Friday, July 13, 2012

The Beta with the Missing Fins

Last December, when we moved to our new home, we gave my daughters a beta tank and two male betas.  We have one of those beta tanks that has a divider in the middle, because betas will kill each other if they are in the same vicinity.  My daughters are responsible for feeding the fish and I am responsible for cleaning the tank.  I knew the tank needed some more water and some care, but I'd been putting it off.

One day last week, I walked into my daughters' bedroom and looked at their beta tank.  I was startled when I realized they were both on the same side!  Alarmed, I ran to get to measuring cups and the fish net.  I took the fish out and realized that I had put the divider in upside down.  The blue beta had scooted under the divider and gone to the other side.  In the process, his fins had gotten mightily nipped by the other beta.  I didn't realize this at first though.  I was so focused on fixing the tank that I didn't look closely at the fish.  When I'd fixed the tank, I put the fish back in and noticed that the blue one seemed to be staying near the bottom of the tank and not swimming very well.  That was when I noticed it!  The fins on the black one had been bitten by the other fish!  Quite badly!  I was fearful that he would die and wondered if I should simply put the fish out of his misery.  My husband encouraged me to wait and see.  

I think I was more distressed than my daughters.  I felt a strange grief for this little fish that thought he knew what he wanted, but would likely turn out to be the death of him.  

I've been watching this little fish for the past week.  The first day or two, he'd swim a little and then stay still.  I feared for him.  But, then we noticed that he began to gather his strength back and swim a bit more.  I went away for the weekend and was quite surprised when I looked into the tank on Monday.

The little blue fish was swimming all about.  He had gotten used to his short fins and tail.  They even seem to already be growing back a bit.  

Isn't this little blue fish like all of us and our children?  We all want our freedom to do what we want, when we want, where we want.  But, God knows it's not best for us.  

We went away last weekend and my husband made a comment to me that made me pause.  I commented that I hadn't found time to go to the farmer's market each week so far this summer.  He shared with me that it was because I chose other things--that I wanted my freedom to do as I pleased with my days.  I had to admit that he was right.  I didn't want to be constrained by needing to go at a certain time every Friday afternoon.  But, after discussing it, I realized it needed to be a weekly commitment for me.  It is not a bad thing to have structure in my life.  I am like the little fish who wants to go where he pleases.   

I know the structure is coming and I see it looming in the distance for this homeschool year.  I have been thankful for God's mercy in easing me into it.  But, this year Autumn will be in 4th grade and our school days are going to be longer.  Eli will be doing PK4 and Sami in 2nd.  I'm looking forward to it and the lessons that God has for me to learn!


becky.onelittle said...

That is an amazing story about the fish! I've been overly worried about structure and time this year too. Micaela moves to 5th, Nathaniel moves to 3rd and I'll be pushing his reading level up to "upper grammar" for our Tapestry assignments. Gabriel is in 2nd, Asher is in 1st, and Elizabeth is pk and needs to learn to read. We started school this last Monday in order to finish most of it before baby #6 comes. It has gone so smoothly even with VBS in the evenings. I've printed daily checklists for each child which cover the first 18 weeks, weekly reading schedules and assignment charts for each reading level and made a gigantic wall chart for me as a visual aid to keep me on task. School is looking great, and already I feel that I'm accomplishing much more at every learning level than I had before. I find tho that I tend to focus on one part of my life to the exclusion of all the others. It is so hard to balance being a mother, teacher, maid, and home manager/maker. But you are right, the Lord does lead us gently. I always appreciate your insight, and I know you'll do an excellent job this year!

Anne said...

I didn't know you were expecting! Congratulations! Wow! When is this little one due to arrive? Thanks for sharing how you're doing with me--and what you're juggling! You amaze me :) I will know better how to pray for y'all.

becky.onelittle said...

Google didn't eat my comment after all :) Baby is due March 5 or 6, it depends on which internet due date calculator I use :) I haven't seen a doctor yet. Thank you for your prayers. It is so nice to think of all the families we've met over the years who are all over the world and know that we all pray for each other and support each other.