For many of us Friday is the winding down of the work week and a mad dash into a much needed weekend. To end the week on a high point, I wanted to share a story with you that you may have heard, but is one that never gets old for me. It usually goes uncredited, but is actually an adaptation from a story written by Loren Eiseley, an American educator and natural scientist. He was unique in his time in that he discussed scientific ideas in a context of spirituality and believed that we all have a responsibility to each other and the natural world that goes beyond our own ambitions.
I don’t believe that I could say it any better, so without further ado I hope you enjoy ‘The Starfish’!
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, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.
As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.
He came closer still and called out “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”
The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”
“I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the somewhat startled wise man.
To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”
Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”
At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, “It made a difference for that one!“