Symptoms and Causes

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?




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