Quote of the Week:

"He is no fool, who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." (Jim Elliot)

Drop me a line if you want to be notified of new posts to SiTG:

My site was nominated for Best Parenting Blog!
My site was nominated for Hottest Daddy Blogger!

This is a Flickr badge showing public photos from Woodlief. Make your own badge here.

The Best of Sand:

The Blog
Greatest Hits
DVD Reviews
Faith and Life
Judo Chops
The Literate Life
News by Osmosis
The Problem with Libertarians
Snapshots of Life
The Sermons

Creative Commons License
All work on this site and its subdirectories is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Search the Site:

Me Out There:

Free Christmas
Don't Suffer the Little Children
Boys to Men
A Father's Dream
WORLD webzine posts

Not Non-Fiction
The Grace I Know
Coming Apart
My Christmas Story

The Craft:

CCM Magazine
Charis Connection
Faith in Fiction
Grassroots Music

Favorite Journals:

Atlantic Monthly
Doorknobs & Bodypaint
Image Journal
Infuze Magazine
Missouri Review
New Pantagruel
Southern Review

Blogs I Dig:

Education & Edification:

Arts & Letters Daily
Bill of Rights Institute
Junk Science
U.S. Constitution

It's good to be open-minded. It's better to be right:

Stand Athwart History
WSJ Opinion


Home School Legal Defense
Institute for Justice
Local Pregnancy Crisis
Mission Aviation
Prison Ministries
Russian Seminary
Unmet Needs


Cox & Forkum
Day by Day

Donors Hall of Fame

Susanna Cornett
Joe Drbohlav
Anthony Farella
Amanda Frazier
Michael Heaney
Don Howard
Laurence Simon
The Timekeeper
Rob Long
Paul Seyferth

My Amazon.com Wish List

Add to Technorati Favorites

Monday, October 9, 2006

Goldfish and Miracles

I promised my subscribers (that's right - if you send me your email address I eventually add you to my notification list, which means that you're updated when I post, usually in the form of a snarky little one-liner direct to your Inbox) that the next post would involve little boys and goldfish. I'm not known as a man of my word by the people who know me best, but I've always aspired to be such a man, and today's as good a day as any to start, so herewith is a story about a little boy and a goldfish.

Caleb came into the kitchen last weekend, sobbing and holding his fishbowl. "My goldfish is dying!" His mother took the bowl and brought it to the counter, where we watched the fish, whose name is Gold Star, alternately puff and roll to his side and float. I've never seen a goldfish in the throes of death before, and I'm here to tell you that it's not pretty. Caleb buried his head in my stomach and cried the hopeless, dejected sort of cry that we've all experienced, the kind where there's not even the strength to raise your hands to your face, there's just the limp-armed, mournful cry of someone learning that the world isn't as lovely as he thought.

The wife immediately went about trying to resuscitate the fish, which involved putting it in fresh water and telling it to breathe. "Caleb," I asked, "when did you feed him last?"

"I don't know!" There was a fresh round of sobbing. "He's going to die!" From where I stood, the fish was already more dead than alive. The wife took Caleb's hand and told him we should pray for the fish. Great, I thought. Teach him early that there are no miracles any more. So they prayed an earnest little prayer for Gold Star, and I stood there with my hands on Caleb's head, already angry with God for letting him down. When they were done, they looked up to see Gold Star staring at them through the clear glass of the bowl, with that perpetual look of fishy surprise on his face. "God made him better," said Caleb with confidence. Then he took Gold Star back to his room and fed the poor starved thing.

I'm sure it was the clean water that did the trick. Or perhaps all the wailing shocked the fish out of his coma. To Caleb, however, it was a miracle, and when he prays he expects God to move. I confess I don't ever expect miracles when I pray. I don't even expect things to go right. I expect disappointment at every turn. I expect disease. I expect an early death. I suppose one day Caleb's prayers won't be met with a miracle. By then maybe he'll understand what I'm still only learning, which is that the very fact that we have any life and love at all is itself a quiet miracle, one that we usually forget because we are so intensely focused on the one that never comes, the great audacious miracle that will finally set everything to rights. So my question for you this Monday morning -- and I hope you understand by now that my questions are always as much for myself as you -- is simply this: what will you do with your miracle today?

posted by Woodlief | link | (0)