It was early in the morning;
the mist had not yet cleared from the sea.
In the distance a solitary figure stood throwing objects out over the water.
Walking along the debris-strewn
beach, I looked at the masses of starfish scattered everywhere. The tide had thrown them in, stranding them on the beach.
When the sun rose higher in the sky, they would perish.
Now closer to that stranger,
I could see they were starfish he was picking up
and returning to the sea.
Our eyes met.
"Do you really think you can help?
There are millions of starfish on this beach.
You can help so few," I asked.
"Does it really make a difference?
Does it matter?"
He reached down and picked up another starfish,
looking at it intently.
"Oh yes," he replied. "It matters to this one."
I think about humanity and the suffering that goes on all over the world. What if we were one of the starfish in need of a helping hand? Would there be someone to reach out to us or would it not make a difference because there are so many? Yes, people are helping people right now all over the world. There would be help. Just as the stranger believed it made a difference to the one, there are souls, just like you and me, in our workplaces and communities lending a hand when we see someone in need.
We just had that experience a couple of weekends ago where our neighbors reached out and helped us. We had to have our horse put down, I refer to it in a previous post, Animals – Our Companions, Our Friends, and the burial service came the next day, Sunday, to pick up Jet’s body. When they drove down into our back yard with their large trailer and truck they got stuck in the snow. Every time they tried to drive it forward it would slide five feet further down the hill. At one time, they were only five feet from the gate of the corral with their tires spinning – going no where – only sliding sideways. They even burned up their electrical winch trying to get it out. My husband and the couple from the burial service were at their wits end. Then, like Knights of Shining Armor, our neighbor Vic walked over to offer his help with his truck, and our other neighbor on the other side, Roger, came over to see what he could do. With trucks hooked up to each other with towing straps, the trailer got straightened out and then the truck followed but still had a long way to go to come up the hill and out. Roger and my husband were busy shoveling and spreading manure under the tires for traction while Vic was at the helm pulling with his truck and Jeff was orchestrating the course of action with his wife driving the burial truck. Foot-by-foot, as the trailer and truck were pulled up, they just couldn’t crest the top so my husband hooked his truck to Vic’s. It looked like a train of trucks and trailer. He started forward pulling and, as if all it needed was just that little extra horsepower, they all came out. It was a task that took 3 hours.
Jeff was impressed at how our neighbors came to lend a hand. He said something like, “In a small town, you’re more likely to see help like this but it had been a long time since I had seen it.” “Now, down in the big city, most people would just look out their windows and watch and then go on about their business.” I think it made him feel good to be a part of something special that was happening.
It was a difficult day for my husband and I having lost an animal companion of 20+ years and the suddenness of it. Yes, people all over, even in the big city, are there to reach out and throw you a lifeline or, like the Starfish, throw you back in the water. Everyone one of you matters and is worth whatever it takes to bring you the help you need. Just like a previous post I wrote, Entertaining Angels Unawares you never know what angels will show up just when you need them. It may be a compassionate vet like we had for Jet or a gathering of neighbors to come to your aid.
I am thankful for those that came to our aid that weekend and like the stranger with the Starfish I’ll do my best to be there when it’s my turn to help someone. It mattered to us and I know it matters to you.
From the kitchen table - Pat
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