Caregivers often feel buried under the endless cycle of cleaning, feeding, and medicating their loved ones. They feel cut off from society, and when they hear or read about the amazing things others are doing in the “real world,” they feel as if their life has no meaning. Today I want to remind those caregivers that the success of each best-selling author depends on millions of individuals who purchase one book at a time. Fortune 500 companies reach mega-corporate status not from one huge sale but rather from the many individual end users who choose their products. In the same way, the world is not made a better, more loving place through massive governmental programs but rather by individuals who show love to others one at a time. The story of the starfish illustrates this point perfectly.
A young man was walking along the beach and saw thousands and thousands of starfish that had washed ashore. Further along
he saw an old man, walking slowly and stooping often, picking up one starfish after another and tossing each one gently into the
“Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?,” asked the young man.
“Because the sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them further in, they will die.”
“But, old man, don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it! You can’t possibly save them all, you can’t even save one-tenth of them. In fact, even if you work all day, your efforts won’t make any difference at all.”
The old man listened calmly, and then bent down to pick up another starfish. As he threw it into the sea, he smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one.”
Caregivers, remember as you clean and feed and medicate and love, that you are changing the world by meeting the needs of the one whose life you can make better.