Wick, or: Lazarus, come forth

Our elusive goldfish, Lazarus, decided to make an appearance while Ron was cleaning the pond today. I didn’t get a picture, but oh, my goodness, he’s beautiful.

Laz was the last survivor of a school of four feeder goldfish I bought about a year ago. Ironically, he’d always looked sickly — an eye problem here, missing scales there — but somehow he was the last man standing.

A few days after I put him into the pond last spring, he just … vanished.

We searched that pond over and over, and that little fish just flat wasn’t in there, so we quit feeding him and gave him up for dead.

Several weeks later, I came home feeling very sorry for myself, ready to give up my volunteer work for Route 66 over a combination of factors that had me frustrated to the point of tears.

I walked out into the backyard that evening … and saw the water hyacinth in the pond blooming for the first (and only) time in its life. As I went to get a closer look, I saw a flash of orange and white dart through the water.

I gasped. No way. My previously unnamed fish was alive and well and three times bigger than he’d been the last time I’d seen him. We christened him “Lazarus” in honor of his apparent resurrection.

I took his sudden reappearance as a message from God: That which the world would give up for dead is very much alive.

Of course I couldn’t give up on 66, no matter how frustrated I was. So I redoubled my efforts and wound up having a summer filled with wonderful Route 66 projects that blessed me — and many others — in all sorts of unexpected ways.

Lazarus has disappeared and reappeared several more times over the past few months, surviving against what seem to be insurmountable odds. He’s my gorgeous little reminder never to give up, no matter what material conditions seem to suggest.

To quote my favorite song from “The Secret Garden”:

When a thing is wick, it has a life about it.
Now, maybe not a life like you and me.
But somewhere there’s a single streak of green inside it.
Come, and let me show you what I mean.

When a thing is wick, it has a light around it.
Maybe not a light that you can see.
But hiding down below a spark’s asleep inside it,
Waiting for the right time to be seen.