Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Afternoon Reflections - Making a Difference

There are many times I'll be taking part in a discussion, or meeting, or simply listening to a comment by a listener on a radio or TV show, and I'll hear something to the effect of "Why should I get involved, nothing I do will really make a difference." I think many of us also fall into that train of thought when it comes to things that seems out of our control or out of our grasp in life - whether it's a social issue, an economic issue, or simply dealing with a personal issue like losing weight or getting healthier. I think it's important to remember that even the tiniest commitment or action can have a profound effect, even if it's only in one life.

This is a favorite story of mine, and many of you may have read some version of it since it's been around for quite some time. It was adapted from a book entitled The Star Thrower by Loren Eiseley, a world renowned naturalist, poet, scientist, and humanist. Consider even the small differences you can make as you read...

The Starfish Story

I awoke early, as I often did, just before sunrise, to walk by the ocean's edge and greet the new day.
As I moved through the morning dawn, I focused on a faint, far away motion.
5x7 treasure hunt oil painting effect by BellaTwilight
I saw a youth, bending and reaching and flailing arms, dancing on the beach, no doubt in celebration of the perfect day soon to begin.

Treasure in the Sea - Art Print by RebeccaEvans**

As I approached, I realized that the youth was not dancing to the bay, but rather bending to sift through the debris left by the night's tide, stopping now and then to pick up starfish and then standing, to heave it back into the sea.

I asked the youth the purpose of the effort. "The tide has washed the starfish onto the beach and they cannot return to the sea by themselves," the youth replied. "When the sun rises, they will die, unless I throw them back into the sea."

Treasure Hunt, 8x10 Fine Art Photograph by BarefootPosse**
As the youth explained, I surveyed the vast expanse of beach, stretching in both directions beyond eyesight. Starfish littered the shore in numbers beyond calculation. The hopelessness of the youth's plan became clear to me and I countered, 

"But there are more starfish on this beach than you can ever save before the sun is up. Surely you cannot expect to make a difference."

The youth paused briefly to consider my words, bent to pick up a starfish and threw it as far as possible. Turning to me he simply said,

"I made a difference to that ONE."

Starfish Under the Clear Blue Sea by AntonyZ**

We may not be able to solve the world's ills on a grand scale, but that doesn't mean you won't make a difference to someone or something, somewhere, with whatever you choose to do - make it something positive!

Have an amazing, empowering day :)


** refers to shops that are undiscovered or underdiscovered and definitely worth a peek!

1 comment:

JacBer said...

Thats my favourite story of all time :-)

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