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The Gift: a Parable for Our Time

Once upon a time lived a woman who loved to garden and care for creation. Her home was a cottage, handed down through the generations, which she had surrounded with the beauty and fragrance of flowers of every variety. While not wealthy, she was content and at peace surrounded by the splendor of creation.

One day, while digging in a far corner of her yard, she came upon a solid object in the soil. Carefully excavating it, she was surprised to discover what appeared to be a wooden chest. She lifted it from its earthen grave and set it upon the grass, beholding it for a while, pondering its origins and the reasons for its burial. The wood was weathered and worn, the brass fittings tarnished. Her hands gently stroked its surface and edges, probingly. After several moments of embracing the mystery, her fingers deftly released the latch. Lifting the lid, the sunlight reflected brilliantly off of a collection of glass bottles each filled with clear liquid. Again, as she pondered the significance of these bottles, her eyes caught sight of a yellowed envelope attached to the lid of the box. She opened the envelope. Inside was a small piece of paper on which was inscribed a simple message: “ A gift of healing.”

She pondered. She contemplated. She considered her own poor eyesight, wondering if it would help. She removed the top of one bottle, inhaled its fruity fragrance, and tipped the bottle to her lips, tasting its sweetness. Suddenly she noticed her vision blur.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.