CRYING OVER SPILT MILK—How many times I’ve heard the expression, ‘Ain’t no need in crying over spilt milk’—I suspect many of you have heard the same or similar expressions. The meaning of that exhortation, of course, is that ‘what’s done is done and can’t be undone’. So rather than cry and moan about it, get on with meaningful acceptance or change if possible. If the undesired event was your fault, make whatever adjustment necessary to prevent its happening again. On the other hand, if you were the recipient of such untoward activity through no fault of your own, try as best you can to avoid the perpetrators—sometimes, it may seem unavoidable resulting in a self-felt justification for defending yourself.
Throughout history, people have felt ‘justified’ in bring grief upon others. In the Bible, it started in Genesis with Cain slaying his brother Able and continued with a procession of skirmishes and wars involving the Hebrews—at times, even God got into the fray. At one time the Jews were enslaved by the Egyptians for forty years, but they dutifully endured their hardship, and eventually escaped. However, their escape was no ‘picnic’—they wandered haplessly and seemingly helplessly in the desert in rout to the ‘Promised Land’. At times they lost faith in their God and began worshiping idols. That activity prompted their leader Moses to fabricate the Ten Commandments, the breech of which became known as sin with attached dire consequences. Somehow they persevered all of their hardships and eventually reached the ‘Promised land’. Life there, however, was no ‘bed of roses’—there seemed always to be some adversary desiring to conquer and enslave them—guess what—there still is.
The point I’m making is this; the Jews seemed never to ‘cry over spilt milk’—through ‘thick and thin’, they always seemed to ‘pick up the pieces’ and move on. They were, in fact, constantly crying out to their God for help. At one time, when they were being threatened with extinction by a Philistine giant, a lad named David took that giant down with a sling-shot—he eventually became king. I might note, parenthetically, that sling-shots are featured big-time in my book, Growing up in Fancy Farm, Kentucky.
Strange how things happen—four thousand and more years later, they finally are able to begin making peace with their neighbors.
Fast forward to Jesus. He saw the inequity in the Jewish society. Also he deplored their philosophy of ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’. He spoke of love as the answer.—that got him killed. He knew it would but he didn’t ‘cry about it’. We don’t know for certain what his followers understood and actually wrote about Jesus’ teachings. What we do know is that , during the next three hundred years, there were literally hundreds of Christian factions which sprang up all over the Roman Empire—they bickered and fought among themselves so much that Emperor Constantine commissioned them to form a single Christian Church which he made the official religion of the Roman empire. Of course that church had a hierarchy which put itself in charge—the underlings had no choice. I suspect many of them did cry but to no avail.
During all that activity, one thing became clear—white Europeans came to consider themselves as superior to all other forms of humanity. They considered black Africans as little better than gorillas. They spoke of native Americans as ‘savages’. It may surprise you, as it did me, to learn that in the year 1452, Pope Nicholas V issues a Papal Bull, ‘Dum Diversas’, in which he authorized the European invasion of Asia, Africa, and the Americas with enslavement of their inhabitants—and basically they did in many areas.
From our perspective, the most affected seemed to be the Black Africans and the Native Americans. We all know the rest of the story—the Natives were relocated to reservations—the blacks were bartered like animals as slaves to white European Americans. The Black African Americans eventually won their freedom, but the scourge of ‘racism’ hung over their heads. Discrimination against blacks was generally universal—many blacks seem to think it still is, and they may be right.
My point is this—many, many black Americans have risen above that scourge—they realized that ‘crying over spilt milk’ would only keep them ‘beat down’. They ‘held their heads high, became educated, successful, and some or our country’s ‘best citizens’—they have, on fact, done it by the thousands. Yet we have this unfortunate group who are incited by a few to keep ‘crying’ because their great and great, great grandpa was a slave.
Our job, as I see it, is to encourage those of that ilk to ‘throw off the blanket of self-imposed oppression’, rise above the fray, and become productive, respected citizens in our society. Where are the churches in this conundrum? They have lost all respect. They, collectively, have been the main instigators and perpetrators of slavery from the beginning. They need desperately to make a public apology—then, and only then, can their ‘faint voice’ be heard. Until they apologize, anything they might say would be total hypocrisy—don’t hold your breath.
No, we as a society, must cease ‘crying over spilt milk’, ‘take the bull by the horns’, and offer all the encouragement, both verbal and financial necessary to help remediate this situation. There has to be a major psychological change in both the black and white communities before improvement can occur. We all must quit ‘crying over spilt milk’. History cannot be changed—its effects can and must be reversed. It takes all sides to make it happen—you can ‘lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink’.
I have outlined my supporting philosophy in two books, Wilderness Cry, nd Peace in Spirituality. They are available on-line both hard-copy and e-books.
On a personal note, my upbringing was in some ways similar to many blacks—the main difference was we were not slaves. I was raised in a strictly pioneer situation—three room shack by the railroad track—five brothers, no electricity or convenience of any kind. The one thing we has was extremely hard-working, dedicated parents. We were pure paupers raised in the heart of the ‘Great Depression, but the one thing my parents refused to do was ‘cry over spilt milk’—much of the time we didn’t have any milk. As a result, each of us, in turn, became successful.
I have chronicled much of that life in my little book, Growing Up In Fancy Farm, Kentucky. Most of the hundreds who have read it have expressed awe and inspiration, as well as history and humor in its reading. It is available only from me (firstname.lastname@example.org)—cost of book is $15 plus $5 for mailer and postage in US.
My advice to all is ‘hold your head high’ and never ‘cry over spilt milk’.