My mother was very Irish. So with this being the month of St. Patrick’s Day I find that I recall her very Irish ways. My mother had a story for everything. She believed in magic. She believed in curses. She had many superstitions. And she had a saying for almost anything. When things would go wrong and there was no way to fix them, she would just remind us to move on as it was a waste of time to cry over spilled milk.
I realized this was never more true than on a certain day 30 years ago, when my 4 year old son was walking from the kitchen down the 5 steps to our game room carrying a glass of milk. Just a few days before brand new carpeting had been installed in the room. As he started down the stairs, I stopped him and suggested that I carry the glass so he didn’t spill it on the new carpeting.
He gave me a cross look suggesting that he didn’t like that I didn’t trust him and he reluctantly handed the glass over to me. I walked down the steps and as I reached the bottom, my foot slipped and I began to fall. In an effort to brace myself I let go of the glass and the milk soared through the air covering the new carpeting as well as the couch, a table and one wall. My mother’s words came rushing into my mind, as my anger and frustration melted to embarrassment and then laughter. I knew it would be a long time before my son would let me forget this, there really was no reason to cry over spilled milk. Just clean it up and move on.
How often in life do we mourn and suffer over things we can’t change? How often do we lament past failures? There are so many life challenges that we can’t control, but we can always control how we react to them. All the choices we have made in our lives have brought us to where we are today. We have traded our days for the choices we have made. We can continue to cry over the past or we can choose to control our future by choosing to trade the days to come for something more. We can spend our days crying over spilled milk or we can clean it up and move on. Seems to me cleaning it up and moving on is the better choice.