“How much does if cost of a cord of split wood, Harry?” I asked my paraplegic Amish friend.
“I don’t know. The People fill my woodshed every year, since I can’t split wood,” he said.
Harry story is not uncommon. I’ve seen the effects of the Amish slower paced life; they have time to value what’s really important: faith, family, and friends.
There was a survey done in 2007 to find out who are the happiest people in America. The results showed, to everyone’s surprise, the Amish. I wasn’t surprised though. We all long for strong family ties, life-long friendships and a faith that permeates all we do.
The Amish place such high regard on the family, especially aged parents. They build them smaller houses called a dawdyhaus (grandparent house) and take care of them in their old age. If the aging parent suffers from any impairment, they take care of them in the home. My friend in Smicksburg told me a stoke patient, who was paralyzed, was taken care of around the clock by family.
Friendships in America are at an all-time low. Duke University did a study called, “Social Isolation in America.” It found that people have fewer friends outside of their immediate family, due to long work hours. Internet friendships have also replaced face to face communication, and people are feeling more isolated than ever. The Amish, by contrast know the importance of friendship. When someone dies, they can expect to be visited by friends weekly for a year, until their grief subsides. I find this amazing.
The Amish are a Christian sect, that tries to live out the words of Jesus, especially the Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew 5-7 It can be broken down into five categories. The first in the Beatitudes, blessings to comfort believers, such as “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” and “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” The second category is New Laws, such as going the extra mile and loving your neighbor. The third category is the Lord’s Prayer, or the Our Father, as some people call it. The fourth is about the dangers of the love of money, and the fifth is on warning to be wise verses foolish.
I’m challenged by this in many areas. Turn off Facebook and visit people face to face. Our family has decided to have Sunday dinners again, and I’m reading Matthew 5-7 a lot more, seeing how I can put feet to my faith.
Karen Anna Vogel