It’s not often ladies that you get a chance to supervise your husband’s actions long before you are even dating him, but that is exactly what happened to Jody and Lucas Parry. Parry an acoustic guitarist, singer/songwriter from the Land Down Under, is yet another Aussie treasure. In what was a very enjoyable conversation with a great guy, Parry told me, “I met her (my wife) on my second trip (to India). It was funny. The bus pulled in and there was this white girl waiting for us. I remember saying to my mate, ‘Who is this gorgeous white chick in the middle of India?’ It ended up being Jody. She ran the project that we were part of. We really hit it off as friends. We remained friends for two years before I got up the courage to think it would be something more.” Laughing and with that ever present Australian charm Parry says, “She was my boss. I fell in love with my boss.”
The couple faced some obstacles that only a decade ago would have appeared insurmountable, but in today’s world is not that unusual. Jody lived in the US (NJ) while Parry was still toiling in Australia. However even though geographical challenges were overcome there was the matter of (ahem, clearing of the throat sound) just a wee bit of a cultural difference.
Parry relates one of the major differences as being Aussies tend to be more blunt and straight up with what they have to say. “Sometimes that would get me in trouble. For instance we might be socializing with a group of friends and an individual might ask me, ‘Do you like my new dress?’ I would say, ‘No I don’t think it looks good,’ he says laughing as he now realizes the faux pas. We would go home and laugh about it but Jodie would say, “You probably shouldn’t do that. You should probably be softer in your (approach). Now I feel like I have adjusted a lot more to the culture.”
When you listen to the glorious worship song “Amazed” from Parry’s CD Made To Fly you are not just listening to someone who just sat down to write a praise song. You are listening to a man who has come through difficult days and emerged on the other side as a humble and grateful servant. He relates how Jody and he became engaged and he applied for his fiancé isa so he could come to the United States. “I was always very self sufficient. I came from Australia having been a schoolteacher and running another small business on the side. I came to America, married, settled down and immigration lost my file. They could not issue me my work papers even though they knew I was here legally and everything was good. I had my fiancéisa but I didn’t have my authorization to work,” he says.
During that period of time Parry couldn’t even apply for his driver’s license. “It was very depressing. I can’t say I have ever been overly depressed in my life because I am an upbeat sort of person,” Parry says but he goes on to tell me that during these dark days he could relate to Job. “My self reliance was stripped away from my life. Near the end of the seven months (that it took to reconcile his immigration papers) I remember getting on my knees and saying God I realize it’s about you. I just rededicated my life. Soon afterwards my work visa came through. When I look back I think maybe that lesson could have been learned a lot quicker if I hadn’t been so stubborn,” he says.
The song “Overwhelmed” reflects how Parry feels about those early days in New Jersey. He sings, “I’m overwhelmed/You have turned my world around/all I have I give to You/what else can I do? I’m so grateful to you/”
Concerning the song “Overwhelmed” Parry says, “I had come through that period of being without work, learned my lessons and then began working (again). After that I sat down and said God I am overwhelmed with your grace in my life. He cared (about me) so much. I believe I had to go through ten months of struggle to learn a lesson. As I think about being a dad and caring for my kids it is sometimes painful to watch your child learn a lesson but it is a lesson that they must learn. It is a lesson learned in love. That’s where that song is born from, just me thanking God that He does watch out for me, thanking Him that He cares enough to grow me. He cares about my character, integrity and things like that.”
Recalling those days Parry says, “It was during that time in our marriage that we lived on practically nothing. We had times when neighbors just came and dropped food on our front doorstep. Jody and I managed to find places cheap that we could go and date. We found a place down the road where we could get a slice of pizza for a dollar. It forced us to find creative ways where we could still enjoy the relationship, each other and enjoy our friends. We have carried that over to today. Our happiness is not based on money. Whether we have much or we have little there is happiness and there is happiness found in God. I can honestly say I don’t place my self worth in how much I earn, what I make or what I’ve become. God has blessed us much here in Nashville (where they now live) but if tomorrow God called us to go to Africa we would be there in a heartbeat. I think that is an important lesson that we have to learn. If you can be trusted with little, God will give you much. I think God was testing me and Jody (to see) what we would do with little. Would we cave in and not be functional Christians or what? Even when we didn’t have any money we would have house guests over or go backpacking.”
Last spring Parry had an opportunity to return to Australia and tour. “I had a really good time. It ended up being 51 shows. I started off on the west coast for twelve days and then traversed the other side of the country where I was for another ten days,” he says. He finished up his tour in the Queensland area.
About the Australian music scene as it relates to Christian artists Parry says, “It is definitely developing. There are some great people who have come on board in the Christian music scene. Australia has a wonderful music festival called AGMF. When I was there and did fifty-one shows I probably wouldn’t have been able to do that four and one half years ago.”
He enlightens me as to some of the artists that are making a difference in his homeland. “There are some Australian bands that work very diligently such as Alabaster Box and Soul Train. I can name about fifty others. They are diligent in pursuing it and plugging away trying to make the Christian industry big. In the past a lot of Australian Christian artists have come over here to the US just so they could make a living. I think times are changing because the industry is definitely growing over there. The Christian public in general is embracing Christian music.” He gives credit to artists like Paul Colman, Rebecca St James and the Newsboys as people who paved the way for Australian artists like himself.
In addition to his music career Parry is involved with Compassion and a ministry called God Stock. The later is an organization that ministers to families of children who are suffering through cancer.
Just like his offbeat rock song “Just Like Him” says Parry is; “I am a friend of God/a believer/I’m a beacon of light in this darkened world/I am the one who is sent to be the witness/I am called to be/be just like Him/”
Copyright © 2006 Joe Montague, exclusive rights reserved. This material may not be redistributed without prior written permission from Joe Montague. Joe Montague is an internationally published freelance journalist / photographer.[schemaapprating]