Monday, January 17, 2011

See You Soon

Leilani got some new fishies (that's what she calls them) and a tank for Christmas this year. Being an animal lover, I relish the opportunity to foster this same love in her. And she has it. She loves sitting and watching them do their thing, feeding them, and talking to them.

But even being a little kid, she can teach me something about perspective.

Sometimes, like when we want her to wear nice shoes instead of her rubber boots to church, she'll throw a tantrum, collapse on the floor, cry for 10 minutes, and not understand the true importance of things like time and perspective. There are other times, however, when she can teach me a thing or two.

Last week, one of her fishies got caught behind the filter and died. When I found it, I was sad. Not too sad, but definitely a little. I got the fish out, and wanted everyone to look at the poor little fish, see how beautiful it was, feel the sadness of a life cut short.

Jennie-Lynne had no need to examine the fish along with her feelings. It was a fish. And she had no feelings. Leilani had more heart, and at least looked at the fish with me and wanted to poke it, perhaps with the desire of resuscitating it back to life. I know I wished to do the same, and looked closely over and over hoping to see some movement that would prove the foregone conclusion wrong.

So after examining our hearts, and realizing there was no saving this tetra, Leilani said she wanted to come with me to the toilet where we would say goodbye to our fishy. When we got there, she turned the fish net upside down, and with a couple taps on the seat, set the little fishy free into the cold, lonely waters of the toilet.

At this point, I was ready to wait a few moments, hopefully see the tetra spark to life with the shock of the cold water, and if not, say some poignant words to close out and memorialize this fishy's wonderful life.

Leilani was not in the same mindset.

As soon as the fish hit the water, she reached for the handle and flushed the poor thing down!! As it started to swirl around and around, she waved and said, "Bye bye fishy, see you soon."

I love seeing life through a child's eyes. Sometimes they can teach us so much. Although Leilani loves her fishies, and loves all animals, she does not yet have the awareness of losing something and never seeing it again. Often, things she says goodbye too she does in fact get to see again. And other things, she simply forgets about. Sometimes, we blow things out of proportion, and I was doing this with the fish. And there are many things in life that I lose perspective on and give too much importance.

This funny story relates to a great talk I heard by Andy Stanley from this year's Passion Conference. He talked about APPETITE, and how our appetites will either be ruled by us or will rule us. He talked about how when an appetite grabs our attention, we lose perspective on everything else, and that particular need is magnified out of proportion. In fact, this magnification is what psychologists call 'Impact Bias' and is a physiological fact. When an appetite is magnified, our brains literally change as energy is focused toward getting that particular need met. Everything else becomes blurry and of less importance.

Although the story of the fish is just a funny anecdote, and I wasn't really all that wrapped up in it, Leilani's perspective still gave me a lesson on how sometimes we put too much focus or energy into the wrong things.

May you, today, find that you are a master of your appetites, fulfilling those that are placed in healthy things while shifting away from those that cause damage. May you not lose focus on the good, the true, and the right.

PS. Here is the link to a Andy Stanley's great talk. I highly recommend it, but it is about 45 minutes long so set aside some time. I think it's worth it.

PPS. As I finish writing this, Leilani is crying about not wanting to sit in her highchair for lunch. Everything Mommy offers her for lunch is met with more tears and more "no ways" because she has gotten to that point where she has lost perspective, can't even remember what it is she wants, but knows it's not what Mommy has to offer.

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