Confession: whilst cleaning out our supply of medicines, I was MOST excited about finding the oldest expiration date in my pile. I am not a believer in hard & fast expiration dates on medicines…most of them certainly work past that date. BUT, when purging excess, it’s a good rule of thumb to whittle the initial pile down.
I might also say that medicine doesn’t necessarily “spark joy.” Obviously my criteria for what to keep here was quite a bit more utilitarian.
The majority of our medicine lives in a cabinet in our master bathroom, and a plastic storage bin. (Some items like vitamins live in the pantry, and I had a few items in my nightstand.) My starting pile doesn’t look as big as it really was once everything was out of the containers.
This goes fast, especially when you stick with the expiration date rule. AND THE OLDEST THING I FOUND WAS FROM 2002. Like I said…I am not super strict when it comes to expired medicines, but I’m talking about a few months to a year. Not 14 years. That’s excessive. And gross. And probably crusty.
To my GREAT delight (but not really surprise anymore) the items I kept fit perfectly in the cabinet in our bathroom and the little plastic bin for the pantry.
I tried to organize by type of medicine, and put things in front that are used more often.
And the big plastic drawer I had filled with stuff is now completely empty and ready to possibly be put to better use in some other space (I’m thinking pet supplies or pantry day).
I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record here, but man. Once again, I am feeling so thankful and blessed when I reflect on this session. In a previous post, I mentioned the documentary “Living on One Dollar.” A group of guys travels to rural Guatemala and attempts to replicate life in a small, rural farming town by living on one dollar per day. At one point in the Documentary, one of the guys gets very ill and ends up having a nasty little bacteria called Giardia. He needed antibiotics desperately. Because of their limited income, he had enough money to travel to the doctor, but not afford the medication. Luckily, they had an emergency fund that they tapped into so he could get his fluids replenished and recover.
Thinking back to that portion of the documentary, I remember feeling so….HEAVY. People in that village probably face difficulties like that on a regular basis. And sitting here now, reflecting on cleaning up our medicine supply, I’m of course painfully aware of how EASY it is for us to have the medicines we need. And it’s humbling to think about how many people in the world have to suffer through sicknesses for which medicine exists because they cannot afford to get to it or even a doctor in some cases.
Yet, light shines in the darkest places. Even in this village, among some of the poorest of the poor, the people who live there always place some of their income into a “community fund” and each month, a different family gets to have the whole fund. There is also one man in the community who has a regular job cleaning rooms at a motel. He is not rich by any means, but he has a more steady income than the others. He gives and helps and feeds his neighbors whenever he can. Talk about selfless. Oftentimes, it’s a lot easier to be giving when you know what it feels like to be desperately in need.
We are blessed, people. So blessed. I am starting to believe that the only comparisons I should ever make are the ones with folks who have less than I do. For most Americans, that is so very counter-cultural. We live in a world where we are BOMBARDED with advertisements and everywhere we look, we find the message that we need MORE. No one talks enough about needing less and yet many of us could CERTAINLY survive (and in MANY cases, THRIVE) with a LOT less. I’d rather compare myself with a person who has little so that I might continue to be humble and thankful. So that I might have an opportunity to help that person meet a need, or pray for that person.
It is so easy to get pulled down by the gravity of what others deal with on a daily basis, but I think that’s necessary for us sometimes. And I think if we could all focus a little less on things we want and focus more on what we can do to help someone else, the world would be a much better, happier place. I’m as guilty of being selfish and materialistic as the next person. But it is my intention to walk as far from those things as I can and guard my heart against them. I can only do it with God’s help. But He who starts a good work in me will finish it.
Until next time,