I’m always amazed at how common life experiences translate into metaphors of meaning.
When my daughter and son-in-law moved from one apartment to another, they were forced to leave their beloved goldfish behind.
They’ll probably read this account so I’ll try to be as accurate as I can remember. That’s code that means I’m making up most of it.
Goldie was a beloved fish who would follow them from corner to corner within his little aquarium and never needed walking or rabies shots. He was the perfect pet.
But poor Goldie couldn’t live in their new apartment.
After great discussion, they decided the kindest thing for Goldie would be to give him his freedom. So my son-in-law, as compassionate a guy as you’ll ever meet, drove Goldie and his fish bowl to the edge of the river.
Kneeling at the edge of the water, he met Goldie’s eyes. “You’ve been a great goldfish. Go and have a good life.”
And he gently poured Goldie into the river water.
The little fish took three brave swishes of his tail into his new freedom when a big fish came out of the murk and swallowed him whole.
The number of metaphors in that story are staggering.
Do we learn that little fish have no chance at the good life?
Do we learn that big fish can be counted on to spoil the day?
Or that well-intentioned plans for good don’t always work out?
Those are pretty deep for me. What I learned was when you set your goldfish free, don’t watch afterwards.