

I paid for my potatoes but was also drawn to the display of fresh green peas. I am a pushover for creamed peas and new potatoes.  Pondering the peas, I couldn’t help overhearing the conversation between Mr. Miller (the store owner) and the ragged boy next to me.

‘Hello Barry, how are you today?’

‘H’lo , Mr. Miller. Fine, thank ya. Jus’ admirin’ them peas. They sure look good.’

‘They are good, Barry. How’s your Ma?’

‘Fine. Gittin’ stronger alla’  time.’

‘Good. Anything I can help you with?’

‘No, Sir. Jus’ admirin’ them peas.’

‘Would you like to take some home ?’ asked Mr.. Miller.

‘No, Sir. Got nuthin’ to pay for ’em with..’

‘Well, what have you to trade me for some of those peas?’

‘All I got’s my prize marble here.’

‘Is that right? Let me see it’ said Miller.

‘Here ’tis. She’s a dandy.’

‘I can see that.. Hmmmmm, only thing is this one is blue and I sort of go for red. Do you have a red one like this at home ?’ the store owner asked.

‘Not zackley but almost….’

‘Tell you what. Take this sack of peas home with you and next trip this way let me look at that red marble’, Mr. Miller told the boy.
‘Sure will. Thanks Mr. Miller.’

Mrs. Miller, who had been standing nearby, came over to help  me. With a smile she said, ‘There are two other boys like him in our community, all three are in very poor circumstances. Jim just loves to bargain with them for peas, apples, tomatoes, or whatever. When they come back with their red marbles, and they always do, he decides he doesn’t like red after all and he sends them home with a bag of produce for a green marble or an orange one, when they come on their next trip to the store.’

I left the store smiling to myself, impressed with this man. A short time later I moved to Colorado , but I never forgot the story of this man, the boys, and their bartering for marbles.

Several years went by, each more rapid than the previous one. Just recently I had occasion to visit some old friends in that Idaho community and while I was there learned that Mr. Miller had died.

They were having his visitation that evening and knowing my friends wanted to go, I agreed to accompany them. Upon arrival  at the mortuary we fell into line to meet the relatives of the deceased and to offer whatever words of comfort we could.

Ahead of us in line were three young men. One was in an army uniform and the other two wore nice haircuts, dark suits and white shirts….all very professional looking. They approached Mrs. Miller, standing composed and smiling by her husband’s casket. Each of the young men hugged her, kissed her on the cheek, spoke briefly with her, and moved on to the casket.

Her misty light blue eyes followed them as, one by one; each young man stopped briefly and placed his own warm hand over the cold pale hand in the casket. Each left the mortuary awkwardly, wiping his eyes.

Our turn came to meet Mrs. Miller. I told her who I was and reminded her of the story from those many years ago and what she had told me about her husband’s bartering for marbles. With her eyes glistening, she took my hand and led me to the casket.

‘Those three young men who just left were the boys I told you about. They just told me how they appreciated the things Jim ‘traded’ them. Now, at last, when Jim could not change his mind about color or size…..they came to pay their debt.’

‘We’ve never had a great deal of the wealth of this world,’ she confided, ‘but right now, Jim would consider himself the richest man in Idaho.’

With loving gentleness she lifted the lifeless fingers of her deceased husband. Resting underneath were three exquisitely shined red marbles.

The Moral: We will not be remembered by our words, but by our kind deeds.. Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath…..



  1. Thank you for that response Mr. Parker. You are absolutely right we must not let the atheists’ disbelief discourage us from holding fast to our faith. Hopefully, God will guide their souls to Him.

    I’m off to watch the video now… =)

  2. Since your posts are very insightful Mr. Parker, just felt like posing this question to you, if I may, about something I’ve been having trouble answering lately…why exactly do you believe in a God?

    In my case, I believe in Him because I sort of feel his presence out there, I just don’t think this universe could have just happened without his initiating it. Sadly tho’, many of my friends don’t seem to think that is a good enough reason (atheism is hot these days, I guess).

    What do you think? Why are you a believer?

    • iSherif: Congratulations on finishing up your college degree. (But I feel so old, now! 😀 ) I can well imagine how much you’re looking forward to the graduation. If I think hard enough, I can remember my graduation from a Junior College (way back in the dark ages) with my A. A. degree (and that doesn’t stand for Alcoholics Anonymous in this case 😆 ), and how exciting that was.

      Why do I believe in God? I can think of many factors that go into the answer of that question. One aspect of the answer is certainly the same as what you said: when I contemplate the material universe, it appears to me unavoidable that there is beauty, design, and purpose – which of course implies Intelligence to plan and design, and delight in beauty and order. Those who are bent on denying God will of course not be convinced by that or any argument. We may try to persuade them – and perhaps God’s light will break through the walls they’ve built up; but basically we just have to leave them to themselves, and not let their unbelief dissuade us. You’ve no doubt heard the old illustration of someone who was born blind and is convinced that there is no such thing as “sight”. The seeing person may try to convince him that there is a moon in the sky which can be seen by those who are not blind, but the blind person just ridicules him and insists he’s deluded. That’s how it is with the atheist, except that I don’t believe anyone is born an atheist. The atheist has just managed to convince himself that whatever belief in God he had in childhood was simply “childish fantasy” which he has outgrown.

      Certainly one factor in my belief in God is the fact that I was raised by my parents in that belief. But I also have become very convinced over the years that we are spiritual beings who did not originate at the time of our physical conception. As spiritual beings, we have an intrinsic knowledge of The Great Spirit who is our source, and we bring that knowledge with us unavoidably when we are born into this material world. Our belief in God is built in to our very nature, and the teaching of our parents only draws out that inborn belief. We have to deliberately work at trying to suppress or argue away the knowledge of our Designer, Creator, and Sustainer. (The many accounts of Near Death Experiences and past life recollections which have been verified are among the things which have absolutely convinced me of the reality of the “eternal” things of spirit/Spirit as opposed to the temporal and temporary material things.)

      One other contributing factor to my assured belief in God is prophetic fulfillment. As my upbringing has been in the Christian religion, I of course am much more familiar with Biblical prophecy than with any prophecy which may be in the Qur’an or other religious Scriptures. Perhaps you’ve read my recent blog article on Daniel’s Seventy Weeks. Reading that prophecy, and Isaiah’s statements about the “suffering servant” (Isaiah 53, for instance), and then reading the accounts of their fulfillment in the life of that great Prophet Jesus (PBUH) and the subsequent destruction of Jerusalem and its temple and rituals by the invading Roman armies. leave me without any doubt of the reality of God and revelation. There’s no way Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Daniel could have just made “lucky guesses” about the events they predicted.

      There are probably other contributing factors to my belief in God also. All of those things convince me of the reality of God/
      Spirit. I’m not surprised when people who are determined to find reasons to deny God don’t find my reasoning convincing; but I don’t let their disbelief undermine my own convictions.

      Occasionally someone who has convinced himself/herself of the validity of atheism does change his mind, A few days ago I came across this video series by a man named Jeffrey Lang, telling of what led him to atheism and then how reading the Qur’an answered his objections and brought about his conversion ( ). The video that appears on the page shows its length to be 9 minutes and 50 seconds; but it’s actually just the first of a series of videos of a conference speech which he gave. The video automatically jumps to the next in the series when one segment ends, and the total time is something like 1 and a half or 2 hours. I found it very interesting.

  3. I enjoyed reading that story…heartwarming stuff…and nice moral at the end

    BTW, I just finished my college degree…will be graduating early December…looking forward to the big moment!!

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