Are You Feeling Paralyzed?
By Janet Stobie
This morning, I once again encountered the familiar story of the young girl walking along a beach, methodically tossing back into the ocean the starfish stranded in her path. “Why bother?” another beach walker challenged. “There are thousands of starfish washed up on this beach. You can’t save them all.”
“True,” the young girl replied. Then, she picked up and returned another starfish to the ocean. “But I did save that one.”
Faced by the ocean of need that washes over us every day, many of us feel paralysed. We believe that we can’t make a difference. Of course, some of us respond to relief efforts after natural disasters, or to a chosen charity. That is good, but for me, the starfish story talks about letting of go of our paralysis and cultivating a lifestyle of sharing. It’s the lesson our parents and teachers taught us about sharing our toys, so that our home and the playground could be a peaceful place.
We can’t all be Mother Theresa, but every day, we can all make a huge difference for individuals in this world. We know about supporting our local food bank every time we buy our groceries. We give weekly when we’re at church. We donate our used clothing at thrift shops. During our move, I discovered another way to share.
Instead of holding a yard sale to get rid of our unwanted items, Tom took our stuff to the Reuse Centres, one on Erskine St. near Lansdowne Shopping Centre in Peterborough, another on Mary St., W. in Lindsay. The proceeds of what they resell supports Habitat for Humanity. This organization helps build houses co-operatively with those who need homes around the world.
A life of sharing means that we are the quiet people who respond when leaders like Craig Kielburger start a new initiative and need donations. Without the quiet responders, the Terry Fox Run would not be a success. Without the quiet responders, our local food banks would have no food.
Remember, we really aren’t paralyzed. We can cultivate a lifestyle of sharing our abundance. Opportunities abound around us. Just choose one. Each one of us can be the young girl and save yet another starfish.
“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7