Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Star Thrower...

The following story is inspired by the writing of Loren Eiseley. I came across it recently and have been reflecting on it. I'm sure many of you will recognize it, but here it is again.

Once upon a time there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work. One day he was walking along the shore. As he looked down the beach, he saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself to think of someone who would dance to the day. So he began to walk faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he saw that it was a young man and the young man wasn't dancing, but instead he was reaching down to the shore, picking up something and very gently throwing it into the ocean.

As he got closer he called out, "Good morning! What are you doing?"
The young man paused, looked up and replied, "Throwing starfish in the ocean."
"I guess I should have asked, why are you throwing starfish in the ocean?"
"The sun is up and the tide is going out. And if I don't throw them in they'll die."
"But, young man, don't you realize that there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it. You can't possibly make a difference!"

The young man listened politely. Then bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves and said- "It made a difference for that one."

His response surprised the man, he was upset, he didn't know how to reply, so instead he turned away and walked back to the cottage to begin his writings.All day long as he wrote, the image of that young man haunted him; he tried to ignore it, but the vision persisted. Finally, late in the afternoon, he realized that he the scientist, he the poet, had missed the essential nature of the young man's actions. Because he realized that what the young man was doing was choosing not to be an observer in the universe and watch it pass by, but was choosing to be an actor in the universe and make a difference. He was embarrassed.That night he went to bed, troubled. When morning came, he awoke knowing that he had to do something; so he got up, put on his clothes, went to the beach and found the young man; and with him spent the rest of the morning throwing Starfish into the ocean.

I guess everyone is like the young man- we all have purpose, we can all make a difference. We just need to realize it, set our minds to it and take action. Making a difference takes effort. Likewise, everyone is like the starfish. We all need help at times; some being in more desperate need than others, but sooner or later we can all use a helping hand. And every one one of us, like the starfish, is worth being helped. Every person counts. It’s about each and every individual person, not the numbers.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for reminding me.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sandra,
I am Sarah Duncan's mother. She spent a few weeks with all of you last summer. We continue to pray for all of you. Thank you for posting this message. I plan to share it with Sarah...as she continues to struggle to find God's plan for herself. Blessings on you and your work.

~ Act Justly. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly. micah 6:8 ~