Becoming Bigger Than Your Problem

Dear Reader:

Remembering my grandmother’s words of wisdom are becoming easier and easier…much more so than remembering something that recently happened or even happened just a few years ago. Age brings with it… lots and lots of memory hiccups and idiosyncrasies. Of this there is no doubt…since I find myself experiencing these lapses more frequently.

One popular bit of advice Grandmother told me rather frequently was to remember to “Become bigger than your problems.” As a child I never really “got” this statement…I would just nod wisely like I understood but I was clueless. Since I took the advice literally and was always physically “vertically challenged” I never could quite decipher how I was suppose to grow bigger than my problem.

Today, of course, I realize that the statement had nothing to do with physical growth…but everything to do with intellectual growth coupled with faith & trust.

Today, whenever, I bump into a problem that causes me stress, it tells me that I need to grow myself so that I can deal with it. In other words, ‘Don’t wish for things to get better, make yourself better!’

I love this analogy on problems and water… re-told by Madeleine L’Engle ….

“Become a Lake”

An aging Hindu master grew tired of his apprentice complaining, and so, one morning, sent him for some salt. When the apprentice
returned, the master instructed the unhappy young man to put a handful of salt in a glass of water and then to drink it.
“How does it taste?” the master asked. “Bitter,” spit the apprentice.

The master then asked the young man to take another handful of salt and put it in the lake nearby. Once the apprentice swirled
his handful of salt in the water, the old man said, “Now drink from the lake.”
As the water dripped down the young man’s chin, the master asked, “How does it taste?” “Fresh,” remarked the apprentice.

“Do you taste the salt?” asked the master. “No,” said the young man.
At this, the master took the young man’s hands, offering, “The pain of life is pure salt; no more, no less. The amount of pain
in life remains exactly the same. However, the amount of bitterness we taste depends on the container we put the pain in.

So when you are in pain, the only thing you can do is to enlarge your sense of self, of being . “STOP BEING A GLASS. BECOME A LAKE.”


Aren’t problems always lessened when we talk to family or friends about them and get some advisory options to pursue? Instead of just “me” against the “giant” problem, it is now “we.” What a sense of relief it is to go into combat with friends who have our backs.

Now if we can also, understand that God is beside us to guide us….and in us…to hear us….than suddenly we finally understand that  God is everywhere and  we are never alone in facing any obstacles. God is always larger than any problem! The universe lives in us.

I like this “a-ha” moment J.D. Salinger shared once during an interview.

I was six when I saw that everything was God, and my hair stood up tall…. It was on a Sunday, I remember. My sister was a tiny child then, and she was drinking her milk, and all of a sudden I saw that she was God and the milk was God. I mean, all she was doing was pouring God into God, if you know what I mean. ~J.D. Salinger

So until tomorrow…

When we pour God into God He grows and when we pour our hearts out to Him about a problem…God pours into us and we grow…larger than our challenges.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Today is the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day!!!!!!

Did you know that the same letters that are found in HEART are found in EARTH? Coincidence…how about a God Wink.

God created our home…it is up to us to be (much) better stewards of it for all living creatures inhabiting earth…humans included. 🙂

Jackson’s son, Matthew, is a professor at Princeton and obviously doing a lot more on-line work these days…made a little more difficult with Chaski…but also so much more enjoyable! Isn’t he adorable?

He reminds me of Petey with the Our Gang (Spanky and Gang)  series of the 30’s! ) 🙂


…And speaking of dogs…this photo (taken about five years ago)…when Rutledge was two playing “tug of war” with a stick with Poogie is priceless! …Poogie always, always won! Still does!


Isn’t it strange how certain scenarios can take us right back to a desk in school? Yesterday the sky was a beautiful shade of blue…with no clouds to be seen…except later in the afternoon…just one…one seemingly lonely cloud.

You got it…immediately the first line of William Wordsworth’s famous poem came rushing back….

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;



About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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6 Responses to Becoming Bigger Than Your Problem

  1. Rachel Edwards says:

    My Mother used to tell me that “I wore my heart on my arm sleeve’ and “not to stop in the middle of the road”. As a young girl I had no clue what she meant but now I do….and she was right.


    • Becky Dingle says:

      I think it is always better to have more heart…no matter where…than less… and we always feel more accomplished if we cross the difficult roads ahead of us instead of stopping short and denying ourselves a sense of total fulfillment!


  2. Your words always fill my soul when I need them—thank you💕


    • Becky Dingle says:

      oh…what a delight to the day…it’s Lisa! So wonderful to hear from you! Now you made my day and lifted my soul…funny how it works that way!


  3. Lynn Gamache says:

    Yes, remembering words from our childhood….more wonderful it seems as the years pass by! Words of wisdom like: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”. To further explain I was given the example of someone wearing a new dress and asking how I liked it? If I was having a difficult time saying that I didn’t know that I liked the dress, then maybe justs comment that the colour was lovely or the buttons were unique (hoping this would maybe be true even if I thought the dress was quite unbecoming or downright ugly). And apart from clothes, this can apply to so many other areas of life too,,,,emphasize the positive and commend this and leave the negative behind for now.


    • Becky Dingle says:

      We wouldn’t have so much squabbling on the news if the old ‘words of wisdom’ were still practiced in today’s society….In fact many televised shows would have to go off the air “If they couldn’t say something nice”….there would be nothing left for these shows to talk about. 🙂


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