for better or worse

We have been in Joey’s hometown of Alexandria, Indiana for the past week.  She is spending important time with her mama and daddy and three sisters in the farmhouse she grew up in.

Joey and her family have laughed together and shed many tears as they’ve walked down memory lane together – reminiscing about their school days, the Halloweens and Christmas’s, and the journey that has brought them and all of us here.

They’ve swallowed hard and had some difficult conversations that they didn’t want to have.  Conversations made even harder by the memory of losing their brother Justin to a car accident when he was only seventeen.

But mostly, it’s been beautiful.

A few nights ago, as we were all together, I pulled out my laptop and we gathered around the screen – watching some early videos and moments that captured Joey and my life together…

This was one of the commercials we did in 2008 as part of a national tv ad campaign that they were running.  Oh how beautiful and full of life my sweet bride was then.   We had only been married a few years and had no idea what was ahead of us – the heights we would ascend to, and the valleys we would have to cross.

Most of Joey’s immune system is gone now and she’s thin and frail.  Where she once jumped out of bed before the sun rose to rush out to her garden… she now quietly sleeps away most of the days.  I lie beside her at night and I hold her hand and listen to her breathe.  And I pray.

We have had hundreds and hundreds of emails with possible cures sent to us by people who love Joey and want to help.  From holistic approaches and clinical trials and secret remedies… texts with of extraordinary clinics and superstar doctors… and dozens of Dvd’s and documentaries arrive daily in the mail.  Everyone wants to help.

First off, I want to say thank you.  Thank you a thousand times over.  We have been trying to go through as many of them as we can, and we’ve even talked to a few outside-the-box thinkers that you’ve connected us to with ideas of how to try to help Joey ‘where she is’...

At home.  Surrounded by the people she loves.

I am so incredibly humbled by the outpouring of love that has come our way.  We have just lived our lives and sang our songs, and often thought that we are making no difference at all.  But thousands of blog and Facebook comments and emails tell us otherwise.

I read them to Joey and the tears stream down her cheeks and mine.  And once more we smile and look at each other – in awe of this extraordinary, ordinary life we live.

For better or worse.

I said those words to her at the alter on June 15, 2002.  But today and each day since our wedding day has been my opportunity to show her that I mean those words.  And I do mean them.

In most emails, comments and conversations, everyone asks the same question to us… “what can we do to help?”  They sincerely want to do something.  Anything.

There is something you can do…

You can pray.  You can pray my wife’s prayer with us.

Joey’s sisters and her best-friend Julie have chosen a special time for people to say a prayer with us for Joey…

Thursday evening, November 5th at 8 pm CST.

You can call it a prayer vigil, or a moment of silence, or what it actually is… a husband asking for help for the woman he loves.

But please, one thing I ask… don’t just pray that Joey is healed.  Yes, pray for a miracle.  But also pray for peace in her heart, and ours, if God chooses not to let this cup pass from her sweet lips.

His will, not ours.