I always like feedback from the articles that I write, and love constructive and encouraging words. Over the last few days it has been heart-warming to read comments and emails – responses that underline that ‘it starts with us’, ‘we can contribute to the fabric of the universe, we matter, you matter, matter matters, and then someone mentioned one of my favourite words (well, two words), that is, tukkun olam. I love the concept. It has many broad and deep meanings, but the one that is in my mind now is that of you and I ‘repairing’ or ‘completing’ the world. Wonderful.
With that in mind, and you know how I love stories, here’s a story I found and mentioned some time ago but it bears repeating because it is so true, so profound and yet so simple, and it is so encouraging.
The ancient Celts, Celtic Christians and Druids of old would have sat around the evening’s camp fire and told stories to each other – the ‘telling place’. Some of these stories would be of their tribal history, great leaders and heroes of the past, perhaps for amusement, and sometimes the stories would be great cosmic stories of creation, and sometimes stories would contain a deep moral buried within and which the hearer would have to discern. Latter-day Celts, Celtic Christians and Druids still tell wonderful stories, and here’s a meaningful story just for you:
A man was walking along a deserted beach at sunset. As he walked he could see a young child in the distance, seemingly playing.
As the man drew nearer he noticed that the child kept bending down, picking something up, and then running to the edge of the sea, and throwing it into the water. Time and again the child kept hurling things into the ocean and then ran back.
As the man approached even closer, he was able to see that the child was picking up starfish that had been washed up on the beach and, one at a time the child would run to the water’s edge and throw them back into the sea.
The man asked the child what they were doing, and the child replied,” I am throwing these washed-up starfish back into the ocean, Mister, or else they will die through lack of oxygen.
“But”, said the man, “You can’t possibly save them all, there are thousands on this beach alone, and this must be happening on hundreds of beaches along the coast. You can’t possibly save them all.”
The child smiled, bent down and picked up another starfish, and as they threw it back into the sea, gleefully shouted, “I know, but I can make a difference to this one.”
Little by little, in large and small ways, we can make a difference. Never give up doing good.