June 6 2021
Joe was predictable. It was part of his charm. He wore button fly Levi
jeans dungarees. He wore Sperry’s. He wore soft knit Polo shirts and plaid Polo button ups. He wore his cap propped on top of his head like he was hiding a small kitten under it. He wore a white undershirt whether he needed to or not. He carried a pocket knife, handkerchief and a pack of Marlboros everywhere he went. He carried an assortment of change, lighters, and tiny bits of hardware in his pants pockets. He wore his shirt tucked in (even his pajama tops) and he wore a belt. He did this in 1995, and he did this in 2020. Joe was predictable.
But once in a while….
My taste in music is a little more eclectic than Joe’s. While I love classic country just as much as Joe, I also enjoy tunes with a little more bass. 😂On the rare occasion that he let me control the radio, he seemed mortified that I could recite the lyrics to most any old school rap song. In turn, I seemed mortified that he could not. I called him Grandpa Jones. He called me Tupac Sha-Curl. 🙂
I should have known something was up when, as we left on a road trip a few years ago, he not only offered to let me play MY playlist, but also gifted me with a bag of jellybeans as we ventured out. He waited patiently as I belted out tune after bass thumping tune, knowing “the song” would soon play. I had just popped a handful of jellybeans in my mouth when the song began. And I want you to know that Joseph Morgan Price cranked it up and RAPPED every stinking word loud and proud! That boy, in an effort to prove that he was NOT an old man (hahaha…we all know he was), watched a YouTube video over and over until he had memorized the entire song! I was so shocked that I, in that moment, managed to suck a full grown jellybean down my esophagus.
My first thought was that Joe Price would make sure my cause of death was listed on the certificate as “jellybean asphyxiation”, knowing full well I died of shock because someone had stolen my husband and replaced him with a very southern drawling rapper. Once I regained the ability to breathe again, we laughed until we cried. He was so dang proud of himself! He should have been…it was completely unexpected, and he pulled it off without a hitch!
This week, Joe’s lesson is about dealing with the unexpected storms of life.
The Unexpected Storms
We certainly live in a world of imperfect information, guaranteed surprises, and unpredictable occurrences. Storms, both real and metaphorical, are waiting to happen. The next unexpected turn in our lives is always just around the corner. We should all take the time and put forth the energy to prepare ourselves for the unexpected, but there is no real way to prepare for everything life throws our way. Sometimes the storms we encounter are just too big, in spite of our preparation.
But, I have good news for you this morning. I know a man who can help you every storm you face, whether you prepared for it or not.
Matthew 8:23-27 states, “Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping.The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”
Jesus will be your strength and refuge.
1 Peter 5:7 gives us the following instructions: “Cast all your cares upon Him for He cares for you.”
Scripture tells us that Jesus was sleeping during the storm mentioned in Matthew 8. Many of us ask how He could sleep during such a dangerous time. Once again, He was teaching by example. Jesus had faith in his father. He knew that no matter how rough the storms of life became, his father-our God-would take care of Him. That is what He calls us to believe as well. God can and God will see us through any storm.
When you find yourself in trouble, ask Jesus to help you. He’s right there.
When you find yourself in a bad situation, or you are forced to deal with something unpleasant, ask Jesus to help you. He’s right there.
When things aren’t going your way, when you are discouraged, or when you are depressed, ask Jesus to help you. He’s right there.
Jesus is greater than any storm you might face in the coming week. He longs to help you through it. All you have to do is ask. He’s right there.
I cannot even believe it, but I am about to prove Joe’s assertion that I am an old woman.
I was Miss Duplin County.
Ladies and gentlemen, that was TWENTY FIVE years ago. I’ll be over here sticking tennis balls on the legs of my walker and changing the batteries in my hearing aid if you need me.
And yes…my hair used to be brown. It may still be brown under there somewhere, but it’s been so long since I’ve seen it, I just don’t know for sure. 🙂
Like Joe said, sometimes we work hard to prepare. Do you know how much preparation goes into getting ready for a pageant? Lordy, there’s so much snipping and nipping and spraying and tucking and then you have to ADHERE your swimsuit to your bottom end, which is pretty awful…but not nearly as awful as getting that thing UNSTUCK afterward. Jesus take the wheeeeeel!
I sang the song “Stormy Weather” for the talent portion of the competition.
This week, as the rain fell in buckets and the sky rumbled with thunder, I found myself humming that tune again. I had never really thought about the lyrics, but dang…these days I feel them way down in my soul! Here’s part of the song:
Don't know why there's no sun up in the sky
Since my man and I ain't together, keeps raining all of the time
Life is bare. Gloom and misery everywhere
And I just can't get my poor self together
Oh, I'm weary all of the time. So weary all of the time
When he went away the blues walked in and met me
And if he stays away old rocking chair's gonna get me
All I do is pray the Lord above will let me
Walk in the sun once more
Can't go on. All I had in life is gone
Since my man and I ain't together
Keeps raining, keeps raining
All the time.
I mean, I get it now. I feel like it literally rained continuously in the months after Joe’s death (it did!). The dark skies and gloomy days stretched for days on end. I’ve been gloomy, I’ve been miserable, and Lord knows I’ve been weary. I told someone recently that being sad makes me tired, and I am so tired of being tired. However, I have felt the clouds lift just a tiny bit in the last month or so. The waves of grief are still there, but I have more control over them now. I miss Joe Price every minute of every day, and I don’t think that will ever change, but the feeling is more of a lowkey sadness that I carry with me while I function somewhat normally. I guess that is to be expected.
What was unexpected was the immense wave of grief that hit me about a week ago. In hindsight, I can see that it was the perfect storm, brewing underneath my life. I was trying to close out a school year, my allergies attacked me with a vengeance, it seemed so many of my closest friends were suffering in some way, both of my boys were scheduled to have their wisdom teeth removed on the same day (I am insane for making that choice, by the way), and I guess I had the six month mark since Joe’s death (yesterday) and our upcoming six year wedding anniversary(next week) tucked back in my brain as well. It was a lot.
And finally, I crumbled. I crumbled unexpectedly and publicly, and honestly, I had a really hard time bouncing back. I guess because I had been doing so well, I thought maybe I was over the really big waves of grief. I was wrong. I thought maybe I’d found myself back at square one. I was wrong about that, too.
All I do is pray the Lord above will let me walk in the sun once more…that particular line stops me in my tracks. I have prayed that very prayer. Often.
And all this time, the prayer was right, but the spelling was wrong.
I feel like I am walking in the aftermath of a hurricane. Not a “false alarm, get out of school and then it hardly rains” storm, but more like a Hugo or Matthew or Hazel. Have you ever noticed how brightly the sun shines just after a big one? If you are focused on what you see, the sun illuminates the wreckage. That’s where I’ve been most of this week…kicking at fallen trees, staring at the debris that used to be a home, wondering how I’ll ever build those walls again.
It’s not about walking in the sun. It’s about walking in the Son.
It’s the sun that hurts your eyes and gives you wrinkles and melts the candy bars you hide in your car (or is that just me?).
But the other one…the real Son…He is there, too. Bigger than the wreckage. He’s already got a plan to rebuild from the ground up. He is a carpenter, after all.
Last Friday, I noticed a canvas propped against a wall. My sister is always painting something, and I honestly didn’t pay it much mind. She had already painted a black background and made a few yellow strokes on it.
At the end of this week, she gifted me with the finished product for my wedding anniversary. Isn’t it beautiful?
So, while I was lost in my own suffering, she was creating a masterpiece—a reflection of love and hope and sacrifice—and a promise that one day what is upside down will be right side up again.
Sweet friend, life is stormy. Most of us are either walking into, walking out of, or walking right through a storm as we speak. While the rain stings your face and the clouds are heavy and black, remember that Someone is spreading paint on a canvas. He’s got the brush in one hand and He’s got you in the other. Let Him paint, friend. Let Him paint.
Joe said, “Jesus had faith in his father. He knew that no matter how rough the storms of life became, his father-our God-would take care of Him. That is what He calls us to believe as well. God can and God will see us through any storm.”
Maybe you’re like me and you’ve been thinking you could change the wind. You can’t, my friend. You just can’t. But you can adjust your sails. That’s when you finally begin to see the light. That’s how you walk in the Son.
-Word of Wisdom from The Book of Joe