I tell you that on the day of judgment people will have to account for every careless word they speak. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:36-37
It gets really hot in North Florida. When I write these stories I try and remember things that happened in my youth and sometimes they are just funny. When I was about eight years old, my mom and dad were always looking for ways to save a little money. I didn’t know if we were rich or poor and most of the time, I didn’t care. Sometimes it was obvious but most of the time, it was just normal.
I’m not sure how we started, but we began to buy our milk from a family that lived about a mile from us. It wasn’t really a dairy farm, it was more like they had three or four cows. We would go over twice a week and buy a gallon in big half-gallon glass jugs. And let me tell you…this wasn’t that pasteurized stuff we drink today. It was straight from the cow. And one more thing, it wasn’t 2%, or 1%, or skim milk. No sir, this stuff came fully loaded with milk fat. It was good. We had an old ice cream churn, the kind you had to crank, and this milk made the best ice cream you have ever tasted. It was always a special day when we went and got milk. And then one day it wasn’t.
We were still driving that old 1957 Plymouth and it was time to get milk. I think Mama was driving and one of my sisters was in the front seat and the other in the back with me. Those were the days before seat belts and rules about kids not sitting up front. In fact, in those days dashboards were made out of metal. Anyway, we got to the home where they sold the milk. Mama paid the lady and I was to carry the milk to the car and carefully put it on the floorboard in the backseat. It was a good plan…almost.
The milk jugs had little handles on the top near the neck of the jug. I picked up the jugs, one in each hand and headed to the car. I put the jugs down on the ground and opened the back door. I turned around and picked up one of the jugs and set it on the floorboard. Then I turned around to get the second jug and put it next to the other. You know, next is a nice word. It means close to. Well, I swung that ole jug through the door and well, you might say I got it just a little too close to the other one. There was a sound of glass hitting glass and one of the jugs busted wide open and that nice fresh milk spilled all over the carpeted (remember that) floorboard. Bummer.
Mama came over and of course was upset about the wasted milk. I was too, but you know what they say, “There’s no use crying over spilt milk.” That is true, however, things were going to get worse before they got better. I suppose we bought another half-gallon of milk and headed for the house. Once there I did my best to clean up the spilt milk. The problem was twofold, there was carpet and then, like they did back then, there was also a thick pad underneath that carpet. You could do what you wanted to, but there was no way all that milk was coming out of that carpet and pad.
Remember, I told you that it was really hot in North Florida. Well, by the next morning there was a strange odor in the whole car and it got worse and worse. By the end of the first day the smell of sour milk made it just about impossible to sit in the car. We already had the windows down because there was no air conditioning, but even that didn’t stop the odor. The breeze from the open windows made it better, but when Mama or Daddy hit a stop light, Katie bar the door…it smelled awful. For days and days our 1957 Plymouth smelled horrible. I’m pretty sure I was not winning any family member popularity contests for the next couple of weeks. The smell lasted long after the accident…oh boy did it.
Have you ever broken a jug of milk in your car before? Well, probably not, but let me ask you this. Have you ever done something wrong, something that hurt someone, something that broke someone’s heart? If so, you probably know what this story is about. You see when we get all fired up and make bad choices with big regrets, it doesn’t just go away…oh no…it lingers and lingers and lingers. And you know and I know, sometimes the scar just stays forever. I know we shouldn’t cry over spilt milk, but maybe we should shed a few tears over broken hearts, hearts broken by our hands or voices.
I sure wish I had been more careful that day. I know I was just a kid, but I was old enough to be careful. My careless behavior caused a big stink and it was a stink we all had to endure. Maybe, like me, we should be more careful with our actions and our words each day. If we would, it might save a few hearts and a few big stinks. The Bible says that we will have to give an account for every word and every action that we say or do. Do you know what? If I would have asked, my big sister would have helped me that day…Mama would have too. But, I thought I could handle it. Sometimes, we think that way in life too. Why not ask for a little help from your Heavenly Father before the milk gets spilt? Ask and He will help you the rest of the way. You can count on Him. He’s got this.