There was once a wise old man who used to go to the beach every day to write. He used to enjoy walking along the beach every morning before he began his work.
One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and noticed that it was covered in starfish. There were far too many to even count so the old man continued his walk, lost in his own thoughts.
As he strolled along the sand, he saw a young girl moving towards him. She would walk a little, then stop and bend down and the old man was curious to know what she was doing.
As the two got closer, he noticed that the girl was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.
As they passed, he called out “Good morning! May I ask what you are doing?”
The girl paused, looked up, and replied, “I'm throwing these poor starfish back into the ocean.”
“But, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the somewhat startled old man.
“The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll all die,” replied the girl.
Upon hearing this, the wise man laughed, “But, young lady, you do realise that there are miles and miles of beach and there are hundreds of starfish along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!”
At this, the young girl bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, she said, “Well, it made a difference to that one!”
Adapted from The Star Thrower by Loren Eiseley (1907 - 1977)
The moral of this story could be interpreted in different ways, depending on how you read it and what is happening in your life right now.
Could it be telling you that each small step you take is just as important as a giant leap? Maybe it feels as though you aren't gettting anywhere but even the smallest act that leads you towards your goal is taking you in the right direction. Each small step is important.
It could also be telling you that even the smallest gesture could make a huge difference to someone else. Just a smile or a "hello" to someone who is having a bad day or feeling particularly lonely could mean the world to them.
Maybe you are going through life feeling that nothing you do could possible make a difference, so why bother? We've all felt like that from time to time. However, why not make the effort anyway? You don't know where it might lead or who else you could influence.
I would love to know what this story says to you and I will just leave it with you over the weekend to interpret in whatever way feels right. Keep it in mind as you enjoy your weekend. Just remember that you never know where that one small step might lead or what that tiny kind gesture could mean to someone else.