You know you have gotten old when your medicine cabinet is full of medicine.
My cabinet, which used to hold no more than a toothbrush and toothpaste, is now home to a bewildering array of orange bottles with white caps and mostly unpronounceable labels.
Some of these bottles I visit regularly. Others are the remnants of some long forgotten illnesses and yet others, I have no idea what they do or how they got there.
Everything in my cabinet is supposed to be good for me yet an uncomfortable number of items lurking in there are rather explicit about the horrors they will visit upon me, dare I use them. These I avoid as much as possible.
The truth is, I am a terrible pill taker.
I always forget.
I have one of those days-of-the-week pill boxes and am currently running at least three days behind. Sometime around Wednesday, I realize that Monday’s compartment is untouched as is Tuesday’s.
My wife warns me against playing catch up, so I find myself taking Friday’s pills on Sunday and then forgetting to take Saturday’s dose until Wednesday.
Still I survive.
But much of what occupies my medicine cabinet is not even medicine, it is magical potions.
People give me things.
They say, “You gotta try this stuff.”
Or they say, “You know…. this is good for that.”
I never question their earnest wisdom, I merely take what they give me and with all due reverence, place it untouched onto a back shelf of my medicine cabinet. I do it because it makes them feel better, so in that sense, the stuff works.
It also speaks to how I view the world of things that humans do not understand.
At least in my mind, all the things that we do not understand can be divided into three categories: science, faith and magic.
Science is what we do not understand but understand that someone else does.
Faith is what we do not understand yet understand that we can rely upon it to get us through the things we will never comprehend.
Magic is a short-cut. It is what we use when we refuse to be bothered with the hard-work of science or the hard-trust of faith.
But the scary thing about magic is that we sprinkle it into our science and faith to make them sparkle without realizing that all we have done is add glitter to what should shine by itself.
It is why so much goes unused in my medicine cabinet.
I trust the doctors who write me prescriptions and I accept the potions my friends give me because it makes them happy – but mostly, I have faith that while all might not be well with the world and my health, I am well with it.