Saturday, August 29, 2009

Amish Fascination

I've been reading a bunch of Amish Fiction novels from before summer started, and throughout the course of hot, humid days. I've read at least three series as well as singular novels. (the authors are Beverly Lewis and Wanda E. Brunstetter for those interested in reading) I have a new fascination with all things Amish and I would even go as far as to say, they've made me re-evaluate some things in my fast paced life. A visit to Amish country is definitely on my Life List, now.

I've always been interested in the Amish way of life, in general. In reading these novels though, it's opened up a whole new world to me that is very appealing on so many levels. I never really subscribe to "any" doctrine completely, but there are many great things to learn and appreciate from the Amish way of life. If you go back over the last months of my blog, you'll see I've been searching and seeking for some of that morality and some of that simplicity in a world that seems to be lacking.

I can't imagine living the way they do, on the one hand. While some "New Order" Amish do embrace some of the more modern conveniences, many of the "Old Order" still don't have electricity! Say, whaaat? That (and indoor plumbing) I so could not do. When I think of the way they work from sun up to sun down, daily, it makes me cognisant of how truly lazy we have become as a society in general. I find a day of watching children and making three meals, and keeping my home clean, tiring. The Amish prepare their meals from scratch. That's food from their gardens or farms (mostly) on top of that. For some of our meals, I throw a waffle into the toaster oven. Phew. Difficult! Though my family do eat at the table, together, for breakfast and dinner. I pack some cold meats and cheeses and breads and raw veggies into a lunch bag for my kids, or put some leftovers in a container for my husband. Again, challenging stuff! I was amazed at the amount of food prepared and eaten for each Amish meal, which was left to the women of the household. It certainly made my efforts seem less than adequate.

I run a vacuum, spray some cleaner, throw clothes in a washer and dryer. That's got to be way less time consuming than hand washing and using a clothes line! How the heck did we get so dang lazy? Oh ya......MODERN CONVENIENCES. The curse and cure for what ails us.

I respect the Amish's peaceful way of life and their respect of family and matrimony. When you make the pledge to finally join the Church, you better be serious because it's for life. They give their young people the chance to explore and go out in the world, but once you commit, you are ALL IN.

Could I, would I, want to live as the Amish on a daily basis? Probably not. But I do think there is something to be said for growing and enjoying food from your own garden. I think it's commendable to eat together as a family. I believe in the sanctity of a matrimonial promise. I try to lend a hand to a neighbour or friend when I can. I think it's smart to use up every morsel of food and make it stretch. I think food in general tastes best when it's homemade. And what's nicer than an Amish quilt or furniture, handcrafted?

It's unlikely that society will ever go back to that simpler way of life when the dangling carrot of convenience is procured. I certainly love when I can make things easier, quicker or less time consuming in my daily schedule. I'm no martyr!

I do however relish the thought of making homemade pies and tarts, relishes and pickles, salads and breads. I enjoy paring my life down to essentials, while still enjoying luxuries. I look forward to a simpler lifestyle that may be less full of material things, and richer in friends, family and spirituality.

1 comment:

  1. Don't let them fool you...many, many in the Amish community shop in Walmart and feed their kids Eggos too. Their freezers are just propane generated rather than electric. I don't understand the logic there. I'm always amused when I see a coffee klatch of Amish women in Starbucks or when I see an Amish family purchasing a computer "for their business." It seems the attitude of "separateness" is very subjective for many in the Amish culture.

    All that said, the Amish culture fascinates me as well...and I've read those books too, surprise. lol It's been quite an experience living in the heart of Amish country in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.