Recently, I ran across “The Starfish Story” in one of my daily devotionals that I read each day. It reminded me of the power to make a difference each one of us have intrinsically. For those who might not be familiar with the story, (it appears on the internet in a variety of forms, but the original story is credited to author Loren Eisely) it goes as follows.
Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before he began his work. Early one morning, he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions.
Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy approaching. As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer, the man could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea. The boy came closer still and the man called out, “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”
The young boy paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves,” the youth replied. “When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.”
The old man replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”
The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!”
The story drives home the power that one person can have! As we age and our bodies refuse to do the things it did when we were younger, we have a tendency to think that we no longer are useful. It is common for us to fall in to the trap of thinking that we no longer can be useful to anyone. Coupled with that thinking, then we fall into the trap of depression and lethargy. Make no mistake, it is a trap too! The fact is that as long as we are alive, we have a purpose to live!
The American clergyman, Edward Everett Hale famously put it like this, “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do!” Sounds like good advice to me!
Think about it this week as you stay “On The Bright Side”!
“To the world, you may be just one person; but to one person, you may be the world!”