Zuzu’s Petals, a Washed-up Starfish, and Making a Difference
A child was walking along a beach when he saw a starfish washed-up on the sand. The child picked-up the starfish and threw it back into the sea. An adult witnessed what the child had done. He told the child, “There are hundreds of starfish washed-up on this beach. What difference did it make to throw one back into the sea?” The child replied, “It made a difference to that one.”
The child intuitively knew the meaning of Christ’s parable about the Good Shepherd, leaving the flock of 99, to search for the one, lost sheep. The child understood Emerson’s verse about “Success”; “To know, that even one life breathed easier, because you lived.” The child taught the adult the lesson, “Not to forsake the good, in search of the perfect.”
In this complex world of Global Economy, diverse constituencies, and absence of shared values, it seems impossible for one person to make a difference. Yet, “Zu Zu’s Petals” prove otherwise.
The Above YouTube Music Video captures the Essence of this Blog Post to Make “Even One Life Breathe Easier”.
My friend was having a delectable cup of Hazelnut coffee at Panera with a mutual friend. Toward the end of their discussion that morning, our mutual friend made a startling admission. He wondered if his life had any value, any meaning.
He reminded my friend of the character, George Baily, in the movie, “It’s a Wonderful life.” The George Bailey character was overwhelmed by personal financial problems and mused if it would be better that he were never born. After seeing what life would be like in his absence, Gorge “wanted to live again”.
Finding “Zuzu’s Petals” in his pocket assured George that he was alive again, making other lives better.
Our mutual friend’s wife was suffering from a combination of mental and emotional issues. She demanded 24/7 attention from her husband. He was with her constantly, at home, on trips, everywhere. On those brief respites when he was gone over an hour, she would call him every ten minutes. He had no rest.
Those who knew him, marveled at his unselfish devotion. Yet, he questioned whether he could simply be replaced by a paid-in-home nursing service. So, he questioned whether his life had any value. My friend reassured him that his unselfish life significantly influenced other lives, in a life-changing way.
Other lives were truly transformed by our mutual friend’s love and devotion. They modeled his sincere attitude and acceptance. And those other transformed lives made other lives breathe easier. The value of his positive “Pay-It-Forward” paradigm (sharing his life, asking nothing in return) was incalculable.
To capture the essence of the moment, my friend tore off the corners of some paper table napkins. He handed these small paper fragments to our mutual friend saying, “These are your “Zuzu’s Petals”. Put them in your wallet. Whenever you are questioning the value of your life again, open your wallet, and pull out your “Zuzu’s Petals”. Look at them. Think of all the lives that breathe easier because you lived.”
The Above YouTube Music Video “Make Someone Happy” Captures the Essence of this Blog Post
The character, Jean Val Jean, in the book-movie-musical “Les Misérables”, kept the silver candlesticks given to him by the kind, forgiving Bishop Myrielk, as his reminder of the life-changing love and forgiveness given to him, to be shared with others.
“Zuzu’s Petals”, torn napkin corners, or silver candlesticks are reminders of the child on the beach, throwing a washed-up star fish back into the sea: Each person’s suingular act of kindness makes a difference to someone.
SUCCESS: “To know that even One Life breathes easier because you have lived.” – Emerson