My heart was heavy as I drove the forty minutes that my GPS said would be needed to get to the address I had touched on the screen. I was sad because the friend I had hoped could go with me was too sick to go. Without her inspiration and creativity I would never have thought of this project. Even now, after years of her battling a complex illness, she lives in a prison of pain and isn’t able to comprehend that her suffering matters to me.
I was going to buy some koi to stock my backyard fishpond that this friend had designed. Lying on the decorative rocks is a sign she painted on a slice of log that reads, “Roselyn’s Sabbath Rest.” I wondered too, why I was driving so far to get these fish. The installer of the pond had told me I should only get six. Somehow I wanted to keep a relationship with this young man for whom I had begun to pray. This pond center with water plants and fish was a part of his business so I thought this would be one more connection.
I arrived at the farm that had been transformed into tubs of plants, piles of rocks, tanks of fish and greenhouse “like” structures. Trucks, tarps and a few muscular young men, (whom I recognized as the ones that built our pond) were scattered around the property. The men waved but were intent on their work. I marveled that from this mess they could create the stunning beauty of a backyard pond in the suburbs.
I found a building that looked like it might serve as an office. A relaxed maternal figure was sitting on the front steps. I introduced myself. Evidencing comfort in herself, her surroundings and our contact she said, “Oh, you are here for two free fish.” She is one of those people who you feel you have known a long time.
We walked to the tanks of fish with me asking questions that she easily answered. From the eight available tanks we chose two from which I would make my selection. I wanted four bigger fish and two smaller ones. With deep respect for the gravity of this choice, this attendant listened carefully to the colors that attracted me. She pointed out the one white fish that she thought was particularly beautiful. She spoke with such tenderness and delight of this fish that I couldn’t find a way to say that it looked ordinary to me.
We finally netted eight fish into a dishpan. From these, I would need to reject four. I began by choosing the white one she loved. When I did, she picked it up and spoke to it with unrestrained joy, “Oh, you are going to have a home. I am so glad for you. You deserve more than this little tank. You will have a home. You will have a beautiful home!!”
It was hard to leave four of the fish, but I had been given a limit. When we went into the office to pay my bill I saw a scribbled note that said, “Give Roselyn two free fish and a good deal on the others.” The attendant had been so attentive to me and taken so much time that her cigarette had burned out in the ashtray. I drove the forty minutes home with the oxygen filled plastic bags holding three fish each and the picture of the delight that my helper had extracted from the adoption. After releasing the fish in our pond I had to call back and tell her how happy they were to have room to swim and a waterfall under which to play.
The next morning in my time of meditation, I was interrupted with the thought that I bought that white fish because she loved it. In a flood of revelation God whispered, “Would I do less for the one you love?”
Then I wondered why the words, “You are going to have a home” held such impact? I remembered: the angels rejoice when a home is secured for one.
What pictures of God’s character does this story surface for you?