The Sumida Aquarium in Tokyo, Japan recently made an unusual request. They sent out a plea for people to FaceTime or video call the garden eels that have an exhibit in their aquarium. Over the past few years, these eels have grown accustomed to visitors to the aquarium. They have gained popularity among the patrons of the aquarium and one couple even held their wedding in front of the eel exhibit.
Then the pandemic hit. The aquarium was closed to visitors for the past year and the eels have retreated to hiding in the sand of their habitat. Due to their isolation, it has become difficult for the aquarium staff to check the eels’ heath as they hide in the sand. The staff is having difficulty determining if the eels are reproducing in order to keep their species alive within the aquarium. Isolation is harming the health of the eels.
Therefore, the staff has asked people to FaceTime, or video call the eels. In five-minute increments, individuals can call and talk to the eels. The aquarium staff is hoping that the voice and presence of those calling will motivate the eels to climb out of the and reengage with the outside world. They are hoping the eels will leave their isolation and become social once again.
We can learn a lesson from these garden eels. We are also not meant to live in isolation. From the very beginning of time, God has said it was not good for man to be alone. We need each other. We need to live in community. We need the encouragement and support of others. We need the love and kindness of those around us. We need their physical, emotional and spiritual presence. We also need to give to others. As we receive the blessings of community, we are called to bless others through the love and kindness we can offer them. We need to serve others and use what God has blessed us with in order to bless others. We need the “give and take” of community life in order to thrive in the life that God has called us to live in His Kingdom.
Isolation isn’t good for eels, and it isn’t good for us. We need community. We need the presence of others as they need our presence in our lives. Commit to community. Commit to being present in the lives of your friends and family. Commit to using your talents to be the blessing that someone needs to experience in their life.
You were made for community and community was made for you. Enjoy the blessings of community as God uses others and you to grow and further His Kingdom.