Here is a recent scenario that happened to me. It perfectly illustrates cause and effect. I have been busy renovating my house for the past several months and recently have been painting the outside of my old home. One day I developed a sore right foot and when I had a bath later that evening I noticed a painful red sore on the sole of that same foot. I treated this promptly with tea tree oil and a plaster. I checked the shoe for a rose thorn or nail but found nothing.
After a few days, the pain would not go away. Each time I climbed up the ladder and placed my right foot on a rung, I felt a sharp pain in my foot. That’s when I decided to take a much closer look at the bottom of my shoe and found a tiny panel pin that had worked its way into the sole. It was the primary cause and it was partially hidden. I could only feel a sharp prick when I placed my hand in the shoe and applied pressure.
Once I removed the tiny pin I no longer had any pain and my foot healed fine. You are probably thinking, “Why didn’t he look carefully right away?” Well, I did, but when I looked much more carefully I saw the tiny head on the panel pin (a very small nail). It was barely visible on first inspection and could only feel the pain under pressure. Leaving the panel pin in my shoe was the maintaining cause of the pain. I just didn’t know it at the time.
The moral of this story is that if you don’t immediately find a cause, you need to continue to look very carefully for the hidden cause. You may initially glance right over the cause when you first look at a problem, just like I did. There is always a cause, but sometimes it is not that obvious – even when it is staring you right in the face. That’s why most people miss the cause and just end up treating the effect.
On other occasions, things are right there in front of us but we don’t see them! Have you ever been in your kitchen and looked for the can opener or a particular knife and couldn’t find it, but it was right there in front of you, staring right at you from its normal spot on the counter?
Sometimes the solution to our problem is staring us right in the face but we have become blind due to familiarity. And at other times we know what the cause is but just ignore it for some reason, like the person who keeps on drinking and is in denial. I once spoke to a pharmacist’s wife when she brought me her 11-year-old son. He had a major yeast infection but had also been on an antibiotic almost continually for eighteen months due to an unresolved cough and cold.
The truth is often easier to find an identify than you think. Sometimes you simply need a second set of eyes (or ears) to look at or hear your story – to ask the right questions. Once you’re thinking on the right path, you’ll be able to find the right course of treatment.