Buddy is our very blessed Beta fish. He was a sort of gag gift from our neighbors two Christmases ago. Since Scott had poor luck fishing that year, they decided he deserved at least one fish to take home. We had a good laugh and happily brought Buddy the Beta fish home. I am pretty sure everyone thought Buddy would be a fairly temporary addition to our family. I even envisioned the day Buddy would need a “burial at sea” and totally intended to invite the fore mentioned neighbors. But a funny thing happened on the way to the toilet bowl…I fell in love with my little finned friend.
Soon his perfectly adequate vase/bowl was replaced by a much fancier bowl, a unique and beautiful molten glass bowl formed onto a piece of drift wood. My husband still shakes his head at the thought of this $5 fish living in a “slightly” more than $5 bowl! Buddy sits in his home near my kitchen sink and we have a special bond.
It is a little shocking that he has survived his second Christmas. I do not know how old Buddy is, nor do I know how long Bets fish live. The fact that he is still alive is only surprising because I know how often his little life was in peril.
In the short time we have been together, Buddy has experienced episodes of overfeeding, forgotten feedings and neglected bowl cleanings. Perhaps the most concerning are the times Buddy has had out of water adventures. In my defense, Buddy is less than cooperative when it is time to move him to a holding bowl so I can clean his home. This has resulted in a few flops into the sink. Normally I can scoop him up and quickly redeposit him into the dish…usually. There was this one time when I forgot to put the sink strainer in…it ended okay, but I am sure being wedged between the rubber flaps which cover the entrance to the garbage disposal took a toll on him. That is why I find myself periodically checking on his movement.
Beta fish actually sleep or rest throughout the day. There are many times I find Buddy listing lifelessly at the bottom of his bowl. The other night Scott mentioned he saw Buddy at the top of his bowl. “Is he floating or swimming?” I asked. I think this a good life question in general, and not just for fish. I tapped on the glass and was relieved when he startled into activity. I doubt he appreciated the disruption, but a response to the “floating or swimming” question needed to be provoked.
Last year I had what I referred to as a “cage rattling” season, it was(and still is I suppose) a time when the complexity of life overwhelmed me. I was simply floating through life. I had stopped paying attention to so many things. Things such as my faith journey, my relationships, God’s call on my life, goals I had once sought and even my health. Then TAP TAP…sure enough, just as Buddy fluttered into a fin frenzy, I too found myself thrown face down in prayer, heart racing in response to some emotional chaos and suddenly once again VERY aware of my God, His grace and mercy. God had my FULL attention.
This morning, as I once again tapped on Buddy’s bowl to determine his “floating vs swimming” status, I was mindful of my own status. Am I busy doing what God has called me to do? Have I stepped forward in my journey? Am I floating through a time in life that cries out for intentionality? Am I praising Him all things?
Let’s not get caught floating. It is time to put on the water wings of faith and hope and SWIM!
For Thou art my hope; O Lord God, Thou art my confidence from my youth. But as for me, I will hope continually, and will praise Thee yet more and more. Psalm 71:5