Lessons Learned from Walks on the Beach

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by Mary Ellis

Do you remember the age-old story about the starfish? As told to me as a child, a young girl was walking along the beach with her grandfather when they Mary Ellis Starfishhappened upon thousands of starfish left behind with the tide. When Grandpa picked up one to fling back into the waves, the girl did the same. One by one another they returned the creatures to the sea before the scorching summer sun killed them. After a while the child peered up and wailed, “This is hopeless! There’re only two of us and thousands of them. What difference can we make?”

The sage grandfather pulled another starfish from the sand, its glistening surface almost completely dry, and flung it as far as he could into the surf. “You’re right. We can’t save them all, but I’m sure we made a difference to that one.”

That story has stayed with me my entire life, the concept returning in various applications: I recycle my water bottle instead of adding to a receptacle overflowing with plastic. I attempt to purchase green cleaning supplies and recycled paper products despite the plethora on the shelves. Americans are continually challenged to do the right thing ecologically…or as Christians. In the modern world it’s tough to walk the narrow path with every thought, word, and deed. How about the Bible’s command to introduce the saving power of Christ to non-believers? With the world’s population only thirty-three percent Christian, how can a humble fiction writer from Ohio have any impact whatsoever? But perhaps like the starfish dying in the sand, it might make all the difference in the world to the few I do reach. Each journey must begin with a single step, whether we’re reducing waste, helping the sick, or introducing a friend or neighbor to a life-changing relationship with our Lord.

Magnolia MoonlightMary Ellis has written twenty novels. Her latest, Magnolia Moonlight, is part of a mystery series, Secrets of the South. Before “retiring” to write full-time, Mary taught middle school and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate. She enjoys gardening, bicycling and swimming, and lives in Ohio with her husband, dog and cat. The next in the series, Sunset in Old Savannah, will release in early 2017. Visit Mary on her website at www.maryellis.net or on Facebook.

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