Monday, May 26, 2008

The Amish Way of Life

Over the Memorial Day Weekend I had the opportunity to get together with family up in Amish country in central Ohio. It is always interesting when you spend most of your life in the 'burbs and then take some time off and go off into the country! And not just the country, but Amish country!

A couple observations over the course of this weekend:

1. We have gotten so good at packing our lives so full of things that keep us busy and distracted. When you get a chance to observe a people that try to live by the rule of simplicity it is humbling. It helped me to appreciate where I am at in my life and to stop looking to the next stage of "wanting more in order to be satisfied".

2. Being surrounded by God's creation, listening to the wind coming through the leaves of the trees, animals making noise here and there, and just observing for miles the countryside is just awe inspiring. The artistry of God is just incredible when you stop and soak it in.

3. The animal kingdom is yet another thing that expresses the creativity and beauty of God. It is just an amazing thing to stand and watch horses, sheep, cattle, chicks, pigs, butterflies, and goats as they interact and respond to you (esp. if you have food!).

4. Conversation was at the top of the order when you escape to a place like this. Conversation with your family as well as conversation with the people in the community. I had some brief conversations with people in the community but it definitely left me wishing for more. There was so much about the Amish culture I did not understand and I would have loved to have a few beers with some of the Yoder's and really hear them out about their lives, faith, work, and worldviews. In my observations of them I had both admiration and utter confusion on how they chose to live their way of life. I would have loved to understand them more through conversation and friendship.

5. Diversity of our great state of Ohio is amazing. To be able to visit the rural as well as the urban centers of our state helps to appreciate a wide range of lifestyles and environments. The city and the country need each other.

6. I love discovering humor through observing cultures that are so different that what I am used to. My wife sent me out to find some syrup for breakfast for the following morning. Unfortunately, in a rural town most everything shuts down by sunset. After driving through some small towns I finally came up to a little more modern town that had a convenient store that was open. As my daughter and I were in the store the two songs that melodiously played over the loudspeakers in the store was the theme song to "Dukes of Hazzard" and "Sweet Home Alabama". As I came to the counter to pay for my syrup, the clerk was jiving away to "Sweet Home" and looked at me and said, "This is great drivin' music." I got a big grin on my face because as much as I wanted to NOT like country music, I had to completely agree with clerk guy! When I jumped back in my van I quickly found the radio station playing the southern fried rock song so I could finish out Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama"!

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