Joy is a portrait of Jesse Serrano, John’s brother-in-law, and his wife’s brother. As a baby, Jesse contracted spinal meningitis. It was a life-threatening illness, and the doctors asked his mother if she wanted them to allow him to die. She said “No” fully realizing all that must be endured. Jesse’s mother has since died, and John’s wife, Tina, now cares for Jesse. Her embroidery work is seen at the foot of the stool.
His disability reminds us of a mother’s sacrificial love, of the nobility of all men and women and children, and of the gift that others can bring to our lives—often in unexpected ways. Cobb comments, “His joy in life is not limited and it is something he shares.”