This Lent I’ve been reading the book 40-Day Journey with Parker J. Palmer. Parker Palmer is a great spiritual thinker and leader. Each day there’s an excerpt from his writings as well as Biblical wisdom, questions to ponder, journal reflections, and prayers.
Palmer shared Loren Eiseley’s story of the star thrower in one day’s reflection. It’s a story I first heard years ago that’s been on my heart this Lent. So my retelling of this story is going to be this week’s thought.
Loren Eiseley was a well-known naturalist and spent time in the seaside town Costabel. Eiseley suffered from insomnia for much of his life, and he would spend early mornings walking the beach alone. Though at sunrise, as the world awakened, some of the townsfolk would also come to the beach. People came to find starfish that had washed ashore in the night. The starfish were sometimes dead. But those starfish that were still alive would be killed and used for local commerce. Eiseley observed the circle of life and the cold hard truth of the survival of the fittest.
However, one morning Eiseley was up early and walked along the beach only to discover that he was not alone. There was another person walking along the shore. This solitary figure was also focused on the starfish that had washed ashore in the night. But instead of killing the starfish that were still clinging to life the man would pick them up and hurl them as far as he could back into the sea, starfish after starfish. The man would throw those creatures back into the sustaining life-giving waters they had emerged from. Eiseley watched this all unfold before his eyes in the pre-dawn light, and he named this man “the star thrower.”
Sometimes we think that there’s nothing we can do to make a difference.
But to one person, or to one creature, you and I can make a world of difference.
Just look at the star thrower.
Photo by Pedro Lastra on Unsplash
Thursday Thoughts 3/2/23