This reminds me of some events that have recently taken place . Two beautiful angelfish we have had for a few years gave birth to several fish babies on June 28th of this year. My husband named one of them Squee-Gro.
Squee-Gro’s father, El Gato Negro (the Black Cat) had a difficult start. In the early stages of his life, in our large community tank, he was harassed almost to his death. I remember one dark night I watched the tank as El Gato Negro sat at the very bottom on the far side of the tank, barely moving his fins. The other fish weren’t around him at all; no one was pestering him. I knew he was close to the end. I didn’t know what to do – I was an amateur fish hobbyist and I didn’t have any other tanks to put him in. I said good-bye to him, expecting that tonight was my last chance at saving him. I went to bed, full of guilt.
The next morning he was still there, barely moving, looking sicker than ever. I was determined not to let him suffer anymore, so I ran out with my practically maxed-out credit card in hand and charged a brand-new tank along with all the supplies. In the new tank, he seemed calm. It took a while, but soon he grew strong.
Eventually we moved his mate into the tank with him. She was the only one who never bothered him, even at the beginning. Often she would block him from the other fish in the tank that were trying to attack, allowing them to turn on her instead. Soon after we put them in the tank together, they mated and laid eggs.
We were excited that they were laying eggs, as this was something we had never seen before. Scarface (the female angelfish) would lay out eggs one at a time against a flat wall of the castle, and El Gato Negro would follow behind her, releasing sperm onto the eggs to fertilize them. One by one, they would perform this purposeful dance.
My husband and I (as amateur hobbyists) had no idea what to do with the eggs once they started sprouting mini-tails. We did online searches, but most of what needed to be done was beyond our capability. We decided to let nature take its course. Both El Gato Negro and Scarface were working day and night to watch over them, swimming circles around the castle, protecting them from harm. But out of the hundreds of eggs that they laid on the side of the castle, only about 20 remained within a few days. We wanted to do something to save the others. So we again grabbed the credit card and bought a new tank for the babies.
Squee-Gro was the only one who survived. Many little tadpole-looking babies had emerged from their eggs in the new tank, but they started quickly to die off, despite our best efforts. We wanted Squee-Gro to grow and survive. I didn’t realize it was all up to Allah – our efforts were necessary, but in the end, it was Allah who chose the little fish’s destiny.
I didn’t want to try too hard. I didn’t want to wish too hard that he would make it, because I didn’t want to be disappointed. But each day I got up and looked into the tank, he was there, wiggling his little body, his little fins. He was so tiny – cut a dime in half and he would have fit on one of the halves. I couldn’t imagine that he would make it. But a small part of me still kept up hope, even though I tried to stiffle it.
Once Squee-Gro was a few weeks old, my husband put a gravel filter into the tank to keep it clean. The next day, Squee-Gro was gone. He was nowhere to be found. We searched the tank, and eventually had to remove everything out of it. Once we did, we found him hiding underneath the filter. Somehow he had squeezed in between the tiny, narrow openings in the bottom and was munching on food down there at the very bottom of the tank. I tried to breathe a sigh of relief.
A week later, as we were cleaning the tank, Squee-Gro got sucked up into the hose and went down the drain. I was almost relieved; glad not to have to be on edge anymore, wondering if he would live or if he would die. It was over; he was a goner. My husband didn’t want to give up hope; he was characteristically more optimistic than I am. “Should we try to get him?” He wanted to remove the plumbing from underneath the drain to see if he was still in there. “Why bother?” was my answer. “Give up,” I said. He didn’t. He took everything off and ran water through the open pipes. Out popped Squee-Gro, doing fine. I couldn’t believe my eyes.
We can do everything we can, but in the end, it is up to Allah and He is the one in control. Out of the hundreds of eggs, Squee-Gro survived. He survived, even after having been washed down the drain, stuck in the filter, and various other experiences. So despite our best efforts, and despite our worst mistakes, Allah chose for this tiny, itty-bitty fish to survive. I only hope that I can realize this for myself – that Allah controls everything in this life – EVERYTHING – so despite my best efforts and despite my worst mistakes, always it is His will that determines our destinies. We can prepare and arm ourselves with the best of intentions, but always we must turn to Him for help and guidance in all matters, big and small.