On a Daddy-daughter outing about 4 months ago, we returned home from a stop at Petco with my daughter’s first pet, a beta fish. My daughter was so excited! She named the fish Sarah. Till this day, we do not know if the fish is male or female, but Sarah it is.
There are two things parents always know upon purchasing a small fish for their 4-year-olds. One certainty is that after about 2 weeks you will be the sole caretaker of the fish, and secondly the fish probably won’t last too long in a small fish bowl.
Well the first part of the realization held true to its promise, as once a week -- on my day off -- I would empty the clouded, and very noxious, waste water from the bowl and replace it with new sparkling water. This task should have qualified for the Discovery Channel’s show, Dirty Jobs. The stench was worthy of an animal of a much larger size, something of a bovine nature.
The second realization, the prediction of a short life span, was far from accurate. I joked to my wife that this fish should have been named Lazarus for the countless times it came back from the dead. Many times I woke up in the morning to a motionless fish floating in the bowl only to see it dart back to life when I tapped the bowl. I think after a while it was playing with me.
I was so convinced that the fish would have a short life span that I only bought two containers of fish food when I purchased the fish. The second container ran out of food about 5 days ago.
Realizing this fish was not eating at all, for three days I frantically searched for fish food. I went to different retail stores and supermarkets, only to find that none of the establishments I visited carried fish food. I even asked the guy at 7-Eleven, who gave me a blank look. Can you imagine the desperation to ask the counter guy at 7-Eleven?
All I could think of for the past few days is how hungry this fish must have been, not eating. I had a meeting with an executive Vice President of my company the other day, and all I could think of during the meeting was whether or not Target might carry fish food.
In a last moment of desperation Friday night, I tried to extend the fish’s life just one more day to get it to the weekend -- when I could finally make the long drive to Petco -- by sprinkling some oatmeal flakes into the fishbowl hoping that the fish could eat something. Admittedly, it was not the best idea but it did lower the fish's cholesterol. Yesterday, I made the long trip to Petco and got the fish some legitimate food. The fish is doing well and is back to playing possum with me.
So here’s my point. I was so bothered by this little fish starving to death that it became an absolute compulsion for me to feed this fish. This little life that God created was put under my care. The empathy I had for this little fish was incredible.
In driving to work the other day, the irony of this story hit me as well as a sad commentary of our society.
By way of comparison, Terri Schiavo was starved to death over 13 days, not even being given so much as an ice chip to hydrate her tongue and lips, and many Americans were not bother by this at all - - actually many supported the act. Michael Schiavo's lawyer, George Fellos, actually said that Terri Schiavo looked "beautiful" as she was starved to death.
The difference between these two stories? Thankfully, my heart beats Pro-Life.