Lesson 1. Feed your fish
Due to all the life changes going on, I have found the little things to teach me significant truths. This post is the first of many lessons I've learned while being engaged, attending college, and splitting my life in the city and the suburbs. Some of these lessons may seem pretty musing, but I'm sure most of them will have some significant point. So, may be we begin. Lesson number one: Don't forget about your random college animals.
1. Feed your fish
While nannying this past Spring I decided to buy a fish for a few reasons: the beta was purple, the kids thought it was the coolest fish ever, I couldn’t have a kitty, and I wanted to name something "Princess Anna" due to Frozen fever. AKA, a list of unnecessary excuses to want a live thing in a dorm room.
Any way, a few months went by and every time I went into the grocery store, I mean every grocery store, I found that Chicago only seems to supply cat and dog food. Well, I guess cats are the most important animals after all, ignore the dog part. Due to the importance of cats, feeding my fish got put on the back side.
That poor fishy, poor princess Anna. The water level dropped, the tank got dirty, yet princess Anna lived on. I would walk in to my apartment after being gone for four days and cringe as I walked up to the fish tank and tap hoping to see signs of life. Then all of a sudden, there she was. Slightly hard to see through the murky water but she wasn’t floating. That fishy toughed it out every time.
Side note: Now don't think I'm an animal killer. In fact, I love animals very much. And my lack of feeding my fish really isn't the point of the story, so don't get horrified by the fish part and keep reading in order to get the point.
Thanks to an intelligent mother who told me to go to Target, (oh yeah! duuuhh), I was able to find some nourishment for Princess Anna. I was so anxious to feed my fishy that instead of what I thought was tapping on the can of food dumped in a pile of red-produced-nourishment-leafy-stuff that cover the whole top of the tank. My mom warned me that the fish would probably kill itself by over eating because it was starved. Heading her warning, I knew I had to get the Princess Anna out of there before she ate herself to obesity which would lead to death. I quickly went to the bathroom for a much over-do water change and life saving procedure.
Thus unfolded a catastrophic life event for Anna: getting her out of the tank. Honestly, I'm surprised that Princess Anna didn't die from simply the excitement of the water change because she's been sitting there so lifeless for so long. She had probably gotten very used to her circumstances and forgot what life was like, you know, a normal happy life of normal water and regular feeding. The fish was determined to stay in the nastry tank but I forced her into the white cup because I was only doing what was best. I'm pretty sure she thought her life was over after sitting in the white disposable cup for so long while I scrubbed the tank. But I was only doing what was needed to be done.
After the tank was entirely clean and her buddy Squirt-the-Statue was put back in place, Anna was able to leave the white surroundings and enter into what seemed like a whole new tank. The fishy that I thought may be dying from lack of food, poor water, and excitement of events all of a sudden began to dance around in clean water, and I imagine, singing beautiful songs. Even more, soon after she was transported to her spot in the living room she was given food. The right amount of food this time. Her dancing stopped and she slowly swam to the top of the tank, starring. In my mind Anna's reaction was a mini replication of the moment the Israelites received manna -- such bewilderment. She inched closer and closer to the food then mustered up the courage to take the smallest bite, then another, then the dancing began once again coupled by taking dives from the bottom of the tank to the top for another bite of heavenly food. Princess Anna had entered paradise.
What's the point of all of this mumble jumble, insignificant life of a fish that I endearingly call Princess Anna? You see, it's the small things that God uses to make Biblical truth's and theology come to life.
In the middle of a chaotic life, I have often felt I was sitting in a tank that was engulfed by dirty water just trying to find air. I have felt like I am swimming in the messiness of what I started but may never be able to finish, or at least not finish well. I feel as though wedding planning may never end. That maybe relationships will always be murky and that there is nothing I can do about it. Possibly there is no point to what I am studying at school and God can't really use it to bring him glory - what am I wasting my time for?!
However the Lord showed me something through this insignificant moment in the life of a fish. As a human trapped in the tank of life I need to react as if I was a fish trapped in the messiness of my tank, like Princess Anna. Although she wasn't really given a choice, Princess Anna trudged on. As far as I know, there was no complaining. That fish didn't kill itself over anxiety. She didn't bang herself against the tank walls trying to get her owners attention. She simply waited with patience trusting that I was going to take care of her.
The question begs, is that the way I react when I feel as though life is too disorganized and too messy to understand what God is doing? Do I wait patiently in the murk, knowing that he will see me through? You see, Princess Anna waited and was in turn overjoyed when her tank was clean and was given food. She was blessed beyond what I'm sure was her comprehension (I know its just a fish, but go with me here).
And as I washed the insignificant fish's tank and watched her dance, the Lord quietly whispered to my spirit, be patient, my Ashlyn. If I take care of the animals of this earth, how much more do I care for you? Wait on me. Find joy in me. And know that I am right here watching you trying to find life in your murk. Come to me, I will take care of you and your water will be made clean, my son already did that for you on the cross. You are my daughter in this tank of life that I created for you. Trust in me, I will make you full of life with with nourishment each day.
Thank you Lord, for the life of a fish. You have "...used the foolish things to confound the wise..." 1 Corinthians 1:27. If a fish can trust in me, how much more should I trust in you? Also, as you take care of me, I'll take care of Anna. I'll feed my fish, I promise.
7/21/2014 10:52:41 pm
Wow! Well said Ashlyn. Thank you for sharing truth and wisdom. Keep writing...you have a gift!
7/22/2014 11:13:17 am
Thank you for your kind words, Lora!
7/22/2014 08:03:14 am
Great insight! Love your writing! I remember your blog from Nicaragua , I love when God clears the murkiness with simplicity, it happened today when I told Him that I couldn't like all His children, He replied, "it's ok, I JUST WANT U TO LOVE THEM!" He didn't shout it tho lol
7/22/2014 11:15:00 am
Thanks Beth! Don't you love it when He does that?! I had a friend tell me the other day that it's often when we are at the end of the rope that we find ourselves at the beginning of God's rope... I think that's when we gives us peace and clarity. Love it!
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