So this week’s post was supposed to be about all my tremendous learnings from a leadership conference from the first week of the month, but we are going to have to call a major audible.
After getting just “owned” by the kids these last of weeks and feeling lighter on patience than we have in a long time, my wife and I agreed that this week’s post was about the age-old idiom:
There’s no use crying over spilled milk…
Defined as: getting upset over something that already happened, that cannot be changed
Couldn’t actually find the origin of the phrase but it seems hundreds of years old, because some guy names James Howell was talking about it as early as 1659.
So it is that since the 1600s and probably before that, people were still fussing over that which they cannot control, still fretting over something that cannot be undone… only now responded to.
I have a feeling that when it comes to control in the chaos (seeming anyway), we have permission to go much further back than that!
But before going back in time, let us begin in the year of our Lord 2017, the summer of which has been filled with much “fun and excitement”…
Sometimes the kids get into things… here’s a wrap sheet from 1.5 days this past week, Let us count the blessings:
- The toddlers dip into the BBQ grease pan and trounce the patio with it. For those who are unfamiliar, this grease it is an incredibly intense sludge that leaves permanent stains to all wood and concrete that it comes into contact with…
- One of the toddlers, who will remain nameless… SHEPHERD decides to sprint for the white sofa covered nearly head to toe in fresh mud (yes, after being told to stop and wait at the door)
- This same, said toddler, was found atop the refrigerator digging into a bottle of kids probiotics and a bag of chocolate chips (both hidden and tucked to the back of the fridge) at approximately 6:10 am while I was sitting on the toilet. Note to parents and prospective parents: always remember just not to go to the bathroom by yourself anymore after your kids have reached a certain age… turns out they are very curious, very precocious… in the case of this kid-downright mischievous.
- And yes of course there has been untold numbers of rice bowl flip flops left and right on the kitchen floor, juices, waters and milks
All of this on top of our garden variety stuff….
We get called in twice a month now to visit our foster baby’s birth mom-always a bit of a harrowing experience-she is a raw and broken woman and yet we are called to pray for her and love her.
We got 5 kids, two of which are, what we call, twin toddlers, one 7-month old that still hasn’t figured out how to put themselves to sleep- go figure?! And to top it all, Rylee has just been just exhausted… you’d think she was pregnant or something…
But all of those things up there are just a prime example of… say it with me people…
So seriously what is the freaking fuss about?!
Rice can be picked up or swept up (sticky by painful stickiness as it may be), we have all the paper towels in the world from Costco for the other messes, we have a washer machine (for now) that gets to work on the couch cushions and, well, a backyard that is precisely that-an outdoor space for wreaking havoc on!
But I guess it’s just fun to fuss, isn’t it…?
It’s necessary to vent and piss and moan, isn’t it…?
I don’t know, but I honestly must feel that way for how much crankiness and drama I put out in response to each one of their “spills.”
Here’s the best I can figure and here’s your leadership lesson (leading in love, leading in work or leading in life):
1, is learning to call it what it is (spilt milk)
It’s just a circumstantial (momentary) reality that hasn’t taken a life or crippled or maimed you in any serious way.
If it’s spilt milk, it means that its small potatoes in the grand scheme of things. Be willing to put those “small potatoes” in context and proper proportion of how much they are allowed to impact you.
2, accepting that you cannot control
This is 12-steps classic right here, but anyone in recovery will tell you that this is step 1. Why? Because it’s just that important and it’s the proper starting place!
Stop trying to skip steps and definitely stop trying to control something that ALREADY HAPPENED! The best and sweetest (and most peaceful!) place we can all submit ourselves to be is in relinquishing control.
3, control what you can… your response
My wife’s best prescription? Laughter.
And I’m inclined to agree with her… I just take myself too darn seriously sometimes! So lets agree to CUT IT OUT! And just laugh at that ridiculous blouse-ending grease stain… what’s our favorite article of clothing anyway, but TOTALLY REPLACEABLE!?
So whether you laugh or take 3 big breaths or have a quick walk or say a prayer, your response matters a lot.
It matters for your own personal compounding stress; it matters for collateral damage (in those around you) and it matters in terms of your faith. And that brings me to the final thing I’ll say…
As much as these are the “small potatoes” and “spilt milk” incidents of life, they are not incidental.
Our lives are built on the small moments.
After all, that is what our lives are composed of, in the end, aren’t they? An incredible tapestry of all the small moments.
And take hope, because I’ve also been reminded on more than one occasion that our God is the God of small moments. That’s where he’s doing his work, building our faith, establishing our legacy and building those who are following us.