There has been a fly that has been flying around my head for the past two days. I’ve been working from my kitchen table, and this little pest keeps deciding that my shoulders and the back of my head are the perfect places to rest its little arms. I hear it buzzing around, and it’s annoying. Not just annoying, distracting.
So today, after two days, I did it.
I killed a fly.
It’s such a little thing. This fly is tiny. And yet it has distracted me for the past two days.
But I didn’t do anything about it.
I didn’t do anything about it because it felt like such a small thing, it didn’t demand my attention.
This fly, in its own sort of way, was an elephant in the room. Everyone knows it’s there, but no one is going to address it.
This past week, I talked to a friend of mine on the phone almost every day. I could tell with the tone of his voice, the way he didn’t respond well to things I told him, that something was on his mind, distracting him. He was clearly going through something. Maybe it was minor, maybe it was major. But I decided not to say anything.
I’m not even sure, to be honest. But it felt easier, in the short term, to ignore it. I could have had this solved and cleared up a week ago, but I decided to wait, not bother with it, for a whole week.
That’s what I did with that fly.
When something is so small, we can take for granted just how much it affects our day to day life. How much time did I waste thinking about that fly, swatting it away, or just plain staring at it in hatred? (I did that last one a bit too much.)
How much friendship capital did I burn by not asking my friend what was going on in his life?
Maybe it doesn’t actually amount to much. That fly was only around for two days. I’ve been friends with him for long enough that not asking if he’s okay for only one week shouldn’t amount to much.
I talked to my friend and indeed, it wasn’t something big. We talked over it and turned out, the misunderstanding was cleared up in one brief conversation.
This time, the elephant in the room turned out to be pretty small.
But you really don’t know.
The small things add up to big things.
What may have started as a week of not asking “Are you okay?” can lead to a month of not asking. Which can lead to a year, or a lifetime.
The little things turn into big things before you know it. So catch them before they take over. That elephant will hang out in the corner, trumpeting and trumpeting, until you finally address it.
What are you doing to not let these little things control your life?
Are you going to address the elephant in the room?