The Day I Washed a Fish

I have, over the space of a couple months, developed a relationship with a new found friend. It all began the day my youngest daughter introduced me to Red. At the time I didn’t think I had time to foster a new friend as needy as Red—or so I thought. Red, I found out, was truly a treasure. With his quiet reserved nature, Red proved to be the best listener I have ever met. Red is a fish.

red betta fish

Red arrived at my home one day when my daughter unceremoniously plopped an incredibly murky, smelly cup of think pink water on my counter. “Here,” she said. I think its dead. I just didn’t have the heart to leave the poor thing in my cold classroom over the weekend.”

I was afraid to look in the cup. My daughter happens to be a physics teacher at a local high school and her classes are known for all kinds of strange and incredible experiments, of which poor, dear Red had been an unwitting participant in a rather thoughtless student’s lab presentation.

“Whats the big deal?’ the dim-light bulb of a student asked, “it’s only a stupid fish.” As a result poor Red had been subjected to overfeeding to such an extent he was experiencing constant “near-death ” moments until I was forced to save his life.

“This is going to require drastic and very dangerous procedures,” I said. My daughter had since walked away and was presently busy making herself a cup of coffee. (It was obvious she was worried and needed the caffeine to bolster her nerves.) But she needn’t have worried. I was going to save this precious life. I was going to use every ounce of my small brain to save his. All I could come up with was a bath.

Yes, I was going to give a fish a bath.

I know this procedure will probably sound radical and drastic to many. And the nay-sayers would have thought it better to flush the problem away. Or better yet, fed him to the neighbor’s cat. But this little brave life deserved a chance.

My daughter I’m sure was so overwhelmed she was forced to go downstairs to watch a kiddie pirate show with her small fry.

I continued to stay focused in spite of the odds and went ahead with the plan. Using the handy spray-hose attached to my kitchen sink, I lifted dear Red in a large orange-stained spoon I normally reserved only for serving spaghetti sauce. I took special aim and sprayed the gills thoroughly. Unfortunately I might have overestimated the amount of water needed and poor Red was nearly sent down the garbage disposal. But quick thinking on my part and I was able to scoop him up and place him in his new home. 

Since Red’s arrival in my home I have to admit he has edured one or two other close encounters with death.  (One such encounter involved my three-year old grandson and lots of wet toliet paper.) 

Sometimes I believe God wants us to pay attention to even the smallest parts of our life. Those parts of us we have a tendency to ignore or maybe not think are very important. Just like good old Red we need to allow God to “flush-out” the things that are clogging up our gills and breathe the truth of his love for us.

As for my new found friend, I bought him some new red marbles for his bowl.

Sorry, got to go. My grandkids are pelting Red with the marbles. Hold on little buddy, I’m coming!

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