My Leap List

Friday, July 4, 2014

It Matters to that One

     Earlier this week I gave the women I work with a handblown glass starfish with a copy of the starfish poem.  I wanted them to know that even though we beat ourselves up for not being able to save everyone, that it matters to each of the ones we save.  Today I learned that lesson myself.
     Last week a teenage boy made a big mistake.  Today he was caught.  It could have gone down in the typical way - police, charges, firing.  Instead it ended with me spending hours talking to him about all of the things going on in his life.  So much pressure on someone so young.  His story reminded me of myself as a younger teenage girl.  He almost killed himself a few months ago and we were worried this would be his last straw.  Hard choices and difficult phone calls to make.  While we waited, I talked to him about my life and where I had been.  I told him about Mandy and where she had been and where we are both headed now.  We talked about his family, his plans, and the tough parts of life that I haven't ever had to do.  It took up all my last day and I didn't get a chance to say goodbye to anyone or do anything I meant to do.  But none of it matters because people always come first.  No matter what.
      I probably won't see him again, but I hope that he finds peace and love and success and all the good things that life has to offer when you get out of the darkness.  I hope that my words and love made a difference for him today.  I hope they keep him safe and lend a glimmer of light to show him the way home.  It matters to that one, even if I am the one.
 If you haven't read the poem, you are in for a treat.

Starfish Poem
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, 
"It made a difference for that one.” 
― Loren Eiseley


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