I couldn’t remember what made me cry that day. But the lesson learned I will never forget. My eyes were still swollen since I was sobbing bitterly. I wanted comfort in a familiar arms. I knew a hug would make me feel better. I got home and found my way into my father’s arm. Sharing the sadness, I was still crying, stumping myself over what had happened. My father never said anything, instead he walked to the refrigerator, took out a carton of milk and poured himself a glass of milk.

Dumbfounded on the sofa, I watched him as he walked back and sat next to me. Gently, he said “Hold the glass, now pour it onto the table.” Puzzled in distraught, I did as instructed. Making a spill on the table was easy, looking at the mess was not. The stream of milk slowly dripped onto the ground. The stains were noticeable. “Now, you can continue crying or clean the mess,” my father said. Still in shock, I didn’t say a word. Being a 12 year old then, I couldn’t understand the theory behind this little demonstration.

How many times have we, being an adult, cried over spilt milk ? Indeed, it was a very subtle experience watching the milk evaporate for 3 hours. I sat there, crying, even more frustrated as my father refuses to comfort me. He sat there with me, observing me in tears. Finally, I went dry, there wasn’t a drip left in me. I looked at the puddle of milk, it was gone. All that was left was just a stain on the table and on the floor. What did I learn ? I cried for nothing. All the squirming and whining were meaningless. I finally understood it and I cleaned the mess.

Since then, often when I am struck with an uphill, I just learn to clean the mess. Surely, crying helps, but only as a form of stress release. After all, there is really no point crying over spilt milk.