Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Just Keep Swimming...

These are my new friends – Smaug the Beta fish, and Nessie the snail.  They are quite entertaining and beautiful to watch (yes, even the snail!).
Before they came, I set up their new home - I got the filter and air system going, I planted the live plants, I made sure the temperature was just right.  I even had to make a second trip to the pet store to see the new Betas that were scheduled to arrive.  As I looked at fish, one caught my eye; he was red and blue and purple, and I knew he would be perfect in my aquarium. The lady in the pet store was just putting him in a new cup of water when I saw him, and I snatched him up and took him home.  I carefully acclimated him and put him in his wonderful new aquarium.  He went from a small cup of water to 2 gallons with plants and a lovely environment, and I thought he would be happy.  But he swam listlessly to the bottom and sat there, his tail curled unnaturally.  For days he sat there – occasionally swimming to the surface for a gulp of air (Betas actually breath at the surface as well as with gills), only to fall back to the bottom.  He wouldn’t eat, I feared he would die.  Five days passed.  I woke up one morning and he was looking at me through the glass, not bent on the bottom but floating gracefully midway up.  I dropped in some food and cheered when he ate it, and he has been fine ever since.
What was wrong with my fish?  He was stressed.  But he went from a bad environment to a good one, why wasn’t he happy and healthy?  What can be stressful about being in a better place?  It seems that even good change is stressful.  His entire system was in shock and he was depressed, even in his beautiful new home.  I know how he felt.
I look at my future and it looks good.  I am excited about the path God has me on.  I am happy with my life.  Yet I still find myself occasionally sitting crumpled at the bottom of the tank, unable to function, wondering what is wrong with me.  Sometimes it is just too much change in a short period of time, and I have to stop for a while to acclimatize myself to the new environment.  It just doesn’t feel normal anymore – in fact nothing feels normal or comfortable.  Home is a whole new paradigm, a while new definition, and my emotions have taken a while to catch up.
I don’t think my fish ever contemplates the past.  I envy him that.  He just lives life today – no regret, no what if, no thought as to how different his life turned out to be.  Just an acceptance of life as God brings it.  Swimming into the current, enjoying the flow of water over his fins, resting on the plants, eating the food that falls from the sky, looking at me when I talk to him, he accepts his new life from God.  May I do the same.
Philippians 3:12-14 – Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.  Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
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