Joey + Rory were an award winning country singing duo who sold hundreds of thousands of albums and also happened to be a husband and wife team. In 2013, a few months before the birth of their first child together, they decided to take a year off from the excitement of performing. They retreated from the world to their beautiful farm near Nashville, Tennessee. Rory made the decision at that time to document this quiet time in their lives through film. He says he felt like God was going to give them a great story. “And He did.”
In February, shortly after giving birth to Indiana, the couple found out their little girl had Down Syndrome. Then, several weeks later, Joey was diagnosed with cervical cancer. The footage Rory had been taking of their idyllic existence soon became the story of the last two and a half years of Joey’s life. Rory says that Joey was always “working in the garden and loving the baby and life God had given her. Believing that, no matter what, everything was going to be okay.”
I admittedly watched this film with hesitation, fully expecting to be immersed in a dark and depressing tale of love and loss. After all, we know the particulars of this tragedy before even watching the film as Rory documented his wife’s illness publicly through the couple’s blog. But what I didn’t expect was that the film is in no way difficult to watch. On the contrary, the pervading mood is the strong sense of tranquillity that’s portrayed through the couple’s peaceful farm life and also through their own strength of spirit. There is acceptance of whatever happens; the diagnosis of Indiana does not bring a sense of injustice or despair. Always, her daughter remained a great joy to Joey. Even Joey’s own illness, while mourned, doesn’t cause the couple to abandon hope. Instead, they draw incredible strength through their faith and their contentment with God’s will can be sensed in a real way by the viewer.
Rory says that during this time Joey “continued planting seeds that she knew she would never see harvested.” Joey is famous for her work as a singer-songwriter but I believe her greatest accomplishment was her faithfulness. She was a beautiful soul and it’s clear to see why her husband chose to memorialize her life through this film. Rory does not tell this tale with pity but rather a kind of reverence for the wife he loved and lost and the God who led him through it all.
If you are looking for a sweet story of faith and inspiration, this real-life documentary will not disappoint.
***For your chance to win a DVD of “To Joey, With Love” head over to the bumblebird Facebook page and Like or Share the post about this contest to be entered to win! Winner will be announced January 9th, 2017.***