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Off the top

A blog dedicated to the Source of everything good.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Why am I so fond of my goldfish?

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This isn’t a joke. Really, it's a serious question!

Earlier this evening I gave our little goldfish her nightly pinch of food. I watched her wiggle with “excitement” (she does, really!) as she saw me approach. After I fed her, I watched her swim about and eat. I admired how her body and fins moved and marveled at how she exists, day after day (for over two years now? ...we are not her original owners), just swimming around or resting in her small tank, all by herself, with nothing much to look at or do for hours on end. How does she go on and on like that? It amazes me.

But I thought, this is just a tiny little goldfish; one creature among gazillions in this world of ours. What makes her so special? Why should I feel such attachment to her?

Well, I think it’s natural to be fond of something that is a part of one’s life, especially something that one cares for. But what I find most powerful is that this little fish! Big deal, right? But to me, it is. Life is an awesome mystery. We have it all around us in overwhelming abundance, yet not one of us can create it, though we can be party to perpetuating, harming, or ending it. This tiny creature is beautiful. She is elegant and supple of movement with her long, graceful fins. She has a brain that recognizes when someone walks by, and she “begs” (wiggles mightily) when hungry. She plays little games with the net when it is time to change the water in her tank. She is beautiful because she is...alive. She doesn’t do much except swim, rest, eat, breathe, and excrete, yet...she lives, and lives beautifully.

I know that one day she will die, as all living things do. She will die and I will be sad, yet I know it’s just the cycle of life. Just one little fish, back to unanimated matter. Yet how amazing that she now, as all organisms do, functions as a living creature -- something that doesn’t need winding up, or new batteries...only food and fresh water. Her “batteries” have gone for a long time already yet she is much more than mechanical; she has a sort of character, a personality. Really, she does! As do all creatures. There is just something about this, this “character” of life of hers, that moves me.

There is something about the tininess, delicacy, and elegance of a small goldfish, so dependent on me (and my family) for the essentials of her life, that reminds me of life's preciousness and of the vulnerability of all of us who are alive. Life can change in an instant; it can end in an instant. It will end for all of us inevitably. So I am moved for a little goldfish, and I am moved for the life that is mine and that animates every person and living creature that inhabits this earth.

Cherish this life; cherish your life and the lives you see all around you – respect it, and nurture it!

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(It's too bad this shot is so blurry but I thought it was too cool not to post!)


  • I believe the Good Lord puts these little critters in our lives.
    I have two little Yorkies and they are such a comfort to me. I totally love them and I know they love me too.

    By Blogger Mountain Mama, at 2:01 AM  

  • I think you're just suffering from cabin fever! Ha, ha... just kidding!

    Excellent commentary on the influence of the Imago Dei - contrasting our distinctivness from the animal kingdom with our connectedness to it. The materialist has no explanation (no believable explanation) for such phenomena.

    By Anonymous Rusty, at 10:40 AM  

  • Breaking silence here. Good job!

    By Blogger Martin LaBar, at 6:58 PM  

  • Bonnie,
    I love this. I read it this morning and it lifted me. It was just as good second time through. I had a gold fish attachment once myself - his name was Jupiter and he was cute. I can relate. Thanks for this - I like how you saw the big issues in a small creature and the celebration of life.

    By Blogger Catez, at 9:09 PM  

  • Thank you, all! I debated whether or not to post this (i.e., will they think I'm crazy?!) but am glad I did.

    (Yes, Rusty, I've definitely got cabin fever!)

    Welcome back, Martin! Hope you had a good trip.

    By Blogger Bonnie, at 11:10 PM  

  • I've had tropical fish most of my life, so I really identify with what you've said here, Bonnie. Fish are amazing little creatures. I love watching them move in the water -- so graceful, so much power in the tiniest of motions.

    They really are a wonder of God's creativity.

    By Blogger Charlie, at 11:54 PM  

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