By BOB URBAN

rurban@tnonline.com

You never know where or when life's next lesson will come from. In this case, it came in an email, from a loyal reader. It's worth reading, and worth absorbing. I'm not sure who wrote it originally, but it makes good sense.

The Mayonnaise Jar

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle,

When 24 hours in a day is not enough;

Remember the mayonnaise jar and two cups of coffee.

A professor stood before his philosophy class

and had some items in front of him.

When the class began, wordlessly,

hepicked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar

and started to fill it withgolf balls.

He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box ofpebblesand poured

it into the jar. He shook the jar lightly.

The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.

He then asked the students again

ifthe jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box ofsand

and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.

He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded

With an unanimous 'yes.'

The professor then producedtwocups ofcoffeefrom under the table

and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively

filling the empty space between the sand.

The students laughed.

'Now,' said the professor, as the laughter subsided,

'I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.

Thegolf ballsare theimportant things- God, family,

children, health, friends, and favorite passions;

things that if everything else was lost

and only they remained, your life would still be full.

Thepebbles are the things that matter like your job, house, and car...

Thesandiseverything else

The small stuff.

'If you put the sand into the jar first,' he continued,

'there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.

The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff,

You will never have room for the things that are

Important to you.

So...

Pay attentionto the things that are critical to your happiness.

Play with your children.

Take time to get medical checkups.

Take your partner out to dinner.

There will always be time

to clean the house and fix the dripping tap.

'Take care of the golf balls first

The things that really matter.

Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.'

One of the students raised her hand

And inquired what the coffee represented.

The professor smiled.

'I'm glad you asked.'

It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem,

there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.'