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One Starfish

    A young person asked me the other day, "How does a person make a difference in this world when its problems are so vast and overwhelming?" Hearing his question reminded me of the story of the old man on the beach. One day a young man saw an older man walking along the beach picking up one stranded starfish after another and throwing them back into the sea. When the young man asked the old man why he was doing this the old man replied that the starfish would die in the morning sun if left on the beach. The young man told him that millions of starfish die on thousands of beaches everyday and what he was doing made no difference at all. The old man only smiled as he threw another small starfish into the safety of the sea. "It makes a difference to this one", he said.

    Perhaps that is the only way any of us can make a difference in this world: one starfish at a time. The problems of this world are too vast and overwhelming for any one person to make a difference alone. If just one person saves just one starfish, however, then this world has become a better place. If just one person makes just one person smile, laugh, or feel loved then this world has grown in joy. If just one person sponsors a poor child, visits a nursing home, or cheers up a sick person in a hospital then this world has increased in love. If just one person plants a tree, picks up some garbage off the ground, or takes in a stray pet then this world has become a bit more like Heaven.

    God doesn't expect us to change the world alone. God only asks us to brighten a small corner of it by choosing love and joy and sharing it with everyone we meet. One day with God's help this world will be changed, but it will be changed one heart, one soul, and one starfish at a time.

    � Joseph J. Mazzella