In an effort to be environmentally friendly we are trying to buy our milk in bags (from Sainsbury’s). You buy a groovy little jug that the bags sit in and then pierce them with a cleverly designed spout. The idea is that it saves the world from disappearing under a mountain of plastic milk bottles. We tend to buy a few bags at a time (they are only 1 litre) and freeze some of them so that we have them in reserve.
Anyhoo… one of the bags was being de-frozen, and was standing in another jug. It was a good think that Sally, my wife, had the sense to stand it in a jug as it had sprung a leak. When she was out I came along and saw what had happened. Man thoughts: “That milk bag will be no use in its groovy little jug.” These man thoughts were logical. The milk bag still had large lumps of frozen milk in it while it floated in a gently growing pool of milk at the bottom of the jug. I decided that the sensible thing to do was free the frozen milk and allow it to join the escaped milk at the bottom of the jug.
I picked up a pair of scissors and lifted the bag with frozen milk out of the jug. I forgot that it would be slippery because of the unfrozen milk on the outside and as the bag reached the top of the jug it slipped out of my grasp. Back into the jug (fortunately).
Unfortunately it hit the pool of milk at the bottom of the jug with considerable force and the milk made a violent bid for ultimate freedom. Milk went in all directions. It was like someone had placed an explosive charge at the bottom of the jug. I stood there, dripping in milk, for that second in which I took in what had happened. Then I wiped every surface in the kitchen (and inside the cooker – how???) while reciting a mantra: “bother, bother, bother, bother, bother…” (honestly, that was the mantra).
The thought briefly crossed my mind that I would laugh at this in the future, but I dismissed it as I did not think it very funny at that moment. Well you don’t when milk is dripping off you and running down the fronts of the kitchen cabinets onto the floor. But now I am finding it amusing (even if you aren’t). It seems that things do look different in hindsight than they do at the time.
The same is true of much darker experiences than a milk explosion. When we are in the midst of them we can’t always see beyond the experience. It fills our view. Afterwards we can look at them differently and see them from a better perspective. In my experience I can see that God has been with me through them, even if I didn’t know he was there at the time. He has been there through the kindness of others, he has been there through their prayers and he has been there going through it with me.
Perhaps today he got covered in milk too.