June 23, 2008


I have recently been reading some wonderful books by Wanda E. Brunstetter. These books are fictional stories about the Amish people who live in different areas around the country.

I have always been curious about the Amish way of life, which is truly unique and deeply spiritual. These books seem to give a fairly true account of their way of life and outlook, even though the stories themselves are fiction. If you are interested in the Amish, want to know about their way of life, or are looking for a good set of books, I highly recommend those by Mrs. Brunstetter.

Sometimes I have wondered if I would do better, and enjoy my life more, as an Amish woman. At this point in my life, it is not an option for me to convert to the Amish church, and I don't know that I ever will be able to, but I still wonder if I would like it. They don't worry about the way their clothes look, or how much money they have. That is not what is important to these people. They wear simple clothes, usually home-sewn, and lead simple lives. They are called "Plain" because that is how their lives seem to us, who have so many things. I have discovered, through these books, that their life is anything but plain. It is a rich, strong community which holds to its members to its principles without violence or hate. Are they perfect? Of course not, no human could be. But their focus in life is not how much stuff they can get, how good of job they can find, how much they can pamper themselves or any other of a million things that people go after besides being closer to God. That is what their life is about: they simply want to be closer to God. I think that is beautiful.

Many people say that their goal in life is to be closer to God. I believe that it is possible for anyone to be closer to God. The Bible says it is more likely that a camel would go through the eye of a needle than that a rich man would enter the Kingdom. I don't believe that this refers to being monetarily rich. I think it refers to being 'rich' of self. If you are so convinced of your own superiority (even if you think you are spiritually superior) then you are rich of self. Instead, like the Amish, we should try to be rich of God. Someone could be as rich as Croesus (or Bill Gates) and still have a place in the Kingdom. But it is very difficult, because our human nature makes us think that the more we have the more important we are. "I have all this money, I can buy anything" is a common belief, but it's not true. You cannot buy your place into the Kingdom of Heaven. No one earns or deserves a place in the Kingdom of Heaven, except God.

The Amish know that, and more importantly, they live it. With all of our stuff, obligations, and personal wants and needs, most of us don't make time to really live like we know we should. The Amish simply don't have all of that. Everyone understands that time with God is the most important thing, and that this is just a temporary home. This life was meant to be a gift; we tend to turn it into something horrible. Pain, for God's sake, is not horrible or unfair. It's beautiful.

So, could I be happy being Amish? Maybe. It would depend on how the Amish church's beliefs mesh with my beliefs as a Catholic. There are some parts of the Catholic dogma that I could not give up for the sake of a simple life as an Amish woman. Transubstantiation, for instance. I believe that the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Christ; not that it represents it.

But the simple life? I could go for that. I truly could. If it were up to me, I would probably get rid of my tv and computer at home and try to live a simpler life closer to God. But it's not up to me, so I'll have to try to live a complicated life closer to God.


Outnumbered2to1 said...

This was really thought provoking. I've never wanted the Amish life but I would love to have a simpler life.

Insane Mama said...

I totally thinnk I should have been amish, I would fit in I think... I crave a simpler life

Ross said...

Yeah, I'm with everyone on the simpler life thing. I was watching a tv program last night where this workaholic British woman went to live with a tribe in Africa. And their simple way of life was so enrichening and therepeuatic to her that she couldn't possibly think about going back to her old rat-race way of life.

I think humans would be so much happier if we lived simple lives. These tribespeople were some of the happiest people I've ever seen. I guess humanity is a victim of it's own intelligence - we've out-done ourselves with all the technological advancements and so on.