The Russians and "The Rose"

The property we wanted to use for our Summer Camp program was located in a Russian community.

At one time this was the leading meeting grounds for Russian immigrants and their families. The immigrants would migrate to the area, be given a small bungalow to sleep and store their belongings in. On the property was a large community kitchen where families prepared and served their families meals for the day.

We were interested in leasing the Pavilion building, located on a beautiful lake. The building itself was run down but had wonderful potential. It would be large enough to house all the participants in our Summer Camp. It had a stage, a great wooden dance floor, and a 65 foot bar, that could be used as a lunch and snack area, or for craft instructions.

All the garage type doors opened upward to the ceiling, allowing full view of the lake from every corner the eye could see. (We had already used it earlier in the season for our Easter Egg Hunt) and knew that many of our programs could be successfully run from this facility.

All we had to do was convince the Russian Orthodox Church members and their organization, and the township, to enter into an agreement to lease the property.

The township's concern was the property was on a lake. The Russian Organization's concern was the kids would further damage their property and their neglected building.

We had to build a mutual trust. They would have to learn to love us before we took over their property.

So we decided what better way to build this trust than to begin with having free concerts so they would get to know us.(Especially me) They had to learn to ultimately, and unconditionally, trust me.

I would take care of their property. I would treat it with respect. I would build respect for their culture, their music, their art, and their religious beliefs.

The township had concerns of their own. Not only the property location on the lake, but that many of the old Russians were alcoholics and were use to sitting by the lake fishing and drinking all day.

The task of building a love affair of mutual respect was about to begin.

We began with a free Christian Band concert on a Sunday afternoon. What better way to show love, than with a band that spoke love with their music.

The afternoon went well. The band intermingled among the old Russian people. We held hands. We prayed together. We kissed them on the cheek...two cheeks, both sides, as they do.

Then we gathered in a big circle. All ages together. All nationalities together, holding hands together, and the band played and sang "The Rose" made famous by Bette Midler. The words are:

Some say love, it is a river
That drowns the tender reed.
Some say love, it is a razor
That leaves your soul to bleed.

Some say love, it is a hunger,
An endless arching need.
I say love, it is a flower,
And you it's only seed.

It's the heart, afraid of breaking,
That never learns to dance.
It's the dream, afraid of waking,
That never had a chance.

It's the one who won't be taken,
Who cannot seem to give
And the soul, afraid of dyin'
That never learns to live.

When the night has been too lonely,
And the road has been too long,
And you think that love is only
For the lucky and the strong,

Just remember in the winter
Far beneath the bitter snows,
Lies the seed, that with the sun's love,
In the spring becomes "The Rose"

The song touched their hearts. Who knew if they understood the words. But God moved them… And the Love Affair Began!

© Carole Devecka, God Given Daisies    

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