Symptoms are loud and urgent.
In your face, demanding to be noticed and dealt with.
And sometimes all that is needed is symptomatic relief
A painkiller. A band aid. A quick way out of a problem.
We like treating symptoms.
It makes us feel like we are solving problems quickly and
Its easy to measure whether we have been successful or not.
But not every dilemma has a simple solution.
Indeed complexity must be dealt with complexity
And certain emergencies will keep happening again and again
Until it becomes a routine. Like clockwork.
And it is then that we can see that the symptoms
Are really just a mask of an underlying problem that will fester and persist
Unless otherwise dealt with.
Causes of problems are not always obvious,
They may be uncomfortable to deal with and hard to understand
And to be honest we may not actually want to know some of these causes
Because its all too easy to identify surface level issues
And use those as a scapegoat for all that’s out of place in the world.
It is definitely easier to blame the usual suspects
Than it is to carefully examine things and uncover that we ourselves may have been part of the problem.
Symptoms are straightforward and often need a single intervention.
Its the stuff of superheroes who sweep in at just the right moment to save the day,
Punch all the bad guys in all the right places to send them reeling
And pretty much handle the situation without having to do much deep level thinking.
But causes are messy and we may not have an answer to clean it all up.
Its a harder, less romantic job to do, but if we are to be honest in our work and relationships
We spend too much time dealing with symptoms
Than working on causes
To our own detriment. And to the detriment of the people that we love and serve
And just knowing that could be the beginning of the change that is needed.
So what are you dealing with, symptoms or causes?