Wednesday, September 24, 2008


NorthStar Youth Ministries is next to the McCoy church which now houses adult day care. Often when I pull in to the alley behind the church, the parking lot is full of these adults waiting for the van ride home.

One gentleman, not very much older than I am, paces restlessly and quickly but with an odd rocking gate. He circles endlessly down the parking lot and back up the alley and around again. As he walks, he seems to be mumbling to himself and making repetitive motions with his hands that remind me of conducting or even playing an instrument. The day I sat in the parking lot contemplating Diamond's situation, I watched him go by many times, his neck glistening with perspiration below his fringe of white hair.

It doesn't matter how carefully we all plan for our future. Any one of us might end up pacing endlessly in circles. The IRA and the nice home full of stuff mean nothing to this man. Perhaps his years of hard work have allowed him to pay for good adult day care, but I'm not sure he would know this or even care.

My mom has just retired in her mid-70's. She carefully planned her finances for many years. The recent financial crisis has had a significant impact on her and I'm sure worries her deeply.

For me, it's much more important that I make a difference while I can than to be prudent and cautious in the expectation that this will ensure my happiness in the future. The only moment we can be certain of is this one right now. Our only chance to live is now. The past is gone and the future is not going to be what we plan for, no matter how careful we are. And there are children to help in this moment, so I will help them.

From BellaOnline:

The Starfish Story
adapted from The Star Thrower
by Loren Eiseley
1907 - 1977

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, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"

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

"I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die."

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, "I made a difference to that one!"

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