Friday, January 29, 2010

Donna and Dan - 18

1988 Donna Dan
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
Another post in the countdown to Dan and Donna's 25th anniversary this coming June, which I began a few weeks ago. It is my plan to post a story, remembrance and/or poem once a week for 25 weeks leading to the big date.

I saw Donna that September of 1983 and realized I was still very much drawn to her. But my breaking up with her had caused her so much pain and, besides that, she had two other fellas courting her. What was I to do?

Just a few weeks later, near Thanksgiving, Donna had cause to come back to Louisville. I invited her to spend some time at my parents' house visiting with us (with me) and she accepted the invitation. That night, we stayed awake late into the night, just talking things over.

When she started college at Murray, she had been planning on studying nursing, like her mother. But she quickly realized that blood and guts weren't for her and she changed her major to special education. She had a passion for helping children, especially those with physical and learning/behavioral problems. This compassionate, passionate side of her endeared her to me.

By this time, Donna was already considering going to the Southern Baptist Seminary to study church social work. She was considering doing missionary work of some sort, maybe in an urban setting.

I, on the other hand, was still wrapped up in my Christian band and had begun a career in woodworking.

I'm sure these are the things we talked and laughed about that night. I don't remember now.

All I know is that, if I thought I had made a mistake when I saw her back in September, I KNEW I had made a mistake, now. This woman was intelligent, concerned, beautiful, a follower of Jesus in the best way.

And as I sat there on our couch at three o'clock in the morning, all I could think was, "I need to ask her to marry me!" Crazy, I know. I had broken her heart. She had moved on. She had two other apparently decent guys who were interested in her. She STILL lived four hours away.

Despite all of that, I had to bite my tongue just not to out of the blue blurt out that question, "Donna, I know this is crazy, but will you marry me?"

I succeeded. I didn't ask. The night ended and we went to bed.

The next day, she went home.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Paradise Lost

Originally uploaded by paynehollow
I'm posting a comment I made once a long time ago. I just happened across it and thought my analogy is worthy of consideration.

There once was a dirt poor fella who won a lottery. He won $1 million!

He promptly quit his job at McDonald's and purchased a $5 million home (placing a $500,000 deposit on it and paying $25,000/month on house payments.) He also purchased a Hummer Limosine (for special occasions) and a Jaguar (or some insanely expensive car, sorry I don't know their names). These cost another $200,000, which he paid in cash.

He hired a butler and a maid to care for his house and a chauffeur to drive him around.

"But wait!" I said to this fella, "At this rate, you'll go through your $1 million THIS year. Then you won't have enough to support this lifestyle. You'll never be able to make the house payments after this first year, nor pay for your staff or even the gas for your cars!"

"Phhht!" he said confidently. "I still have plenty of money! I'll just keep playing the lottery and I'll probably win again. Don't be such a negative thinker. My ingenuity and determination have gotten me this far, haven't they?"

"Well," I sputtered, "PERHAPS you'll win another lottery, but wouldn't it be more prudent to take advantage of this opportunity WISELY? To use the resources to ensure your children and their children might have a better life?"

"Are you kidding me?!" He shouts. "Look at the life I'm providing them! How could it get any better than this???"


Now, surely, I would think that most would agree with me that this fella was a bit fortunate in getting that windfall but he is foolishly and quickly pissing it away and he'll be worse off in the end. This is conservatism in the good, practical sense.

We have resources now, we have wealth now, but what assurance is there that we will continue indefinitely to enjoy access to "our" cheap oil in the amount to which we've become accustomed? And if we aren't assured an unending supply of cheap oil (and we most assuredly are not) or even coal or natural gas, then how wise is it for us to base an economy upon it, acting as this fella did, as if it would always be there and easily available?

Not wise at all, seems to me.

In this bleak midwinter, let us give prudence our due diligence.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Donna and Dan - 19

Dark Dan
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
Another post in the countdown to Dan and Donna's 25th anniversary this coming June, which I began a few weeks ago. It is my plan to post a story, remembrance and/or poem once a week for 25 weeks leading to the big date.

I broke up with Donna in the summer of 1982, less than a year after first meeting her. I know that the break-up was especially painful for her. She wrote letters, she cried, we spoke on the phone... we continued to communicate and I know that it was a dark, cold time in her life and I felt miserable for it.

But I tried to put that behind me (easier for me than her, of course) and move on. "You'll be better off without me," I told her. "It's not you, it's me." "We can still be friends..."

All the normal lines.

We did our best to carry on.

She poured herself into her studies, I poured myself into my band. I found a job and life, as it is wont to do, moved on.

Donna began considering missionary work in the Baptist world or perhaps even going to the Southern Baptist Seminary (in my hometown of Louisville) and study their Church Social Work program. She would make a trip to Louisville occasionally to that end and sometimes on those trips, we'd meet to talk things over. Amazingly, we did seem to remain friends, mostly thanks to Donna's grace towards me.

We'd meet and she'd show me a song she was working on or talk about this guy she was thinking about dating or about her possible plans at the Seminary. I'd talk to her about the band.

In September of 1983, she came up to go to a conference at the Seminary. I hadn't planned on seeing her, but at the last minute, I decided, "Why not?" and I drove over to the Seminary just to say hi and see what was new. I talked with her on the phone and she told me where I could find her.

We met on the campus at the Seminary as the sun was setting and as I walked to meet her, I noticed her eyes sparkled in the night. She looked especially beautiful this fall evening, rather like seeing a deer unexpectedly in a dusky field and being amazed at her surprising shy glory.

We walked around and talked a bit, she told me how there were now TWO fellas vying for her attention. She spoke animatedly about the possibility of doing work with the poor, the marginalized, the least of these.

She was amazing and I, well, I discovered much to my amazement that I was captivated.

I had gone to meet her as a last minute fluke and here I was, unexpectedly entranced by her beauty and charm and passion. Had I made a mistake in breaking her heart and ending our love?

And, if so, what could I do about it now?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Old Mississippi

Okay, one more, but only because I forgot to plug their myspace page...

Old Mississippi
by Dylan Weber Owens

When you go all the way down to Mississippi
think of me seldomly, let your mind roam free

Set your sails eastward bound
All the way down the Ohio
See all the trees' falling leaves
forget about you and me...

...When I wake up on the rocks
of that Virginia creek bed
You'll remain just the same
But I think I'll change instead

You'll remain just the same
And that's my one regret.

Aren't these guys great? That's just a sampling of the great music we all got to hear this last weekend, when they put on a concert and also performed for the church coffee house!

Check 'em out at...

And be sure to check out their bios and the band's history! It's a hoot.

Rusted with Time

Rusted with Time
by Jordan Trabue

When they dig me out of here, fifty years from now
I know just what they will find
An old lonely man with no friends or family near
A young man rusted with time

I'm living life just like it seems to work
I put every one and myself first
I'm just a black hole up in the big ol' sky
A star with nothing to burn...

...excerpt, from the song as transcribed (perhaps incorrectly) by me and as performed in the video by Beady, this last weekend. Beady is my son, Jordan's, brand spanking new band. What is it about 18 year old lads and bands?

Isn't he great? (Finished bragging... for now.)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Donna and Dan - 20

Another post in the countdown to Dan and Donna's 25th anniversary this coming June, which I began a few weeks ago. It is my plan to post a story, remembrance and/or poem once a week for 25 weeks leading to the big date.

So, there we were: Nineteen years old and head over heels in love, separated by 250 of the farthest miles in the world. We spoke fairly regularly by phone and we wrote letters nearly every day. Occasionally, we'd work out a trip to see one another and that's what we lived for - the few moments together, knowing the clock would swiftly tick away our time.

While apart, Donna buried herself in her college studies and I in my Christian rock band work.

What happened next?

Well, my take on the story is complicated. The way I think of it is that one day it hit me how very deeply and painfully in love I was with Donna. I wanted nothing more than to be with her every day forever. I longed to hold her hand, to walk with her, to talk and laugh with her, to take hikes, go on trips, go to the movies. Anything, as long as we were together.

And then it hit me like a chunk of gravel: What does one do when one is so deeply in love and so very longing to be with another? You get married, that's what.

And the thought terrified me.

"Married? I'm only 19! I can't get married!"

Panic set in. What if Donna wasn't the One? What about all the other girls out there I hadn't had a chance to meet?

"I'm too young to get married!"

And so, I broke up with my beloved Donna, the love of my life.

Undone by fear and doubt.

That's my take on the story.

Donna's take on the story is that I was just a jerk.

She is right, of course.

Having known Donna for less than a year, having fallen hard in love and enjoying a months long whirlwind romance, I broke the heart of my beloved.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year

Winter Flowers 2
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
When, in the midst of a dying season,
Brown, cracked leaves falling, rustling along
The cold hard ground,
We find warm comfort in the sweet honey smell of
Life, graciously giving way to the next season,
We give thanks.

When, in the midst of an uncivil war,
Brother against sister against father against aunt,
We find communion around a holiday table,
Overwhelmed with laughter and fond memories
Of shared life,
We give thanks.

When, as the year winds down,
Life giving way to winter,
Pleasant breezes to chill winds,
We find hope in the promise that life will
Rise again in three short months,
We give thanks.

For comfort, communion and hope,
Lord, we are thankful.