I once had a goldfish. I called him Daniel.
I never thought I’d have him for long.
This is a tale of effort, hardship, achievement, reward, and disappointment. (Actually, I don’t need to tell you the tale, as I’ve just done so – like they did with the Hollywood trailer for Free Willy.)
But, the bottom line is we went to a Norfolk fair (in the olden days when you were allowed to win a goldfish in a bag). I strove, I desired, I put the effort in, and I won a prize goldfish. We took him home.
That’s when the hard work started.
We found him a bowl, filled it with stones, marine ornaments, and lots of nice water. Then we had to get the sprinkly goldfish food and find the right place for the bowl to sit with the right temperature and exposure to light and shade.
I’d wanted that goldfish, I’d worked hard to get that goldfish, I’d earned that goldfish. Our reward was we as a family could enjoy our time with Daniel, spend some great times together, and collectively reap the rewards of our efforts. We had reached the promised land.
But at the moment of our greatest achievement, clumsy Auntie Primula Leigh bumped into the bowl, knocked it off the table, and it smashed into the carpet. Glass and water everywhere.
It looked like Daniel wasn’t gonna make it.
Imagine that feeling? All that effort spent getting to the Promised Land, for it all to just be wasted pointlessly. To nil, if you like.
How things might have been different…
Perhaps we’d spent more at the pet shop and got him a more secure home?
Perhaps we shouldn’t have invited Auntie Primula round?
(Perhaps that’s unfair. She is the glamorous Auntie we like to see every now and again.)
Perhaps we should just put up with what life throws at us and do what we can with the tools we’re given?
As for Daniel, we managed to rescue him, found him a smaller bowl to live in, and we’re waiting to see if he’ll be happy there.
We hope so.
But if he doesn’t pull through, remember there’re plenty more fish in the sea.