I had a very profound thought the other day while listening to that song “Joy to the World (Jeremiah was a Bullfrog)” by Three Dog Night.
I was a bit over-emotional due to some recent tragedies in the world of my fish tank. I recently added a Small Rubbernose Pleco to the miniature eco-system on the “expert” advice of a pet store employee that he was a vegetarian and was safe to be housed with my tetras. I am really not sure if I was given poor advice or if I just found an ill-tempered sociopath. Either way, he viciously caused the death of at least 3 fish by biting their fins off. The deaths were all slow and painful and left the fish handicapped but still kicking for weeks, during which time they were at his mercy to be attacked again and again.
I had just discovered the brutal maiming of my favorite fish moments after it happened, while there was still blood in the water… and a few minutes later that song came on the radio. And it REALLY got me to thinking when the singer got to the part about “joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea”… That the bigger fish’s joy is often eating the littler fish; and that is not so joyful to the little fish.
And it occurred to me that the amount of good that exists in this world is in direct proportion to the amount of bad.
Without those bad things to compare them to, it doesn’t matter how “good” something would be considered by our imperfect world’s standards… in that “perfect” world they would only be considered neutral.
Without bad, there can be no good. Without horrible, there can be no wonderful.
So the answer to that age old question “Why does God let bad things happen?” It is so that GOOD things can happen.
(Mind you, I am agnostic. But this new perspective is transferable to life as a whole. I mean, as far as my fish are concerned, *I* am God. And I am letting bad things happen to them by not striking down the pleco.)
I want to tell you a true story. A story of something small and insignificant yet at the same time defied all odds and touched me in a way that I hope I never forget.
It happened about 3 years ago but somehow I never sat down to write about it until now. I was sitting in a little pizza shop and engaged in random conversation about odds and ends. I don’t remember how the topic of rainbows even came up, but I do remember going on a mini-rant about how stupid I thought it was that rainbows were always drawn as one huge arch that went across the entire sky and touched the ground at two places. I am pretty sure I brought leprechauns and their pot of gold into the conversation.
My whole life, every rainbow I had ever seen was only half an arch that went from the middle of the sky to the ground. I didn’t think the full arched rainbows existed, that they were just and urban myth. I had never seen an actual photograph of one and I had never heard anyone I know say they had seen one either… until then. One of the people I was with said that they had seen the full arched rainbows before. That they were rare, but they did exist.
It made me curious and I intended to look it up online when I got home to see pictures of the miraculous sight. But I didn’t have to. As we walked out of the pizza shop, there one was. It was glorious, taking up the entire visible portion of the sky and touching down in two places. I was frozen looking at it. I sort of felt like someone had just punched me in the chest.
What must the statistical odds be that the very first time I ever see this optical illusion in the sky would occur within minutes of that conversation? They must be astronomical. With those kinds of odds, how could it be mere coincidence? I couldn’t help but feel like it was there just for me. And it really made me wonder what was out there listening to me.
I am agnostic. I do not believe in some sort of sentient, omnipotent god and actually find the concept of one completely absurd. But I DO think there is something more out there than what science has proven so far. And moments like this… make me wonder exactly what that something more might be