Once there was a young girl sitting on the shore of a vast ocean. She was crying and looking out at the waves in despair. There were forlorn piles of sand around her that looked as though they had melted, the remnants of dreams and efforts unrealized.
A man came along the beach and saw the tear-stained face of the girl. He lifted the brim of her floppy beach hat to see her eyes and then said, “It’s hard to build a sandcastle in the surf, isn’t it? She was surprised to see her own sadness reflected in the twin mirrors of his eyes.
His empathy released her emotions like a flood dike had suddenly collapsed. She had been sitting there for hours trying to build her dream sand castle. She showed him the plans sketched childishly on her notebook page. She explained that each time she got a turret built, she would start on next one, only to have the surf come up and wash the turret away.
“Don’t despair,” the man said, “I’ve built a lot of sandcastles, but never in the surf.” He pulled out his phone and showed her the pictures of some of his best work. She laughed in delight at the magnificent sand creations he had made. “If you want your sand castle to last, you have to start with a good foundation.”
So they found a rocky spot nearby. It was much more work to haul sand and water in buckets up to the rocks, but working together made it fun. They mixed the sand and the water and built the castle turret by turret far away from the crashing waves. When they were finished, the castle was much finer than the drawing had been. The girl threw her arms around her new friend. “Thank you for saving my sand castle.” He replied, “That’s what I do.”