One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean. Approaching the boy, he asked, “What are you doing?” The youth replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.” “Son,” the man said, “don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can’t make a difference!”
After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it back into the surf. Then, smiling at the man, he said…” I made a difference for that one.”
“The starfish story” – Loren Eisley
We find joy and meaning in our lives when we recognise that acts of care and generosity – no matter how small – make a positive difference in the world. We long to feel like our lives matter, that we have significance, power, freedom, that we have agency and can contribute and impact the world around us.
Given the interconnectedness of all life we can never really tell where the influence of our good deeds end. Like ripples moving out through water, or the butterfly the flaps its wings, even small acts can have large impacts.
In a world in crisis each of us has a moral obligation and responsibility (response-ability) to take action to heal the world and ease its suffering. The most effective way we can do this is to help to serve a cause that you feel most passionate about by contributing in the way that is most natural for each individual – by expressing our gifts and talents creatively.
Reflection for action
What problem do you feel passionately about?
How would you like to contribute to helping?
What acts of care and contribution could you make?
What could you do this week, today, or right now that would make a difference?