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!