The Parable of the Pill Box

Before I lost 50 pounds, I used a weekly pill dispenser to make sure that I took the right medications at the right time. Back then, I was medicated to the tune of 7 or 8 pills per day: 4 or 5 in the morning and 2 or 3 at bedtime. After losing weight, my blood pressure and high cholesterol medications were no longer needed. My pill consumption dropped to one per day. My Doc was so proud of me that he deleted the diagnosis of hypertension and high cholesterol in my presence! Thanks “MyFitnessPal” for curing my delusion that these health issues were hereditary, when, in truth, I was just lugging around too much weight and eating all the wrong stuff.

My pill dispenser retired gracefully, without complaint, to the medicine cabinet.

Then, age crept up on me like a thief in the night. A problem emerged. It was NOT that I was taking the wrong medications at the wrong time. The issue was frequently forgetting to take my one remaining pill! With an urgent call to duty, my weekly pillbox leapt from the medicine cabinet to resume its old accustomed spot by the sink; ready to regulate one who is decidedly difficult to regulate. In addition, my faithful pill dispenser has also taken on a new responsibility.

You might ask, “What is that?”

Answer: “To remind me how fast life whips by.”

It is Saturday. Today I will re-load my pillbox for the next week. I cannot believe I have to do it again. It feels like I just did it yesterday. I grumble a bit, but then I thank my Higher Power that a pill dispenser is enough to remind me that every day is a gift, each moment is precious. Time cannot be recovered. It marches on inexorably. Time does not care whether we use it well or not. That is our decision.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote these powerful words in his Letter from Birmingham Jail: Actually, time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively. More and more I feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than have the people of good will. We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men (and women!) willing to be co workers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.

My trusty little pill dispenser reminds me weekly that my “time is always ripe to do right.”

Of course, all of you reading this are probably thinking that old PJ is fast becoming the master of the obvious, but do you know what? If it takes something as simple as a my pillbox to remind me to love and live in the NOW, then I am content to let my trusted companion sit by the sink until this mortal takes on immortality.

John E. Holt, Cotuit, Massachusetts




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