Seeing the news of Rory Feek’s grammy win this morning brought tears to my eyes and a smile to my heart. Sunday for Hymns That Are Important To Us was the last project of Joey + Rory, and the most meaningful.
If you don’t know, Rory is one half of the famous country and gospel duo Joey + Rory, and this easy to read essay collection is about the deep love between him and his wife, Joey. It’s more than a love story though. Joey is an ambitious woman you somehow can completely relate to. She loved to garden, worked with horses, had a baby (with Down’s Syndrome) late in life, and died too young at age 40 from terminal cancer. But before that tragic end, the world fell head over heels love with this special couple and their journey when they placed third on CMT’s singing competition, Can You Duet.
I’m a little surprised that I read this because sometimes it’s hard for me to read stories of loss. Especially when it’s loss to cancer.
Okay, all the time. All the time, I read stories of cancer and I’m just boo-hooing. So I kinda avoid it. Like altogether.
And yet, something told me to read the advanced copy of This Live I Live by Rory Feek anyway.
On an airplane. Where everyone can see me big boo-hooing… Sheesh. But it was worth fixing my makeup for. And the story is not all about the agonizing end, in fact it’s 85% about the life they lived up to it.
I’ll admit, I didn’t know the Feek’s until I laid eyes on the book. It was so warmly written and so raw and honest, that I’m really glad that they became my travel companions.
Rory clearly pours his soul into the pages – but what’s so unexpected about it, is how real he tells us about his life (and his love for overalls). He doesn’t sugar coat his bad deeds (and there were many), but he lays them out as pieces of who he is and how he became the man he is today.
He says, “The things that you’re most ashamed of and don’t want to tell anyone are the things that can become a new beginning for you. And in time God has a way of making those moments the first things you want to talk about because it’s from there that He was able to work in your life. To really change you. From the inside out.” (Page 84)
And, “We all get the chance to be someone else. To start over and put the past behind us. And God gives us another one every day. I love that.” (Page 49)
Rory doesn’t ask for forgiveness, but he talks about how he received it. He doesn’t offer excuses, (“I finally came to realize that most of the problems in my relationships had to do with me and not the other person.” Page 72) but he does find God along the way and how it instrumentally changed his soul is the real gold of this tale.
“That is the power of change. Of God. Of the amazing truth that in the blink of an eye, He can take a world-class loser and turn him into a world-renowned lover of someone, if you put your trust in Him and follow where He is leading.” (page 63)
Joey enters his life after he has given it up to God, and their combined love of Christ was center point to everything they did together. With a marriage under tremendous stress, having that unwavering faith is essential, then and today.
I encourage you to read, This Life I Live. It’s touching and honest and uplifting even through the sadness. If you’re struggling with anything in life, it offers a genuine perspective of how people find strength in God to get through it and shine beyond it.
And that’s why that Grammy he’s holding is so bittersweet. “I must remember that the story isn’t over yet. It is still being written.” (Page 68)
There will be life beyond Joey, and I can’t wait to see how more of Rory’s story unfolds.
You can order, This Life I Live, on Amazon This Life I Live: One Man’s Extraordinary, Ordinary Life and the Woman Who Changed It Forever here.
I was provided an advanced readers copy of This Life I Live in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.