There is an idiom that says not to cry over spilt milk. There is no use crying over a past loss or something that cannot be undone or changed. This saying came to mind when my car broke down the other week. I had to be towed and after taking a look under the hood the car was not worth fixing and had to be salvaged. As I emptied the contents out of my vehicle I noticed that I had only gone 15 miles on a full tank of gas! We asked the mechanic if we could siphon out the gas somehow. It was impossible and we abandoned the car with a full tank.
It was bad enough that now we needed to purchase another vehicle but it really bothered me that I had just filled up the tank the night before the car died. It hurt. I was annoyed at what had happened. I was dwelling on it and realized it was only spilt milk. I had to mop it up and move on.
The other container of milk that spilled was the fact that my car broke down because it needed a new timing belt. We had the timing belt replaced 16 months ago by a different garage. This mechanic showed us the current timing belt that needed replacing…dry rotted and missing “teeth”. There was no way that this was a belt that was only 16 months old yet we had the receipt from the work showing it had supposedly been done. We called the previous mechanic but it was already over 12 months and 12,000 miles so it was no longer covered and it was his word against ours that it had indeed been replaced. We could argue but it didn’t seem like it would get us anywhere and could drag on or we could simply mop up the milk and move on.
Even regarding cancer it would be easy to say, “I should have eaten better or exercised more or ….” and maybe it would have made a difference. As parents we regret some of things we did or didn’t do in raising our children. There are so many areas of our lives; education decisions, job choices, something that was said or shouldn’t have been said, a purchase we made, an opportunity not acted upon, etc. etc. etc. Yes, the choices we make in life do have an impact on our life but once made cannot be retracted. The thing to look at is how we go on from there. Do you chose to move on or are you living with regret with the “What if’s” and “I should/shouldn’t have” ? It’s spilt milk. Mop it up by dealing with the consequences and then move on.
My full tank of gas and a mechanic’s error are really minor in comparison to major things to move on from; for me they were big at the moment. Finances are very tight right now and it hurt. Not only would I need to purchase another car but I would have to fill it up again! I could have let it really get to me and get me down for a few days but I chose to see it as spilt milk and move on. One thing I did to turn this into something positive was I purchased Conquer Cancer license plates for my “new” (ha ha 17 years old) replacement vehicle. I feel like I’m continuing to kick cancer’s butt each time I approach my car and glance at my plates. I haven’t been able to participate in a walkathon but most of the plate fee and 100% of the minimal annual renewal fee goes to cancer research.
Matthew West has a song called “Hello, my name is.” The first stanza is “Hello, my name is regret. I’m pretty sure we have met. Every single day of your life I’m the whisper inside that won’t let you forget.” He goes on to say that listening to those voices and lies causes defeat in our lives and that we can be set free by who we are in Christ adding, “I am no longer defined by all the wreckage behind.” Watch it here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuJWQzjfU3o
“Forget the things that happened in the past. Do not keep on thinking about them. I am about to do something new. It is beginning to happen even now. Don’t you see it coming? I am going to make a way for you to go through the desert. I will make streams of water in the dry and empty land.” Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIRV) Why live with regret whispering in your ear when we can have hope for something new and different with the Lord? No more crying over spilt milk! Mop it up and move on.