In Loving Memory

  • Remembering my beloved child, Austin, who passed away at the early age of 14. He lived more in those 14 short years than most and is an inspiration to us all.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

the starfish

The Starfish

Once upon a time there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work. One day he was walking along the shore. As he looked down the beach, he saw a human figure moving like a dancer.

He smiled to himself to think of someone who would dance to the day and began to walk faster to catch up. As he got closer, he saw that it was a young man and the young man wasn't dancing, but instead he was reaching down to the shore, picking up something and very gently throwing it into the ocean.

As he got closer he called out, "Good morning! What are you doing?"

The young man paused, looked up and replied, "Throwing starfish in the ocean."

"I guess I should have asked, why are you throwing starfish in the ocean?"

"The sun is up and the tide is going out. And if I don't throw them in they'll die."

"But, young man, don't you realize that there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it. You can't possibly make a difference!"

The young man listened politely, then bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves and said-

"It made a difference for that one."


I have always enjoyed this story and have used it in classes, as part of a volunteer thank you, etc. For some reason, I was reminded of the story today and how it captures a large part

of who Austin was.

Austin was with us only 14 short years but he made such a difference to so many in that time. And like the boy in the story, there wasn’t one specific amazing accomplishment he made. He didn’t receive any awards, wasn’t made famous by his acts of kindness, but he did make a difference. Austin made this world a better place and to the people he touched,

it was special and amazing.

We all have that gift. Each of us can make a difference every day. It doesn’t have to be tremendous; it doesn’t even have to be something everyone knows about.

The every day, sometimes anonymous acts, Austin gave the world are the ones I hear from others that meant the most.

Find your starfish – and throw it in for Austin.

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