The Power of the Plus-Sign
by Rory Lee Feek
Seeing our names listed on the Grammy nomination certificate we received recently, I found myself thinking a lot about the ‘plus-sign’ in-between our names and why we chose not to use an ‘&’ sign or an ‘and’…
Back in early 2008, I was a full-time songwriter and Joey was an aspiring singer. We had been married for five years, but Joey’s dreams of following in her musical hero Dolly Parton’s footsteps had eluded her. She had all-but-given-up on music and was working every day at Marcy Jo’s Mealhouse, our little family-owned cafe Joey had started with my sister just down the road from our farmhouse.
Little did she know that while she was waiting on tables…God was waiting for the right timing to make her dreams come true.
I wrote in another blog post a good while back in more detail about how we got our start singing together. About how a friend of a friend recommended that we try out for “Can You Duet,” a new CMT reality music competition show that was looking for America’s next great country duo. About how I was nervous and skeptical about it. And also how, though Joey and I didn’t have a TV and didn’t want to be on one, my best-friend and cousin Aaron (who’s our manager now) and I made a little homemade video about our lives and music up to that point and sent it in to the producers to try to get a spot on the show.
When we found out we had made it through the first round of auditions, they asked us what our stage name was going to be. I told Joey that I think we should tell them “Joey+Rory,” because that’s what it actually was…
You + Me = whatever this is going to be.
She agreed. And though it might have been a bit confusing to others, the plus-sign made sense to us, and that’s all that mattered. And so our career singing together started off with a bang…
Now all these years later, as I sit here with my laptop at the dining room table and my beautiful wife sleeping peacefully in the next room…I find myself looking back at that moment.
We had no idea back then that our lives were about to change. Or all the places our music would take us and all the dreams that would come true for Joey. And for me.
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.
Without knowing 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.
Taken from: Feek, Rory Lee. “The Power of the Plus-Sign” Web blog post. This Life I Live , 28 January 2016.
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