Friday, September 25, 2009
Reunited...And It Feels So Good
Relationships were complicated long before that became a status on Facebook. For me, the definition of a complicated relationship will always be Donna Haynes Myers (That's her in the picture, leading vespers with me at camp. I'm the one in the riculously short shorts!). Donna and I went through so many stages and situations together that it is amazing either one of us survived- but we did! We began as friends, dated for a year or so (until I ruined that by being a 20 year old male who was horrified of commitment- so I treated her horribly and she dumped me.) and then didn't speak for a while. (On a related topic, we dated for one summer when I worked at camp and she did not. There is little harder than tying to maintain a relationship with someone who is not at camp while you are. You spend every waking hour with a group of people you really like, and who are going through the same things you are. Your one day off, from noon on Saturday until 2 PM Sunday, you want to relax and hang out away from camp with those same people. Inviting someone into the mix is difficult, because they don't get what you have just been through for a week, nor do they get the inside jokes and references. I saw many a relationship go down in flames during summers...) That's when things really got interesting. We needed a female counselor at Quaker Lake Camp one summer, and I convinced her to apply. We worked together at QLC and became friends again, and then when Martha Ratledge Farlow left as my sidekick at New Garden Friends Meeting, Donna took her place. We did youth group together for a couple of years and had a great time doing it. Eventually, she sang at our (Marilyn and I) wedding and we were at hers, and she was at New Garden for my Dad's memorial service in 2006. It's fair to say that we overcame complicated.
Because of Jesus,
I tell you all this so that I may tell you two good Donna stories from our time at New Garden. I don't remember the exact date or occasion of the first one, but it has remained in my memory for a lot of years. Myself, Bruce Reynolds, Marshall Ratledge, the Hollowell boys and some other guys were sitting on the front steps at New Garden on a Saturday morning (I think) waiting for others to arrive for some event. Donna came walking across the street from Guilford College, and we could see her from quite a distance. As she entered the parking lot, the guys began to sing the Peaches and Herb classic: Reunited, and it feels so good... They faded out as Donna got closer, but by then I was already laughing so hard it was too late. Things were still too complicated at that point to try and explain HOW that could be funny, so we didn't tell her. That song still makes me laugh...
Another time we were coming back from Myrtle Beach, and it had already been a very long trip. We had car troubles and a variety of other issues, and all of us were tired and and a bit ill-tempered. Donna was almost always in control of her emotions in front of the youth; she was always smiling and keeping spirits high. But for reasons I don't remember, I asked her to take the lead in our caravan with the car she was driving. It wasn't a fair request, because she really didn't know the way very well, but she gave it a shot. We reached a point where highway 220 split into business and bypass, and she choose the wrong one. As we flagged her down to tell her we were going the wrong way, all of the frustration erupted in her and she screamed at me "I don't want to lead- damn it!!!" The kids were at once both stunned at her anger and laughing at her language, because it was soooo not Donna! It was a story we all loved telling and laughing at over the years. And we all loved Donna!
The point is, relationships, ALL relationships, are complicated and take work. Think of all I would have missed out on if Donna or I had just given up because I was a jerk. Think of how different my life would be now if Marilyn had given up just because I require so much effort to put up with! And think of what the world would be like if God had given up on us because we are all sinners- and He had never sent Jesus to redeem us. Someday, when we all get to heaven, Jesus will be waiting for us, and I bet He'll be singing: Reunited, and it feels so good...