“Don’t cry over spilt milk.” Seriously?

(This post was originally published on August 20, 2008.  I’m trying to recreate my lost archives.)

dscf1430Maybe your children are cleaner than mine, but I honestly think that we average about 5 spills a day at my house.  Milk, cereal bowls, yogurt, toothpaste, boxes of anything small and impossible to pick up, the list goes on and on. Here is a picture taken just today of a routine cereal box tumble.  Is this kind of clumsiness really necessary?  I’ve thought about this long and hard because it boggles my mind about why God would want this spill routine to be a part of my daily experience.  And, let’s be honest; He probably doesn’t want it to be, but He allows it to be.  That usually means there’s a lesson to be learned.

  1. We have to clean up our own messes. I think it’s important that my children know that whether we were careless or intentional, we need to make it better.  Let’s work together and clean up.  I know a few adults (and I’m sure you do too) that don’t accept responsibility for their mistakes and then leave all the fixing to someone else.  I believe that our Heavenly Father looks at our mistakes with mercy, but He wants us to be accountable for them and do all in our power to make it better.  And just like a mom will be by your side to help you pick up the pieces when you spill, He will be by our side picking up the pieces of our own mistakes if we turn to Him for help.
  2. Maybe my plans aren’t that important. A big part of the frustration for me is that every time there’s another spill I have to spend 10-15 minutes cleaning it up instead of doing something else I think I should be doing.  Is it possible that Heavenly Father is giving me a gentle reminder over and over again that what I think I have to do doesn’t matter that much?  I doubt he considers cleaning up the spill a monumental task with eternal consequences, but why are my own plans any more important?  So maybe each spill is just a little “get over your own agenda” reminder.
  3. Be patient. I mean, seriously, if mushy cereal on my kitchen floor is among the greatest trials in my life, I really need to put a smile back on my face and move on with my day.  Remember how the scripture says “charity is kind, patient, long-suffering, etc.”?; I’m sure there’s a footnote in there somewhere that says, “and charity wipes up spills with a smile.”  Ugh.  I’ll work on that.  I’m sure I’ll have the chance again tomorrow.

Happy Easter, everyone.  Check back on Sunday (probably evening) for Round 1 of General Conference Book Club.