The Star Thrower

(A repeat from April 21, 2013)

One of my favorite short stories is “The Star Thrower” by Loren Eiseley (1907-1977). The author got up early one morning and began walking the ocean beach. He was alone.  The gray fingers of dawn touched the horizon. It was dark but he could see that the sand was covered with starfish – live starfish being swept in by the tide. He continued walking.

Off in the distance on the beach, he saw the shadow of a figure that  would stoop — and throw. Stoop — and throw.   As he approached the figure, he saw that it is a young man. Who was picking up starfish and slinging them back into the sea. As he reached the young man, he stopped to watch. The author looked at the young man and said “look at the beach. It’s covered with starfish. What you’re doing doesn’t make any difference.” The young man looked back as he picked up a starfish “you see this one? It makes a difference to him” and he threw the starfish into the waves.

This message is so powerful it brings tears to my eyes.  What do you do to make a difference? We are each blessed with special gifts.  Abilities. We may not be able to throw a starfish into the sea. But we may be able to throw a lifeline to some person. With a kind word. A generous deed. It may not mean much to us. But it may make all the difference in the world to someone else.