I don’t remember when I first came across the starfish story.
What I know is that ever since I read it, every time I see a starfish on the beach or while snorkeling, I immediately remember the little boy rushing to save the starfish.
If you haven’t yet read this story, it revolves around an old man who goes for a walk on the beach after a big storm has passed.
That day, the beach was littered with starfish.
From a distance, he spotted a little boy. The boy seemed to be picking something up and throwing it back into the sea. The man could see that he was doing this over and over again. The man asked the boy what he was doing. The boy replied that he was throwing the starfish back into the ocean. He said that if they were left there on the beach, they would die when the sun got high.
To this, the old man replied that there were thousands of starfish on the beach! “You won’t make much difference” he told him.
The boy picked another starfish and threw it back into the sea. Smiling, he then turned and told the man “I made a difference to that one!”
How beautiful is that?
Now this is just a very short “adaptation” of the story if you will. It’s written by Loren Eiseley and is just one of the many brilliant pieces that I love from this author. It’s included in his book The Star Thrower which is a collection of his favorite essays and poems.
Don’t know about you, but I find this little story so heartwarming. A great lesson for us all.
I remember that as a kid, I wanted to save everyone and everything. You know, make the world a better place. When you’re young and innocent, you really believe that you can. As you grow older though, reality and life sets in.
And with all the horrible things going on in the world right now, it’s so easy to give up and say “What difference is it gonna make?”
The starfish story is a good reminder to us all that yes, even the smallest thing can make a difference. And if we can touch just one person with a simple gesture, then we must not let that opportunity pass by without doing something.
Just today, I learned that one of my customers passed away yesterday. It saddened me deeply even though I had never met her. She was battling cancer. We had messaged each other many times on Etsy and she had told me that she was undergoing chemo. She later on sent me a friend request on Facebook which I accepted. Although I’ve never met her, I could tell just from her words that she was truly a beautiful soul. In one of our conversations, she told me that I made her feel special. Knowing that even if for just a brief moment, I was able to provide a nice distraction from what she was going through makes me feel better.
You see you just never know when you can make a difference in someone’s life. To you it might be something small, but to that person it could mean the world in that particular moment.
So remember the starfish story and never, ever stop doing good and trying to make a difference in people’s lives.