Poem · Poetry

Count It All Joy

He laid in his hospital bed

set up next to his wife’s bed –

his hands contracted

and useless,

his body dependent

on the help of others –

just to move at all,

or eat, or even

brush his teeth.

This bed has been his dwelling place

for over five years,

his disease shrinking and stiffening his body,

rendering his muscles

unworkable –

keeping him confined,

and stuck.

He is one of my favorite patients.

His eyes always sparkle,

his mind is unfailingly engaged,

his words ever generous.

“I am a lucky guy.”

This is the song he sings

no matter what pain may be present

or loss on the forefront.

“I have no complaints.”

Before him,

on his bookcase,

are about 50 journal books

he has filled

with reflections and illustrations

of his weekly walks in the woods

as he observed and gloried

in the wonders of nature.

“Nature used to be my religion.

And then I found God.”

This was life pre-diagnosis.

When I look at him,

a prisoner in his bed and so small,

I am grateful

he had a former life

of movement and joy

in Nature and beyond this room.

“I am a lucky guy,”

he states again and again,

and I marvel at

how he glows.

He has an understanding

that I hope is within reach for me.

He knows

that everyone has “something”

and this is his.

“The way I figure it,” he states,

“God put me here for a reason.

And when anyone comes to see me,

I hope I can be a light for them.

I hope I can make them happy.”

He radiates

effortlessly and profoundly

and I cannot help

but be changed.

He shows me the way

to what is real.

I begin to understand

the gift of joy

in all circumstances

and the suffering that comes

with resisting

what lies before us.

As I say goodbye,

He says,

“I hope I will see you again.”

I smile.

Oh, you will.

You will.

Copyright© Cynthia Cady Stanton, 2018

choose joy

10 thoughts on “Count It All Joy

      1. Although. It’s wonderful to hear this, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the edits I would make. I would replace the word “lucky” with the term “blessed”, because luck has nothing to do with it. I misspoke. All good things are gifts from God. David Wilmot


  1. Davids profound gift is one only a handful know, but all recognize. he is as he says, a blessed man, and I blessed to know him.


  2. This poem was written about my big brother Dave. He exudes love, hope and courage and it is certainly contagious to everyone who crosses his path. I am lucky enough not to just have crossed his path, but to be born as his sister. A gift that I will never take for granted. This poem allows one to enter his world, which is only possible through a great poet. Beth Wilmot Keddy


    1. Beth, I am humbled by your comment and touched. Thank you. David is a joy to be with. In many ways, he shows all of us the path of presence and joy in all circumstances. Every time I visit him, I leave with a full heart. 🙂


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