Have you ever kept an onion so long it grew green shoots? A few months ago I had one that sprouted stems a foot long. Rather than throwing it away I decided to plant it. Since potting it I’ve done nothing but water it periodically. About a week ago while leaving the house I noticed what looked like a seedpod had grown at the top of a three-foot high stalk. Coming home one evening the pod had blossomed into tiny, delicate white flowers. They are exquisite.
So often when something starts to go wrong or crisis strikes I feel compelled to immediately respond. Massive intervention before things get worse seems like the only prudent course of action. But of late, I’ve held myself back. Not the kind of procrastination where I'm avoiding dealing with an issue or am paralyzed by indecision. I intentionally take time to study and consider alternatives and at times consult with a friend or trusted advisor.
In doing so I’ve spared myself considerable emotional turmoil.
Some of the questions I ask myself before responding to a challenge are:
- Is there really a problem here?
- What is the challenge and what are its roots?
- Is it as big as I think it is? Put another way, will it make any difference a week, month, or year from now?
- If I get overly caught up in dealing with the issue, what other things will I be prevented from doing?
- Can I have a positive impact on the resolution?
- Will it distract me from the priorities in my life?
Living an intentional life might lead you to think you must intervene anytime something happens that isn't in line with your plans. But maybe this alternative path will get you where you want to go just as well as the original. Or maybe it will take you to a better place.
While neglecting a significant relationship challenge or the need to change a negative habit is rarely if ever productive, most of life’s challenges are not at that level. Benign neglect can often solve minor problems as well as intervention can and with a smaller investment of time and emotion.
Consider letting the onion slide. Maybe it will bloom into a beautiful white flower on its own.
What are your criteria for deciding to intervene in a problem? Please comment below.
© , Kevin S. Bemel, All Rights Reserved
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