I sometimes forget that if we are not famous or wealthy, we don’t contribute much to others and to society. Sometimes, dementia can make one feel useless and not able to make a difference to others. Sometimes caregivers begin to feel helpless and weary when they don’t see positive results. This reminded me that if we can make a difference to just one person, we are certainly blessed.
It’s funny how I forgot this. In the medical profession, it is well known that treating individuals with substance abuse and addictive problems can be quite difficult at best. While many substance abuse providers get discouraged, I always was happy if I could reach just one person and help them to get their life ‘clean’ and become productive once again.
I feel much better after reading this little story. I hope you do too!
Just One Can Make a Difference
As a man walked a desolate beach one cold, gray morning he began to see another figure, far in the distance. Slowly the two approached each other and he could make out a local native who kept leaning down, picking something up and throwing it out into the water.
Time and again he hurled things into the ocean. As the distance between them continued to narrow, the man could see that the native was picking up starfish that had been washed upon the beach and one at a time, was throwing them back into the water.
Puzzled, the man approached the native and asked what he was doing. “I’m throwing these starfish back into the ocean. You see, it’s low tide right now and all of these starfish have been washed up onto the shore. If I don’t throw them back into the sea, they’ll die up here from lack of oxygen.” “But there must be thousands of starfish on this beach,” the man replied. “You can’t possibly get to all of them. There are just too many. And this same thing is probably happening on hundreds of beaches all up and down this coast. Can’t you see that you can’t possibly make a difference?” The local native smiled, bent down and picked up another starfish, and as he threw it back into the sea he replied, “Made a difference to that one!”
Each of us is but one person: limited, burdened with our own cares and responsibilities. We may feel there is so much to be done, and we have so little to give. We’re usually short of everything, especially time and money.
When we leave this shore, there will still be millions of starfish stranded on the beach. Maybe we can’t change the whole world, but there isn’t one of us who can’t help change one person’s whole world. One at a time. We can make a difference.
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Filed under: Caregivers for Individuals with Dementia, Dementia, Lewy Body Dementia | Tagged: beach, difference, starfish | 3 Comments »