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Starfish and making a difference! – November 30, 2017

By Jo Ann Carpenter

God created every creature with love and great detail.  I thoroughly enjoy walking along the beach or heading out to a sandbar at low tide to collect seashells.  The beach is one of my “happy” places.

Each shell I pick up is beautiful and was created with purpose!  I have some shells so tiny that you wonder how a creature lived inside it.  Sometimes, that critter was so small and still occupying that shell I missed it only to watch it crawl out of my bag later that day!  Yikes! And… sorry, little guy that I disturbed your home.

Last year my friend and I found 9-legged starfish!  They were huge and so cool!  We found them alive and returned them back to their home after taking pictures.  And of course, that reminds me of a story…

One day a man was walking the beach early in the morning.  He noticed a woman further down the beach and she seemed to be dancing to the day. (Ok so it was me dancing or… was I?)

As the man approached me he noticed I was throwing something back into the water, so he came closer and asked me what I was doing.

I replied, “These starfish have come in with the tide and if I don’t throw them back they will die when the sun fully rises.”  And I continued to pick up and gently toss them back into the water to live another day.

The man looked at me and said, “There are hundreds of them lying on the beach today.  You cannot possibly save all of them so why even bother?”

I picked up another starfish, turned it over in my hand and saw it was still alive. I returned it back to the water and said, “I know I cannot save them all, but I made a difference in the life of that one!”

I heard that story years ago, and now I am the one dancing to the day putting starfish back into the water. And I have seen hundreds of starfish on the beach, and I have saved as many as I could, just so you know how crazy I really am!  When someone asks me why these days, I share more of my story.

I explain, “Each starfish has a second chance, and maybe a third if I find them tomorrow.  I can make a difference by doing something and not merely walking by them with indifference.  You see, I work in a homeless shelter and help people who live daily in dire circumstances.  The starfish are God’s creation and so are the people we help.  I choose to make a difference in the world I live in, here at the beach and at home, with the people we serve at the shelter.”

So I ask you, what are you doing to make a difference in the life of someone today?  Tomorrow?  Next week?  This holiday season?