A ‘DEAR JOY’ Letter from My Couch

By June 23, 2021 No Comments

I called him Bronzy…

And the minute I saw him in the furniture store, I knew we were made for each other. He was a hunk—well built and strong, but with bouncy seat cushions and incredible contoured legs. His color was downright manly—a nice shade of bronze, not too dark, not too light. And when the saleswoman confirmed his 89% Polyester and 11% Acrylic blend, I practically skipped to customer service.

I determined to spend as much quality time with Bronzy as possible, and as the pandemic took hold, this was naturally, no problem at all. Sometimes I propped my feet up on him, sometimes I just sat quietly on him and stared out the window like a zombie, and there were many times, I just bounced…for exercise, of course.

We had many, many Netflix dates. We especially enjoyed Call the Midwife. That Sister Monica Joan—what a character!

So you can perhaps imagine how shocked I was to receive ‘the letter’ on that somber March day. I had just hurt my elbow, and I was terribly uncomfortable. I needed to sit. I needed Bronzy.

The letter was short. He was a couch that didn’t mince words…apparently.


Dear Joy,

This relationship is over. Get off me and go find some other piece of furniture to suffocate—like the recliner. Or better yet, get back to doing what humans are supposed to be doing—MOVING! WORKING! ACCOMPLISHING! For crying out loud, you have over 600 skeletal muscles and 100 billion brain cells.

Completely Stuffed,


P.S.  And NINE seasons of ‘Call the Midwife?’ REALLY??!!


Of course, I was heartbroken, distraught, literally ‘crying out loud,’ and full of excuses for why I couldn’t get off the couch:

But my elbow aches

But it’s raining.

But I don’t feel like it.

But my sweat pants are dirty.


I was raised at a time when children were expected to ask ‘May I be excused, please?’ to leave the dinner table. As a child, I prayed the answer would be ‘yes,’ so I wouldn’t be subject to more boring adult conversation, or worse yet, more sweet potatoes.

As a mother, I also wanted to be excused from the dinner table, but for entirely different reasons, namely four little people. These miniature human beings might wipe their mouth on the tablecloth, feed their peas to the dog, knock over their milk, or whine about the squishy things in the spaghetti sauce…dinner was usually a battle, one that I often lost.

When I think of battle, I think of Joshua, a renowned military leader from the Old Testament, who at one point during his illustrious career, did a face plant on the ground and put dirt in his hair. His mighty army had lost a seemingly insignificant battle against a few warriors. Thirty-six men died. Joshua’s army fled. The hearts of his people ‘melted in fear.’

As Joshua lay prone, God’s response was unforgettable: “Stand up! What are you doing on your face?” God then revealed the reason for the army’s defeat and instructed Joshua to deal with the problem and ‘get back work.’  (You can read all the details in Joshua 7. It’s a sobering story.)

I must confess, whenever ‘the battle feels too great,’ and I’ve tried to excuse myself or offer an excuse to my Creator for my inactivity, the following verse dogs me worse than my puppy Hallie.

 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. 

Ephesians 2:10


Well, ho hum…that’s pretty clear.

I imagine we’ll always have obstacles, problems, and setbacks. But that doesn’t mean we suffocate our furniture or ‘eat dirt’ by disengaging from life. The world, however good or bad it may seem, is still spinning, and if we are still drawing breath, you have good work to do, and I have good work to do.

Friend, maybe we really should ‘get off the couch.’ I will if you will.

Until next time…


P.S. October 2021: Season 10 of ‘Call the Midwife!’

P.S.S. As an adult, I’ve grown quite fond of sweet potatoes.







Joy Cleveland is an author, histotechnologist, wife, mother, and shameless grandmother. She has published short stories, children's plays, and her debut novel, "To Call My Own." Best known for heartwarming and hope-filled stories, she calls Iowa home.

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