The caption on this beautiful yet heartbreaking photo from Joey and Rory Feek’s instagram account reads, “Feeling broken-hearted and blessed all at the same time this morning… watching my beautiful bride pour a lifetime of love into a few minutes each day.”
If there’s one thing I have learned from following Joey and Rory’s emotional story and battle with cancer, it’s that Rory Feek has a way with words. Perhaps that won him a career as a songwriter, perhaps that won him such a lovely, talented young wife.
It is definitely part of what has made their story so captivating.
Last week on his blog, Rory wove a beautiful narrative about why the duo uses a “+” sign in their professional name, “Joey + Rory” (not Joey & Rory, not Joey and Rory). He says the “+” was purposeful. When deciding what official name to give their duo as they tried out for CMT’s “Can You Duet” (where they got their big break), Rory says he told Joey,
“I think we should tell them “Joey+Rory”, because that’s what it actually was…You + Me = whatever this is going to be.”
Rory goes on to say that the plus sign proved to be much more than just a part of their stage name:
In hindsight, I think I was right about the plus-sign in Joey+Rory, but not about the math.
One-plus-one does not equal two. It actually equals much, much more.
And the plus-sign? I’ve come to realize through the years that it’s not what I thought it was either. It’s more too.
Without know it, what we were actually adding into the equation that day in 2008… was God. It was faith that we added – a willingness to trust Him and be okay with whatever He had in store. I think that’s where the power is. There’s nothing magical about Joey and I together. We bring our skills and talents into this union, but God brings the magic. He takes those gifts and adds in His timing and mixes it with all the years of joy and hardship and smiles and pain we’ve had… and He makes something bigger. Something better.
Taking the “+” sign significance even further, Rory gets to the hard part of the equation: in reality, Joey + Rory = Indiana, their daughter.
And in reality, a very big part of the equation will soon be missing.
He says of their baby, “She’s the most precious addition that God has given us. But why? Why would He give us such an incredible addition, and allow it to be followed by such a heartbreaking subtraction? I cannot even begin to imagine going home to Tennessee without Joey, or living my life and raising Indy without her… but chances are, that day is coming.”
He says though he and Joey have hard and painful questions about why God is doing what He is doing, their faith sustains them.
“But still, we have faith – we choose to believe. I think that’s why they call it faith. If we knew all the answers, no faith would be required.”
Amen, Rory. Amen. I’m so thankful for many “+”-es your story has brought into the lives of all who have been following it. Thanks for giving us a glimpse of what it looks like to trust God in the midst of deepest sorrow.
Please join me in continuing to pray for the Feeks. <3