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Maintaining Joy

Raised hands catching sun on sunset sky.
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Robert worked as a yard man for a doctor who volunteered for Church Health.

He was losing weight and lacked his usual energy. He also had a cough and diarrhea. When I did a physical exam, I felt large lymph nodes in his neck. This was 1988. Robert had AIDS and there was no treatment. He would soon die. When I told him, he thanked me. I would see him every two months. And though his health declined, he never changed his attitude toward life. He was joyous about the people in his life. I wondered if he understood the dire consequences of his diagnosis.

So one day as he cheerfully told me about the good things in his life, I looked him in the eyes and said, "Robert, do you understand that you have AIDS and there is no cure?" He then took me by the hand and said, "Yes, doc, I understand what is wrong with me. I also know that God loves me." I realized Robert understood far more about life and living than I did. He showed me the need for joy, love and the assurance of God's presence in order to be fully alive. This is Dr. Scott Morris for Church Health.

Dr. G. Scott Morris, M.D., M.Div, is founder and CEO of Church Health, which opened in 1987 to provide quality, affordable health care for working, uninsured or underserved people and their families. In FY2021, Church Health had over 61,300 patient visits. Dr. Morris has an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia, a Master of Divinity degree from Yale University, and M.D. from Emory University. He is a board-certified family practice physician and an ordained United Methodist minister.