Friday, April 24, 2009


You've probably heard the story about the guy tossing starfish after starfish* into the ocean. (You may have also seen Isabella Rossellini's starfish story -- a dramatization of starfish reproduction, with its interesting final seven words -- but that is definitely not the focus of this reflection.)

I'm talking about the concept of "made a difference to that one" -- the idea that, although we may not change the world, we can have a small impact (a micro-impact, if you will) on one individual which, even if it doesn't cause world-changing ripples, can at least be significant in that one individual's life. Similarly, the intentional choice to engage in positive micro-impact necessarily changes us, thereby making the world better.

What if everyone in the entire world -- almost 7 billion of us, at last count -- made the commitment to make the extra 5% effort to think outside ourselves? Heck, even 1% more effort to think outside ourselves and make a positive, but small, impact would make a difference. What do you think could happen? What do you think would happen? What do you think WILL happen? WHAT IS ALREADY HAPPENING?

I've been thinking a lot about how little things can make a big difference, and I'm convinced that giving -- even in a small, micro-impact way -- has a lasting influence on both the giver and the receiver.

I've said before that I think our purpose as humans is to be tiny mirrors, reflecting the light of God's love to one another. But even if you take the theological implications out of it, the reality is that when you show love to another person (by whatever means, small or large, through time or money or listening or leading), some of that love is going to rub off on you.

And that's the biggest micro-impact of all.

* Could you tell I used "starfish after starfish" because I don't know what the plural of "starfish" is?

1 comment:

shouldhavezagged said...

What goes around comes around, my friend. That's what I believe.

Also, the plural of starfish is starfish...although I'm sure no one would fault you for using "starfishes" for clarity. Okay, someone might fault you, but he/she would not be focusing on the right thing if that's the worry.