THE BLOG
08/19/2014 12:57 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Sandcastles, Starfish and Redemption

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This is a story about sandcastles, starfish, and redemption. I'm telling it to you because I was just back at the east coast and we all know that the coastline of the east is the quintessential place for sandcastles and starfish. This trip for me as well as the stories below highlights part of what life is and what redemption means, and somehow it all seems to fit together to make this blog, "Sandcastles, Starfish and Redemption."

Sandcastle stories are forever. Building sandcastles means happiness. Wherever there are sandcastles there seems to be kids, families, friends and sometimes strangers too. When one person is building a sandcastle people always join in and then it becomes and looks like what I think is an open setting of grace.

We make the sandcastles with all of our hearts and we giggle and laugh when they get washed away but deep down inside it takes our breath away to see everything carried back to where it first started and yet we always build them again probably because the memory of joy is huge. For sure though, we keep building castles out of nothing but sand almost like we keep building dreams out of what seems to be impossible.

And then there's the classic starfish story that goes something like this...there's a really big storm with dark clouds, lots of rain and also thunder and lighting. After the storm passes there's a million starfish that are washed up onto the beach and there's a man that just stands there overwhelmed as he watches, a little boy appears and in all of his innocence starts picking up the starfish and throwing them back into the water and the man says to the little boy "it's too late and there's too many of them there's no way we can save them all it's too late" the little boy looks at the man as he throws a starfish back into the sea and says "it's not too late for this one."

And this is the story about a crisis point that no one saw coming and a time restraint that turned a family's world upside down. This story is about a 19 year old high school student and a graduation day that twisted into a month of police visits, hospital holds, blind faith, prayer and mostly about humility and saying yes to the help that was offered because it was motivated by love. When drugs and alcohol enters into kids and families lives, like it did this one, usually I think nothing good can come of it. As we watched it seemed against all odds but the endurance of this family was tremendous.

Their tenacity was extraordinary and most of all their faith of heart was profound. They could've turned away but instead they kept trying and what we saw were miracles happen for them when everyone said they never would. The miracle is still happening now that everything is working out, everyone is alive, and thankfully this family is on a new pathway of life together with a wish to be drug and alcohol free.

Maybe the family got this miracle because they believed in sandcastles and starfish and redemption without even knowing. Maybe they knew about trying and trying and trying again with heart no matter what.

Redemption may be as pure and simple as trying and trying again. Maybe for parents it's just about getting the lesson it's not holding on to what went wrong or what could've been but how to look forward and how to wish big. And maybe for the child it's about giving the parent that chance and knowing deep down inside that you're both each others teachers. The tables are always turning parents teach kids and if they're smart they let they're kids teach them back while always still staying the parent and maybe that's redemption. Being humble enough to know that we're all in this together, that we all have something to give and we all have something to learn.

"90 percent of addictions start in the teen years." -- According to a 2014 statistic citing on the Partnership for Drug Free America.

On the lighter side of life we never know why stories go one way or the other but what we do know is that the general prevention education factor is starting younger and younger. Kudos to the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District and a principle there for opening the door to the possibility of Angels at Risk story telling curriculum at this elementary school level this year for parents and kids. That in fact is act of our community's academic and social redemption too.

One thing for sure is we can make up for our humanness by doing redeemable acts of kindness and love, acts that are sometimes small sometimes big and sometimes life long.

There's a million stories who's morals are located and found in the simple stories and fables like sandcastles and starfish and families who get miracles when drugs and alcohol has set in. Nature is divine, it's basic and it teaches us in the very beginning all about our moral compasses and about our human basics in the gentlest of ways. Nature in our soul is our general locator for truth. Everything is right in front of us from the very start in our hearts. I think remembering the beauty in the sandcastles, the starfish story and the family being saved is honestly what life is all about. It's what saves the day for all of us.

In saying goodbye to the summer time of 2014 where sandcastles ruled and starfish were everywhere I guess for whatever reason redemption is up.

This blog is dedicated to my father who taught me how to build sandcastles, introduced me to the waters and the oceans where the starfish lived, and he shows me through his life what redemption means.

By Susie Spain, Founder