Little Problems

Sometimes you have a little problem and you don’t fix it and then all of a sudden it ain’t a little problem any more.” Cormac McCarthy, No Country For Old Men


A stick of dynamite starts out as absorbent earth soaked in nitroglycerin. 

What was once inactive dirt now has the authority to destroy.

Things in life happen to us and these things bring their friends like unwanted company. These matters of life can be issues, disagreements, fights, poor choices of our own, tragedies, or maybe even acts of God. 

The event horizon at which these things occur is what I like to call little problems

The dirt before the dynamite. 

We have to have something to sweep before it can go under the rug. 

The occurrence of a little problem is the exact moment when we need to buckle down and face it. Right then. This may not mean pulverizing a circumstance to our will but merely having a tough conversation. Opening up in the face of possible hurt instead of closing up in defense can diffuse a problem while it is still relatively small.   

Little problems tempt us to walk away and leave them for the other person, party, or God to clean up. This feels easier. It may even feel like justice for a small moment but this act of ignorance and fear is sowing a seed that will grow seemingly undetected to one day rear its ugly head when you think you are doing just fine. 

Walking away and refusing to confront what must be fixed is giving a circumstance that could be resolved and employed to make us wiser the authority to destroy down the road.  

We pour nitroglycerin into the dirt and then wonder how a stick of dynamite wound up lit in our hand. 

When we ignore something that has happened to us we don’t just block it out one singular time. It is a continuous act of ignorance every day that leads us to make choices in defense of what we think we can not deal with. This creates a series of bigger problems that become more and more difficult to block out. This vicious cycle becomes plain as day to everyone but us.  

If we are unwilling to have an honest conversation or confront a hurtful issue then we are forfeiting authority to these external situations. Future opportunities that are seeking to engage our potential can have the legs cut out from under them when we refuse to look at a problem for what it is.  

Our ignorance of a present issue can create a past that prohibits the future. 

The benefits of confronting a little problem outweigh the costs every single time. 

Communication, confrontation, and stark honesty are our guiding lights when trouble attempts togrow to tower and shadow the path.

Admitting that we are hurt, broken, knowing that we deserve healing, and allowing ourselves the time to heal is how we face what we once thought we could not handle. 

Being vulnerable in the midst of a broken world is a practice and fight that takes time to engrain. Vulnerability gives us the strength to be present in the exact moment a problem needs to be faced. Once we develop a stance of being actionably vulnerable it removes the power of every day affronts to become thorns in our side because we have burned the rug that we once cached our fear beneath. 

This does not ensure a life without hurt but it can make a life of healing possible. 

Little problems do not stay little for long and this is why we must never choose to stay hidden in the dark. Not even infinity has time to afford ignorance. So let’s not give it another moment to gain a foothold. 

Rhett NolandComment