Sunday, September 21, 2014
A Sour Milk Kind of Week
"Don't cry over spilled milk."
I'm pretty sure that old adage didn't mean that I couldn't cry over the two gallons of spoiled milk that flew out of my warm refrigerator and covered me and half my kitchen in a fatty, drippy mess Saturday morning.
It had been one of "those" weeks, really.
Monday started out a bit rocky, then Daddy volunteered to take the three-year-old to the market while the baby was napping and the older two were schooling. It helped get us back on track, and I was looking forward to the rest of the week. Daddy headed out to buy fresh milk Tuesday morning. I knew I'd have to process it and cool it as best I could, because our electricity was due to be off most of the day, but if the lights came back on at 6 p.m., I didn't think we'd have too much trouble. The milk arrived about noon, but it was more than I'd planned on. I processed it and cooled it as best I could, and put the mostly cooled milk into my mostly cool refrigerator. We have a tropicalized refrigerator, which means that they are built to retain the cold longer, and as long as the electric company kept there end of the bargain, all would be well.
The magical hour of six o'clock came and went, and nothing happened.
I pasted a smile on my face and went about finishing supper in the semi-darkness. At 6:41 p.m. the lights came back on..............not that I was paying attention to the clock or anything. At 7:05 p.m. they went off again. Back on a few hours later, and then back off again a few more times all through the night.
Thus proceeded the rest of my week.
Lights on, lights off.
Lights on, lights off.
Lights on, lights off.
And every time the electricity went off, all I could think of was that milk in the refrigerator.
*I will add here, that when you live in a place with unstable electricity, all those warnings I heard growing up about food spoilage absolutely get thrown out the window, because if you followed those?
Well, you'd be pitching everything at least once or twice a week!
Those warnings? We like to think of them more as suggestions :)
And trust me, we have lots of practice when knowing if something is really bad enough to be thrown out!
I will also add here that our milk comes straight from the cow, is vat pasteurized by me, and does not go rancid very easily. If we ever have any that lasts more than seven days, I just make it into cottage cheese.
When I went to make hubby and me a cup of hot chocolate with the milk on Thursday night, I realized my milk was in trouble. As I heated it in the pan, it started separating into curds and whey.... We skipped the cocoa. Our lights had been so bad at this point that I just knew that we'd have electricity on Friday. I'd make my huge pot of milk into several tons of cottage cheese then. Bad choice. Friday's electricity was worse than the rest of week's put together and it just carried right into Saturday morning. At this point I figured out that we'd not had electricity about 20 of the last 24 hours.....not that I was counting or anything. Saturday morning I walked into my kitchen hoping to at least be able to salvage a few things out of my thoroughly warm refrigerator. I knew the milk would not be one of those things. I pulled the door open.......................
Well, you read the first paragraph.
Milk ~ spoiled, rotten, clumpy, warm, slimy, smelly flew out of the refrigerator and landed all over everything, me included.
I spent a lot of time scrubbing my kitchen Saturday morning.
You probably could have guessed that!
I also spent a lot of time thinking about my attitude.
A bit spoiled, a bit rotten, and probably a bit smelly this week, just like my milk.
An attitude that swung between entitlement ~ How dare they keep taking MY lights!
and false humility ~ Look how much I'm suffering as a missionary!
and rage ~ What is wrong with these people!?!
An attitude that was controlled by my circumstances and not by truth.
An attitude whose words were directed at people and things, but whose heart was pointing an accusing finger at God.
Every time I "raged against The Machine", I was really raging against the One who allowed The Machine to break.
I wasn't really just angry at the electric company, in the end I was really angry at God for allowing me to go through a hard week.
And that, my friends, is sin.
So with the scrubbing of the floors, and the walls, and the cabinets, and the refrigerator, and the freezer, and the mop, and my shoes, I made sure to do a bit of scrubbing of myself.
A good soul-scrubbing, washing away every bit of that sour attitude right along with the sour milk.
* I share this not to glory in my infirmities or pat myself on the back, but to simply share how Jesus keeps teaching me what I need to learn again and again. And if you find yourself in a sour milk kind of week? Maybe this story will be a blessing to you, too!