Monday, October 24, 2011

Marine Motivation



    Four tiny fish swim around and around in the square glass container with the purple rocks. It's a tiny tank but Rosemary, my sister and fish aficionado, told me that the four little bubblers would be fine in there. She told me not to expect my new pets to grow very much, though. Because of the confines of their new home, growth would apparently be limited. Fish grow according to what they perceive to be their boundaries. I looked at the gigantic goldfish gamboling in my Dad's pond. I teetered between feeling good about having rescued these four little blighters from a life of possible peril and feeling guilty that they would never get as big as the other poissons in the pond.

It all started with Dad's desire to have a backyard water garden of sorts. As I mentioned, my big sis' knows a lot about fish and setting up an outside pond. She had her own for years. So to make Big Poppa happy and to complete his landscaping request, she made him a terrific backyard pond. I was so impressed with her handiwork and how asthetically pleasing she created it to be.
Be Fruitful and do your Math!

Rosemary did such a fine job, though, that the environment was seemingly perfect for that age old command to Be Fruitful and Multiply. And multiply, they did. Over the summer we watched numerous hatchings happen. There were gold ones, white ones, black ones, black and white ones, black and gold ones, white, black and gold ones; you name it, the combinations were there. In the end there must have been at least a hundred extra pretty little finned critters vying for a spot in the pond.

And the answer is!
A decision had to be made. The original sixteen big boys (and obviously girls) would be crowded out if the junior swimmers stayed. There was only room for about 20 in the original pond, according to Rosemary's rulebook. So the others had to go. We started thinking about what to do with the extra goldfish. My daughter put her hand up and said she would take a dozen. I remembered a lovely square glass fishbowl that sat silent in my pantry, so I piped up and offered to take a few. The rest we decided, would go to JJ's pond. We all pretended not to think about all the stocked bass in Rosemary's son's pond. We didn't want to consider the possibility of the other 84 or so leftover critters being bass bait. We didn't dare tell that part to Dad. He would sooner make his pond bigger and save them all. But since that was not feasible, we described the vastness of JJ's pond and how happy the extra fish would be (as long as they were fast swimmers and knew how to hide!)

We did our duty and Rosemary and I lowered the motley crew destined for JJ's pond into the big Rubbermaid ® container with the holes poked in the top. I picked out four cuties for my bowl and my daughter saved her 12.


So now here I sit gazing into their square glass home. I like watching them swim around but I still feel a little guilty about taking them away from their spacious environment and not giving them an opportunity to 'lay low' in JJ's huge pond. At least there they might have grown and reached their potential size.

As I look at this gaily coloured marine quartet swimming around in their limited enviroment, call it odd, but I find myself comparing their existence to my own. Then I wonder if I have got myself into a bit of a fishbowl mentality in my writing life. Am I denying opportunities that God has placed right in front of my face? Do I need to talk less and listen more (to His still small voice?) Somedays I feel like I am doing nothing but going in circles. I have a million ideas swimming around in my head but it seems I get nowhere - fast. I know I have a lot of personal things happening but surely I can find significant time to expand my own fishbowl.

Maybe it's a good thing that I adopted my four fishies. Maybe it's a good thing that they are in a prominent place in my house to serve as a reminder. Maybe it's time I find ways to expand my own boundaries and make sure I am doing what God tells me to, rather than what I think. I am pretty sure God doesn't want me swimming around for too long in my self-imposed fishbowl. In fact, I'm having a little trouble navigating around. Time to get back to the drawing board and review my plan of action. Swim said the mamma fish, swim if you can...

1 comment:

storygal said...

Lovely fish bowl. We once had a large tank with many fish and one of those sucker critters that cleans up around the tank.

An apt analogy about limiting ourselves to a certain space. Something to think about.