“Pilate told the people that they could choose to spare the life of either a murderer named Barabbas or Jesus of Nazareth, and they chose Barabbas. Given the same choice, Jesus, of course, would have chosen to spare Barabbas, too.” – Frederick Buechner, Peculiar Treasures

Olaf in a BagIvy received fish for Christmas. More accurately a gift card to purchase fish. I set up my old 10 gallon tank with the filters, rocks, plants. We went to the store to get two little fish. Ivy named them Sven and Olaf. But Sven was struggling before he left the bag. Leaving behind friends at the store must have been too much for him – he passed away in a few hours. Olaf, now alone, seemed stoic but okay. And Ivy, after a few tears, was also okay.

But the next day Olaf was beyond stoic – barely swimming in place. We had gotten him a friend (Marshmallow, the little fish are guaranteed for 14 days), but it was no use. By the end of the day Olaf had also passed. This sent Ivy over the edge. Uncontrollable tears. I had tried to warn her that getting a healthy aquarium, with the right bacteria, could be difficult. That not all pet store fish arrive well. I had cautioned we would almost certainly have a few fish die. But predictions about imagined fish could not prepare her for the reality of Olaf. She leaned against me and cried.

I, expecting loss, felt nothing. At least nothing for the fish. I felt bad for Ivy. I am beyond crying over fish. Yet feeling Ivy’s cries, while I felt nothing… I wondered if I was too desensitized.

Matthew 10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.

As Ivy cried I pondered this verse. Sven and Olaf were outside of my cares, but they were in the Father’s care.

This level of care is not possible for me. If I cried over every passing fish – my life would be emotionally broken. So I let go. The fish died. Bag it, take it back, get a new one. Robotic – wrote.

When we handed the fish over to the Pet Store worker Ivy wanted to know what they were going to do with it. She wanted a proper burial. Of course they were just going to trash it…

I think God is with Ivy, sharing concern.

And this is why I need the Savior’s care.

(One regret. I wish, after Ivy asked, I would have questioned if we could take the fish. A simple burial would have been healthy for Ivy and appropriate to bury a fish named Olaf in today’s frozen tundra.)

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