If I know you, and you're reading this blog, you have two choices:

1) Feel free to pretend you haven't, should the contents be offensive, sensitive in nature, or just TMI (Too Much Information).
2) Comment freely or talk to me face to face, and be prepared for further honesty and opinions.

Okay? Okay.

Sep 13, 2007


I confess that I don't watch the news or get a newspaper. I am generally woefully behind on current events- by choice. Anything I see is through my home page news, occasional headlines, or NPR.

Politics discourage me. The war depresses me. All the horrible and negative stories of rape and murder bring me down. The agenda of fear based news and threats is frustrating.

With all that said, this morning I heard about this soldier on NPR. what struck me about this story is not that he left a family, wife and child behind, but that he had tried to become a US citizen through the military channels. After serving FOUR tours, his US citizenship was not complete. And now, now, the military is trying to get it done posthumously. ????? Then there is the piece about how his family sent him t-shirts and underwear because he couldn't get any through the military... ????? WTF?

Have you heard this story?
Keep in mind, this story is happening now, not 50 years ago. Not that, that would make it any better...

I'll keep trying in my little corner of the world- one starfish at a time, right?

The Star Thrower Story by Joel Barker

There's a story I would like to share with you. It was inspired by the writing of Loren Eiseley. Eiseley was a very special person because he combined the best of two cultures. He was a scientist and a poet. And from those two perspectives he wrote insightfully and beautifully about the world and our role in it.

Once upon a time, there was a wise man, much like Eiseley himself, 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 he was walking along the shore. As he looked down the beach, he saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself to think of someone who would dance to the day. So he began to walk faster to catch up. As he got closer, he saw that it was a young man and the young man wasn't dancing, but instead he was reaching down to the shore, picking up something and very gently throwing it into the ocean.

As he got closer, he called out, "Good morning! What are you doing?" The young man paused, looked up and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean."

"I guess I should have asked, Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?"

"The sun is up and the tide is going out. And if I don't throw them in they'll die."

"But young man, don't you realize that there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it. You can't possibly make a difference!"

The young man listened politely. Then bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves. "It made a difference for that one!"

His response surprised the man. He was upset. He didn't know how to reply. So instead, he turned away and walked back to the cottage to begin his writings.

All day long as he wrote, the image of the young man haunted him. He tried to ignore it, but the vision persisted. Finally, late in the afternoon he realized that he the scientist, he the poet, had missed out on the essential nature of the young man's actions. Because he realized that what the young man was doing was choosing not to be an observer in the universe and make a difference. He was embarrassed.

That night he went to bed troubled. When the morning came he awoke knowing that he had to do something. So he got up, put on his clothes, went to the beach and found the young man. And with him he spent the rest of the morning throwing starfish into the ocean. You see, what that young man's actions represent is something that is special in each and everyone of us. We have all been gifted with the ability to make a difference. And if we can, like that young man, become aware of that gift, we gain through the strength of our vision the power to shape the future.

And that is your challenge. And that is my challenge. We must each find our starfish.

In other news, I'm sporting the lovely odor of eau de tuna and grass today, for after mowing the front and back lawns with a baby on my hip or shoulder for most of the time, I made tuna for lunch, for the kids (they love it, I don't) and while squeezing out the water it's packed in, I managed to squirt it all over myself.
Lovely, Eh?


the individual voice said...

That NPR story is the perfect example of our country's hypocrisy in fighting another country's civil war when we don't even have our own civil rights issues together. That is so sad and sickening. And the starfish story is beautiful. I'm a renegade Jew who doesn't attend services and today is the first day of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year (though I did at least post about it, along with Ramadan, yesterday). I will think of your story as my Rosh Hashanah Sermon. Lovely!

elena jane said...

my uncle was drafted and served in the US military in the 1950s, he was not an american citizen and had to go thru all the usual stuff to become one years later.

and i heard that NPR story on the jena six as well. sadly, it reminded me of the case of gary tyler....

Tricia said...

I'm a recovering Catholic myself... The starfish story is one I've heard many times. It is a good one to remember.