Are You Well Fed? Or a Hungry Predator?
A few weeks ago we visited the Georgia Aquarium. I’d been there once before so I was already excited to go back and see this amazing place again. If you ever are in the Atlanta area and have the opportunity, I highly recommend it. You can get discount tickets ahead of time (as of this writing you appear to have to do so at least three days ahead of your visit from what I can glean from their website) saving up to $7 per ticket. They are rather pricey so it’s worth it. You can also purchase parking in advance to save another buck (parking is $10 otherwise). They also offer military discounts.
My uncompensated endorsement aside, one of the most amazing exhibits in the aquarium is a gigantic fish tank with a tunnel running through it. You are surrounded by fish, both large and small, and it feels like you could just reach out and touch their slimy, shimmering bodies. It’s the closes thing to being a mermaid I think I can come up with.
This massive fish tank includes four whale sharks, the biggest fish in the world, and other very large marine life right along side the small fish. I asked one of the employees what they feed the big guys to keep them from eating the little guys. He explained their process of making sure that the predators are well fed. Each of the “big guys” has their own boat that comes through with all their favorite foods in it. As long as they are well fed, they don’t chow down on their fellow tank mates.
I couldn’t help but relate that to our lives here on dry land. Have you ever been in a place where your needs were not being met, whether they were physical or emotional? Did that hunger make you lash out at others, your fellow “tank mates”?
We’ve all been there at some point. We get hurt in a relationship and we turn around and hurt someone else. We don’t get enough sleep or proper nutrition and the ensuing grouchiness results in us taking a bite out of a co-worker or friend. When our needs are not being met – when we are not getting fed – it can put those around us at risk of feeling the brunt of our wrath.
Some of these things we have control over. We can catch up on lost sleep or make getting to bed on time a priority. We can choose healthy food over junk food. We can seek treatment for physical ailments instead of ignoring them or fighting through the pain.
But others are more difficult. For those feeling trapped in a loveless or abusive relationship the answers may not be so easy. Struggling with an unfulfilling work life or feeling regret over choosing the wrong path can leave us bitter, thinking that we’ve wasted years that we could have been doing something else. How do we deal with these psychological or emotional wounds without eating our fellow fish because we are under fed?
I believe that action is the best cure for those who are not well fed. Recognizing that we cannot and should not rely on others for our happiness, we have to move forward in ways that DO feed us. You may not be able to quit your job and open a surf shop in the Caribbean, but you can create a plan for when and how you will do it. You can’t force your mate to be what you want, but you can cultivate other fulfilling relationships with friends, yourself and your God while you determine if staying in the relationship or leaving it is the right course of action.
There is no boat full of fish food coming along to placate any of us. Whatever it is that may be eating you, act now to fill that space before you eat up others. Feed yourself! You are the only one who can.