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Published:June 28th, 2006 07:07 EST

The Garden of Change

By Anita Helton

Once there was a man walking along the beach. He saw thousands of starfish washed up on the shore and a little boy at the waters edge picking them up and throwing them back in the ocean. The man approached the little boy and told him not to waste his time, that he couldn’t possibly save them all and throwing a few back in would not make a difference. The little boy thought for a moment, then picked another one up and threw it in and said, “I made a difference to that one.”

If you have a garden you want it to be gorgeous and prosperous, it takes work to change your current area to the beautiful garden you imagine. If you only complain about not having flowers and never plant or water any, you are not making a difference.

In today’s society we get so wrapped up in the everyday hustle and bustle. We over schedule ourselves with work or school or other responsibilities and when we examine our lives many of us feel as though we haven’t accomplished a thing. The problem is that we focus so much on ourselves, and when things don’t go our way we complain, but rarely take steps to fix it. We need to recognize areas that need to be altered or changed for the better, and make an effort to make a difference where we can.

Recognizing a problem is easy; however, you need to be willing to fix it if you can. While it is a big step to make the decision to take action, making the decision is not enough. A woman once described this by telling of three frogs that were all sitting on a Lilly pad. She explained that one had decided to jump off and then asked how many were left. She then revealed the answer to be three. Just because the frog has decided to jump off does not mean it has actually done it yet. Ideas are a wonderful thing, but as my grandmother used to say: they are a dime a dozen. It is what you do with those ideas that make a difference. You will not accomplish anything unless you take action. Just as with a garden you will not have any flowers if you never plant them. You can talk about doing it, but until the seeds are actually in the ground and you water them, there is no way that you are going to have your land be prosperous.

Often, things that need changing are right in front of us and stand out... though change is not always easy. George Mathews once said, “If you have nothing else to do, look about you and see if there isn't something close at hand that you can improve! It may not make you wealthy, though it is more likely that it will make you happy.”

Many times, change is like weeding a garden. You have beautiful plants, but there are a lot of unnecessary extras that strangle what is beautiful. Even though, over time, we may adjust to the weeds being there, the garden is so much more beautiful without them. A few years ago, a church discovered this as they were renovating a picture. It had been covered with layers of dirt and grime, and they had decided to restore it. As the project began, the restorers were amazed. The colors of the pictures were so much more beautiful and vibrant than they imagined. This caused somewhat of a stir, as many had grown accustomed to the dimmer painting and did not want to continue restoring it. As the process had already begun, there were areas of both clean and unclean and it looked quite odd. They finally decided to restore the painting fully and everyone adjusted and were pleased. Just like the restoration of the painting, many changes may be difficult, and at first everyone might not agree. However, we must move forward and make a difference where we see it is needed and is for the good for the majority of those involved.

Finally, by recognizing the need for change, making the decision to make a difference and taking action on what we feel is important, we will be fulfilling a purpose. When you die, on your grave stone it will state they year you were born, have a dash and then have the year you became deceased. That little dash represents the entirety of our lives and we need to make the most of that dash. The solution-- take action, and be the change that you feel the world needs to have.

Just by planting in your garden you are bettering your property. Sure, it takes work to plant and water and tend to a garden; however, you have a beautiful product when you put that effort in. Although, some may tell you-- like the man on the beach told the little boy-- that you can’t make a difference... but you can. Every little bit you try to do can help. Be like the little boy and make a difference to at least one.