Lupus Alae

Spiritflights, fledgling and ancient


Wearing philosophies, and starfish

Everything we wear, everything we choose for ourselves in life, makes a statement. You can find -- or custom-order -- t-shirts screaming just about anything in thick, bold colors. Political statements, tv show/brand loyalty, you name it, you can find it out there. The cut of a man's suit, our footwear selections, even our jewelry can all add levels to the picture we draw for the world of who we are.

On the inexpensive chain of my favorite necklace, a small blue starfish charm hangs, along with a simple hammered oval with the words "It matters to that one" in black. People often ask me what it means.

It's a philosophy. To understand, you would have to be familiar with the Starfish Story, paraphrased here (originally by Loren Eiseley):

A wise man used to rise early in the morning and walk along the beach to gather his thoughts. One morning, while he was strolling by the edge of the ocean, he noticed a far-off figure repeating some strange movements. A dancer, perhaps? he mused.

As he drew closer, he could see that the figure was that of a young man who kept bending down to pick something up. Over and over again, he threw what he found into the sea.

"Pray, friend," called the wise man, "What are you doing?"

"I'm throwing starfish back into the water," replied the young man. "The tide washed them ashore and if I don't throw them back, they'll die."

The wise man shook his head and said, "But there are miles and miles of beach, and tens of thousands of starfish! You cannot possibly save them all -- don't you see? What you do doesn't matter!"

The young man simply smiled, bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it with all his might into the water.

"It mattered to that one."

I wear a starfish to remind me that what I do matters. I cannot save every aching soul I come across, as much as I wish I could. But that doesn't mean that what I do isn't important. Every time we lend a shoulder or a hand, even if our efforts feel like so little in a hurting world, we should all remember: It matters to that one.


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