It was just a five-dollar fish in a cup.
And so I did not expect him to speak to me in my heart. I really didn’t expect much from him at all.
But in the end this little five-dollar fish named Gabriel changed my mind.
When my daughters were picking him out at the pet store, I wandered through the other aisles. I had no interest in a fish.
Lolo said she wanted a fish for her new kitten. That made sense to me. A fish might be fun for a cat to watch.
I looked at the dog toys and longed for a companion to lick my face in the morning. I ran my fingers over the chewie toys and wished for a furry friend to hug and hold.
When I came back to the fish area, they were trying to pick out one fish from dozens of other blue fish in plastic cups.
I was stunned that these fish were alive in these tiny containers. I went and found a pet store fish expert and asked about their living conditions.
“How long can they live in a tiny cup?”
She replied with confidence, “Weeks.”
“Are you kidding?’ I was stunned anything could survive in a three-inch plastic container.
“In the wild they are known to live anywhere, even puddles. They are survivors.”
At the time I did not consider those fish to have feelings. I didn’t ask her if the fish were happy, I only wanted to know if they could live.
I went back to my daughters and said they were making a good choice. A survivor fish sounded like a good idea.
Yet I didn’t really focus on which blue fish was the right one. I still resisted making a connection.
I watched indifferently as they took the cupped fish to the cashier. I turned my attention to the dog magazines at the checkout stand.
Gabriel and Lolo bonded. I didn’t understand and I didn’t even try to get to know him.
Until one day I was sitting at Lolo’s desk, working on her computer.
Everyone else was out of the apartment, except me and the new kitten and Gabriel, the fish.
As I focused my attention on an email, I heard a voice say, “She forgot to feed me.”
I looked up and around.
The kitten was asleep nearby and the voice did not feel like one of my own spirit guides.
This was a new voice.
I closed my eyes and asked within where the voice was coming from.
Spirit opened my eyes. Right in front of me was Gabriel in his fish tank. He was looking straight at me, his face pressed close to the glass, mouth opening and closing, looking so very fishy.
“Is it really you?”
Gabriel told me Lolo forgot to feed him before she left. He asked me to. Then he told me how much to give him.
I was laughing at my own ignorance about fish as I fed him. He thanked me.
When Lolo came home, I told her what happened. She looked at me incredulously.
“Of course he talks. What did you think? Did you think fish were stupid?”
I was ashamed and embarrassed, “I just didn’t think a fish that came in a cup would speak to me! I don’t know. I guess since they have such small brains, well, I just didn’t think about it.”
I listened to the lack of wisdom spewing from my mouth, “Well, I’ve never tried to talk to a fish before, and none have ever tried to talk with me.”
Lolo asked how much I gave him. I told her Gabriel told me to feed him just two flakes, and Lolo said that was right. She apologized to Gabriel for forgetting to feed him and went on about her business. And she reminded me I have even communicated with spiders…why didn’t I believe I could talk to a fish?
I apologized to Gabriel for being so stupid. I apologized and told him I had never spent time with a fish before and that I had a lot to learn from him.
I have always communicated with nature, all of nature. Since I was a child I have spoken to trees, birds, squirrels, dogs, cats, snakes, dolphin and more importantly, they speak to me.
I never expected much from a fish.
I did not expect Gabriel to have a voice. But he did.
From that moment on I woke up each day eager to greet him. I even learned how to pet him. I would place my finger at the top of the tank, and he would swim up to meet me. Ever so gently I would stroke just above his fins, and he swam around in circles to come back under my hand again and again.
My heart opened up to a fish.
I learned another valuable lesson from a beautiful creature, and then the tough fish that can live in puddles began to die.
After he left us I grieved openly.
Grace asked what the appropriate grieving time was for a fish.
I didn’t know. I told her we would wait and see.
We were soon after laughing together as a family about my determination not to bond with the little blue fish in a cup.
Amber laughed as I spoke highly of our little fish, and she said, “Mommy, you just can’t help loving everyone and everything!”
She’s right. I tried not to love that fish, but turned out Gabriel spoke my language.
If they have scales, if they live on land or if they live in water, if they arrive in a beautiful package or come in a cup, all are wise, noble beings with much to teach us.
I judged him. And in doing so I almost completely ruined an opportunity to love.
My walls of ignorance almost kept me from making a new friend. Thanks to Gabriel’s hunger, he broke through the limitations I tried to place on him.
Instead of holding low expectations of others, we must learn to look for the potential in everyone.
If we do not expect much of others, we won’t get much. Instead we can learn to hold high expectations and to believe the best in everyone. Remember that wisdom flows in and through us all.
When wisdom lives on the surface, we recognize it easily. It is when wisdom is deep and hidden that we often judge too quickly that it is not there at all.
Learn to see the best in everyone.
Learn to see beneath the surface.
See the wisdom within all God’s creatures – each and every one.
Even the little fish.
In Love and Unity,