The Lesson of the Starfish
One day a man was taking a sunrise walk along a beach. In the distance he caught sight of a young woman who seemed to be dancing along the waves. As he got closer he saw that the young woman was actually not dancing, but picking up starfish from the sand and tossing them gently back into the ocean.
"What are you doing?" the man asked.
"The sun is coming up and the tide is going out; if I don't throw them in, they'll die."
"But young woman, there are miles and miles of beach with starfish all along it--you can't possibly make a difference."
The young woman bent down, picked up another starfish, and placed it lovingly back into the ocean, past the breaking waves.
"It made a difference for that one," she replied.
I understand the feeling of the man at the overwhelming number of starfish dying on the beaches. I feel the same way when I see the rows and rows of kennels at the shelters and the dogs and cats I see on the streets and chained in backyards. How will we ever really make a difference?
But I also understand the dedication and the hope in the young woman. Every life is worth saving, even in the midst of others that aren't saved. For every pet we can save, we make a difference in for that one, and for the people who share that life.
I must be honest. Lately, I have been overwhelmed by the number of lives we need to save here in Atlanta. But I hold on tight to the hope that we are making a difference. I have to believe that with every life we save, we make our community a kinder place, a place where every pet matters.
I share this story with you today for my own reminder as much as for you. I invite you to join me on this sometimes difficult and painful, yet always meaningful, walk along the beach. We may have many miles of beaches to walk, but there are starfish to save with every step.