Tiny Steps Add Up

People say, “What is the sense of our small effort?” They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time–. Dorothy Day

I think the great social activist Dorothy Day meant this in the context of changing the world. It reminds me of the story of an old man in Mexico, at a beach where a storm has left thousands of starfish stranded above high tide where they will die without help. He is patiently picking them up one at a time and throwing them into the water. A younger man says “why bother, look how many of them there are, how can you possibly make a difference?” The old man picks up a starfish, throws it in the water, and replies “I made a difference to that one”.

But our “small effort” can also refer to changing ourselves. Though breaking bad habits or past conditioning can seem a daunting task, enough baby steps will eventually add up.