Today’s an incredibly busy day for my family. Three of my five children are competing at the State 4-H Ambassador Commodity Talks (a public speaking contest). Last night, I felt pressured over preparations for the contest day as well as writing something for today’s blog post on the letter L. I had absolutely no ideas of what to write about, and figured that there wouldn’t be much time to write it even if I did have an idea. The last thing I remember before falling asleep was asking God to give me something easy for the letter L post.
And He did. This morning I woke up and remembered a little thing I had written about a year ago about a lesson I learned Lunatic Luna. So, with much thanks to God (who has been so consistently faithful to provide me with material to meet the A to Z Blog Challenge), here’s my Letter L post …
Jill called her “Lunatic Luna” and she really was a lot more than just a little bit crazy. Luna was plain nutty, a very scary sort of nutty. Still, despite her mental health issues, Luna was perhaps the most beautiful fish in Jill’s large 50 gallon tank.
I had heard all the stories from Jill. She told how Luna would jump out of the water, nipping at fingers as she literally bit the hands of those who fed her. Other times Jill recounted how Luna had eaten all of Big Daddy and his mate’s wee ones.
“Surely Jill exaggerates,” I thought. After all, how could such a beautiful fish be so cruel and heartless. But I soon learned for myself that Luna was just as much of a lunatic as Jill had ever implied.
When Jill’s family was in a moving transition, she asked me if we could keep the 50 gallon fish tank at our home for about three or four months. Even though our only experience with fish had been the solitary betta variety, we jumped at the chance to play host family to Jill’s tank. Initially, my family of seven was completely enamored with the fish, finding much enjoyment in simply watching their gracefully motions and discussing the details of all we saw occurring in the large tank. We delighted in discovering the personalities of each fish, and found their interactions captivating.
Before long, each of us had a favorite. The kids loved Big Daddy, the gentle giant of a fish who preferred resting in one particular corner of the tank over doing much actual swimming. Jon seemed to especially enjoy Goldy, the tiniest fish. She was bright in color and quick as lightning, flitting from one side of the tank to another almost as quickly as it took to blink an eye. My favorites were the pair of enormous sucker fish. They often arranged themselves in symmetrical poses against the glass sides of the tank, delighting me with their synchronized sucking action.
No one really liked Luna. She was an irritable, mean fish, controlling the waters from her hiding spot in the plastic log at the bottom of the tank. The other fish swam wide circles around her, avoiding the area that was Luna’s dark hole. A nasty bite was often the reward for getting too close to Luna’s hideout.
One morning about a week into our fish sitting stint, we got up to discover one of the smaller fish in the tank had died during the night. The dead fish lay right at the entrance to Luna’s log, a large chunk missing from its side. It didn’t take a detective like Sherlock Holmes to put the pieces of the mystery together. Luna was a murderer.
Immediately, the kids voted that Luna should be kicked out of the tank, execution style. Jon, however, had more of a heart of justice mixed with mercy. He removed Luna from the large tank and put her in a plastic bowl. Later that day, we bought Luna a smaller tank of her own, handing down a sentence of permanent solitary confinement.
Beautiful Luna. She swam around her smaller tank for several days, rearranging the rocks and pushing her new, larger log into a different position. Though she didn’t exactly seem miserable to be left alone, even in her solitude she never was an enjoyable fish to watch … somehow still unhappy, irritable, and moody if it is even possible for a fish to be all of those things. We fed her and she ate. We took care of her needs. Mostly she stayed hidden in her private log, remaining about as unloveable as a porcupine is unhuggable.
After spending three months in her new, private tank, Lunatic Luna died. In life she wasn’t much loved; in death she wasn’t much mourned. Despite being one of the more beautiful fish I’ve ever known, Luna’s beauty was definitely all on the outside.
It’s almost ridiculous to think that one could learn much of anything from a beautiful fish with a bit of a bad attitude. After all, the expectations and responsibilities for Luna’s life were exceedingly low. A fish isn’t capable of learning polite behaviors or improving upon character flaws.
It is not so for me. My life is filled with the demands of being a wife and mother, a teacher in my home, a daughter and sister and friend, a writer of encouragement. Each role comes complete with its own set of pressures and stresses. Often, in the thick of my day-to-day life, I find my temper far too short and my voice much too harsh.
Most mornings, I spend a chunk of time in my bathroom making myself presentable for the day, focusing solely upon the reflection I see in the mirror. Like most females, I long to be beautiful and work hard to make myself appear so for my husband. Yet the deep truth is all the beauty products in the world will not make me a beautiful woman if my heart is not right before God.
Each time I recall Lunatic Luna, I am reminded of these words from 1 Peter 3: 3-4:
“Your beauty should not consist of outward things … instead it should consist of what is inside the heart with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very valuable
in God’s eyes.”
L is for Lunatic Luna and the Lessons I learned from her Life:
work hard each day at being beautiful … beautiful from the inside out.