Sunday Sermon [Picking Up the Pieces]

Hola mi Gente,

So, who wants to be a billionaire? LOL Just in case you haven’t noticed, there’s a Powerball Lottery now worth $1.5 billion. Of course, the chances of any one of us winning that nice sum is about 300 million in one, but that’s not stopping anybody (including yours truly) from buying a ticket or two. I call it a poor tax because only people without wealth actually play these games (and never win). What would I do if I won, you ask? Well, you didn’t ask but my first act would be to set up a substantial  endowment for people and organizations who are challenging the dangerous concept of punishment as justice and fighting to abolish prisons. Really.

I use variations of the following in some of my talks…

* * *

Starfish_ 004

The Starfish Story


Early one morning a man was walking along the beach, watching the ocean waves breaking on the shore, and he saw a most unusual thing. He saw that the beach was littered with thousands of starfish that had been washed up on shore and were dying in the sun. Far down the beach in the distance, he could see a young woman picking up starfish and throwing them back in the ocean, one at a time.

When he was close enough to her to be heard above the waves the man said, “You’re wasting your time. There are thousands of starfish here. You can’t possibly make any difference.” The young woman reached down, picked up a starfish, and threw it as far as she could, back into the sea. “I made a difference to that one,” she said, and she reached down to pick up another.

* * *

The message and implication of the story is clear — all our actions reverberate, making an indelible impact, however small, in the fabric of our shared lives. But I also use this story to illustrate another, more personal, but equally important point.

Those of us who are fortunate enough to awaken only to find the wreckage of our past are often faced with the task of attempting to pick up the pieces. It may seem like an impossible challenge. Like the seashore littered with all those thousands of starfish, it may seem to us that nothing we do will make a difference. But as in the story, the point is to make the commitment to pick up the pieces. Every little action you take, one day at a time — sometimes one breath at a time — makes all the difference. The point isn’t found in perfection, it is uncovered in the practice.

One by one, you pick up the pieces… Over there, the pieces of your shattered heart, by that rock, the shards of your mind, there, blowing in the wind, your withered soul. You pick them up one by one, lovingly, with compassion, and you give them sustenance and one day you awaken and you realize you are more whole, more balanced, and you will feel in your heart of hearts how far you have journeyed.

And in that way the reverberations you send out leave an indelible mark on the fabric of all that is connected and bring back to life all the dead zones within you.

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…


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