The Starfish Story


When Roe was overturned, we celebrated a life-giving decision and promised to dedicate ourselves even more to our life-saving work! Now in the reality of our work, there are days that we feel exhausted, even defeated, by the constant list of new obstacles we face. At times there is even a temptation to ask ourselves, "Am I really making a difference?"

You may have heard this story before, but let this excerpt remind you and those around you that your work is important and necessary.


     Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the

     ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach

     every morning before he began his work. Early one morning, he

     was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and

     found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye

     could see, stretching in both directions. 


     Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy approaching.

     As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew

     closer, the man could see that he was occasionally bending down

     to pick up an object and throw it into the sea.  The boy came closer

     still and the man called out, “Good morning! May I ask what it is

     that you are doing?”


     The young boy paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing

     starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the

     beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves,” the youth

     replied. “When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw

     them back into the water.”


     The old man replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of 

     starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make

     much of a difference.” 


     The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as

     far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said,

     “It made a difference to that one!”


     Adapted from The Star Thrower, by Loren Eiseley 


The world will tell you that you don't make a difference, but the life of even just one child is the difference this world needs. When your work feels overwhelming and you are becoming discouraged, approach each mother, father and child like this young boy. The tide of worldviews has brought them to you. Submerge each woman, man and child in love and support, and you too can say, "It made a difference to that one!"