I've always been intrigued by the Amish. When I was young, I went through a period when I wanted to BE Amish. Okay, I have also wanted to be an architect, an American Indian and a bareback rider in the circus, but that's another story. Lately, it's started to seem like a good idea again! Actually, I don't think I could manage the workload, and I know my husband would not be able to do too long without his TV, but some aspects of their way of life are definitely attractive.
I think the main thing is the simplicity of their lives, and just the aspect of KNOWING. It seems that they know each day what they are going to do. This is something I struggle with. It's kind of funny, because I spent years being a coordinator, first at a group home, and then at a neighborhood center. I was required to go to work each day and schedule a whole group of people, making sure that everyone got where they needed to go when they needed to go there. It would seem that I would not have a problem keeping my little family together. But, there are so many decisions to be made.
This decision thing has gotten worse as I have gotten older, partly because there are so many more options available these days. When I was growing up, there were four TV stations. We had no VCR or DVD or computer. There was no cable or satellite. We had a radio and a cassette player. The television programming was pretty well regulated, so there were very few programs which could be considered objectionable to anyone. Now, we have hundreds of available TV channels, and the shows are getting more and more sensational. In addition to this, we have a large number of DVD's and videotapes which we can watch any time the myriad of television options are just not enough for us. Our closets are bulging with clothes, and I have to decide not only what I am going to wear, but also what my daughter will wear, and whether my son has picked out something appropriate or not. When I go to the grocery store, I have to compare thousands of products to decide what to get for my family. Even with a grocery list, this is a job. Dozens of cereals, breads, cheeses, even several brands of flour or chicken in our "piddly little local store." Of course, if I don't want to cook, we could order out pizza, Chinese, subs, pasta, donuts, hamburgers...... Schooling options include public school, private school, catholic school, Christian school, and homeschool. If you choose homeschool, there are literally hundreds of curriculum options to wade through. My brain hurts by the end of the day.
Even religion can't be simple. As a protestant Christian, there are probably dozens of denominations or "non-denominations" represented within driving distance. Each of these churches has its own list of "do's and don'ts." Which is right? Is it okay to dance? Which songs and instruments are appropriate? What about women pastors? Gay pastors? Should you dress up for church? Are pants okay for women? What about head coverings? Jewelry? Makeup? Why does it matter, anyway?
We live in a culture of non-absolute. You can do anything you want. My reality doesn't have to be the same as your reality. Everything should be "tolerated." There is no truth. No black and white. Only shades of gray, and these are infinite. I find recently that my heart is rebelling against this. There HAS to be right and wrong. There HAVE to be boundaries that should not be crossed. There HAVE to be consequences for crossing them. Instead of bringing freedom, this culture is imprisoning us in a world of chaos. It's like being dropped in the middle of the ocean and told "You can go any direction you want. If you swim several thousand miles in any direction, you will get to land." NO! NOT Helpful! The boundaries are so far apart that they might as well be non-existent. This is not freedom. It is death.
I need absolutes. I need to know the right answer. I need to know that there IS a right answer. I need to know when I get up in the morning that there are things I need to do. My children need to know that certain things are not going to change. I don't know yet how to accomplish this, but I know it has to do with accepting the Lordship of Christ, and learning to hear His voice. As I pray for guidance, I find that He is leading me in the direction He wants me to go. He is putting people and information in my path which are helping me to make sense of my world. Maybe I don't need to be Amish, after all.