Have you heard the story about the little boy who was walking along the beach with his grandfather and noticed all the starfish that had washed up on shore when the tide came in? He knew that they were going to die if they stayed there and dried out, so he began picking them up and flinging them back into the sea as he was walking along.
The grandfather asked him what he was doing, and he told him that he was helping them get back to their homes. He tried to give the youngster a dose of reality saying, "What difference will it make? You can't save them all."
As he threw one back he said, "It makes a difference to this one."
I admit that I get overwhelmed. There are so many causes out there. So many people who need our help. Does helping just one make any difference? Well, to that one it does (This makes me think of the excellent model that Compassion International Child Sponsorship uses to pair a specific child with a specific donor).
Last month, Terry and I heard Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy speak at a benefit dinner for the Star of Hope homeless shelter. They were hilarious. They were opinionated. They poked fun at each other and at themselves.
They used that story as an illustration, and Leigh Anne shared how she subscribes to the popcorn theory. No, we can't help everyone. We don't even KNOW everyone's needs. But we can help those who pop right up into our face, like a popcorn kernel right out of the pan.
Now that does make sense. Act on what is flying in your face. It might be large, like a sizable cash donation to someone in need, or it could be small, like giving someone a ride who doesn't have a car. We can all do that.
The Tuohy's left everyone with the impression that we can all help others, and that we should all be helping others more than we are.
In a Heartbeat: Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving and also my review of The Blind Side (No, I had never seen it! If you check out my review, you'll see why).