“Hey,” said my husband. “There’s a water spot on the ceiling.”
It was roughly the size of a quarter. Small, but not overly concerning. Still, we walked down to the basement – and there, too, found a tiny puddle of water. Huh. Back up to the coat closet in the hall, where we noticed some bowing in the crown molding on the very back. We looked at each other and then immediately called the plumber’s emergency number.
And now today, in the brand new house where I’ve lived for roughly a month, there are contractors and plumbers downstairs figuring out how to fix and replace a broken pipe – along with the hallway floor, the closet, and the living room ceiling that were damaged by the leak.
Small symptoms. Big problem. (And praise Jesus for the warranties!)
But it brought to mind for me the way that, wrapped up as we all are in the daily business of living, we miss the small signs in our behavior and in the behavior of others that might indicative something is amiss. A friend isn’t talking as much as they usually do, or they skip a few lunch dates. You forget your Bible study for a few days. A church member wells up in tears during a service. You keep meaning to sit down and have a proper prayer time, but you never quite manage it. The person you know who always reaches out to everyone has suddenly stopped.
And sometimes little problems are just that: little. A missed prayer really is just a blip in the routine, or an unexpected outburst from a friend is merely the result of a bad day. Maybe a church member missed a few services because they were out on vacation. But sometimes the opposite is true, and the little problems are indicative of a larger issue in our personal or spiritual lives.
Want to know something funny? If it hadn’t been for my husband, I’d never have seen the water spot. I simply don’t look up at the ceiling that much. And isn’t that true of life in general? We’re so preoccupied from getting from point A to point B that everything else going on just seems like minor details.
But please, do sweat the small things. If you see small lapses or moments of disconnection in your spiritual life, probe what they mean and what’s causing it. If you notice some small or minor shifts in a friend or fellow church member, you don’t necessarily even have to mention it or interrogate them – just keep an eye on things and be there if they need you.
Sometimes little problems are nothing. But sometimes they’re an indication of a bigger issue at the source, and one that needs to be dealt with sooner rather than later. Keep your wits about you, and train your attention on the world around you – either to help serve others, or to discipline yourself as you continue to grow in the Spirit.