Is It Me?

My fish apparently enjoy attempting suicide. This morning, as I was about to feed the fish before heading out for work, I discovered one of my dragon gobies laying motionless on the carpet, an impressive five feet from the aquarium. He looked sad and dried out, kind of like a pruned leech.Two thoughts immediately flashed in my head: (1) The #@$#@^% dude decided to jump out of the aquarium, and (2) I think I can still return him to the pet store for a refund.

Now, in my short history as a fish owner, I’ve known that there are several species of fish that are jumpers. To date, however, I’ve already had two fish jump out of the aquarium and one fiddler crab escape from his confines in order to terrorize my roommate. Incidents like these make me question my role in driving them to do the unthinkable and jump out of the water. Is it me, or is it them?

Disappointed that yet another of my fish decided to end its life, I proceeded to grab a paper towel and prepare him for a ceremonial trip down the toilet. But as I picked him up, I felt him wriggle just a little bit in my fingers. I was a little surprised, to say the least, since he looked like he had already been out of the water for a couple of hours.So, being the nice man that I am and because I’m a sucker for animals (even though I will not succumb to Sarah Mclachlan’s earnest but disturbing pleas for my support of abandoned puppies and kittens), I decided to throw him back into the aquarium. He quickly regained consciousness and swam around the 30-gallon aquarium ecstatically. I imagined he was experiencing a sort-of Free Willy moment.

He seems fine now. He’s a little lethargic, but he’s swimming around nonetheless. I guess that trip to PetSmart will have to wait.

Anthropomorphizing aside, my fish’s suicidal scare made me think (as things usually do on Mondays) about how as Christians we love to jump out of our own “aquariums,” enjoying the momentary exhilaration of air but realizing very quickly that next thing we know, we’re writhing on the carpet and missing the very thing that was keeping us alive in the first place. We all have the tendency to be prodigals every now and again, but thank God (literally) for his promise: “I will not forget you. See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands” (Isaiah 49:15-16). I like to imagine that every time we try to jump out, God picks us back up and brings us back to where we need to be.

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3 thoughts on “Is It Me?

  1. Man, I was really looking forward to calling you “fish killer” (jokingly, of course) until I read the rest. Maybe “fish healer” would be more appropriate. Anyway, I’m glad little Jumper is pulling through.

  2. A: It’s not you – I, too, have had suicidal fish (more than once), and am unwilling to believe it was me, as I kept a larger percentage of my fish friends alive, than those who committed suicide.
    B: I’m sad to read above that he ended up not making it (I read posts in reverse order, which can cause some confusion at times . . . )
    C: I love how you related the fish out of water story to the prodigal son – outstanding, really! Your impressive, contemplative, and often very witty writing style brings me back regularly. Bravo! :o)

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