We had a fantastic family trip down to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where I got to enjoy a dinner at an Old Order Amish's family home, and a buggy ride (among many, many other delights).
For the longest time I've been moved and fascinated by the Amish. My recent trip only solidified my sense of envy for a life lived so integrated and so knitted into the land, the family, the seasons.
As a modern, liberal, suburban mother, the world of community open to me exists largey now, as it never has before, in cyberspace. That's a lonely place for me, as is sitting alone writing on a computer. I like people in the flesh, community with a group I can see and touch, meaning gathered from more than a few lines.
The Amish aren't perfect, but we have an emptiness that they simply don't know of. "Love your neighbor as yourself," is not an abstraction to them, it's not a $5 check to your favorite charity, or an occasional wave to the guy down the road whose name you don't know.
Call me old fashioned, but my soul hungers for that kind of community. Even among my community of wonderful friends, each woman is so busy, so consumed by her own work and world, that little is left for us to share with one another. It is hard for me to believe that this is the way we were meant to live.
So get me Amish. I'll take the head-covering and the ugly black sneakers. Shame they won't take me, which is another wonderful quality they possess as a group: they don't convert or evangelize. Got to love those people who love the way they live and don't force you to join. But if I'll have them and they won't have me, where does that leave me? Trotting down route 9 with my own horse and buggy? How to be more Amish in the modern world is now the topic on our famiy table. We will take into consideration all suggestions....