The man in the hospital has bright eyes
and there are tears in them he is so afraid
and so glad to talk and he knows God
is with him or hopes he is. He is nearly bald,
and his old body is wrinkly and pale,
and I can see it from the waist up, the slack,
ropy skin, and his wife has a gentle voice
and is kind and I can feel the Spirit
there among the monitors like the light
on the green fields outside the window,
and I feel a love for this man, my father,
my brother, my friend, and I lift up my hand
and bless him, and I, too, am filled with tears.
What I feel is gratitude, what I feel
is thanksgiving, and I know, then, O Lord,
that You are there, that this is grace,
for we are not grateful for what we have done.
We are grateful for what we are given.
Three boys come up to me at communion,
little boys, in descending order,
their mother behind them, and when I raise
my hand to bless him, the oldest boy
solemnly raises his hand and gives me
a high-five—and then his brothers, first one
and then the other, they high-five me, too,
slapping my palm and walking
back to their pew, and I laugh, I pray,
I say it again: rejoice.