Innisfree Spirit Ministry

Innisfree Moment Archive

April 2017

On Making a Difference

On Making a Difference

While clearing some paperwork recently, I uncovered the above illustration that was part of a series of workshop overheads for my textbook on bringing dreams to reality (Only When I've Done It Will I Not Have To Do It). Depicting the starfish story, part of an essay by Loren Eiseley (19071977), is an often told example of how we make a difference just by being who we are, and doing what we do.

Eiseley's essay tells of an older man walking along a beach that was littered with thousands of starfish that had been washed ashore by the high tide. As he walked he came upon a young boy who was eagerly throwing the starfish back into the ocean, one by one. Puzzled, he asked the boy what he was doing. The boy's simple answer was, "I'm saving these starfish, Sir", to which the man replied, "Son, there are thousands of starfish and only one of you. What difference can you make?" The boy picked up a starfish, gently tossed it into the water and turning to the man, said: "I made a difference to that one!"

A young person also making a difference, in headline news this month, is 19 year-old Malala Yousafzai, the youngest person to receive an Honorary Canadian Citizen Award, and the youngest Nobel Peace Prize co-winner. A few days ago I was moved beyond words as I listened to her uplifting and inspirational address to Parliament, where she received thunderous applause and numerous standing ovations. Read the CBC story

The above are two examples of young people making a difference. Yet, don't we also know people of all ages, from pre-teens to their nineties and beyond, inspiring us by who they are and what they do with their messages, their music? The Starfish story, in its simplicity, is a reminder that we don't need to accomplish 'great and noble' tasks to make a difference. Do you, as I do at times, question whether you are being enough, doing enough, accomplishing enough? Let's recall the words of that indomitable human spirit, deaf-blind Helen Keller (1880-1968): "I long to accomplish great and noble tasks, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble!" At times a 'great and noble' task requires us to step back, take time out to reflect, before barreling down the next path. It may mean smiling at a passer-by, listening open-minded to another, being content with who we are, or it may mean putting work clothes on our dreams (another of my textbook overheads). Clearing out is great therapy - and how I rediscovered my past workshop handouts - along with the incentive of the RCMP shredding truck coming shortly to my area!

Please know with me that being of service, to ourselves or others, often begins with the smallest step in kindness, and kindness always makes a difference. When in limbo or feeling stuck for answers, I find music is not only a great balancer but a huge inspiration. Mid-way through this writing, I listened to the music of André Rieu's Strauss Orchestra on YouTube: (André Rieu in Semperopernball 2017), seeing the joy on the faces of the audience while listening to the lilting music. I first discovered this orchestra on Public Television when it was much smaller ... and its magic remains!

I wish you a beautiful Springtime as we welcome the return of blossoms. May you continue to be inspired by the magic of whatever warms your heart, and may you always remember that you are a beautiful gift, making a difference in your world, just by being who you are, and doing what you do. Until next time ... Namasté!

Dorothy B.
Dorothy B.

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Rev. Dorothy Blandford, Ph.D
Apt. 202 - 1655 Martin Drive
Surrey, BC, V4A 6E1, Canada