Friday, March 6, 2009

I *Wanted* to be Amish

I am a "weird" girl. I guess I have always been strange. My brother would always chide me, "Mom dresses you funny" and I really didn't care, because I liked the way my mom dressed me. :-P

And then when mom pulled me out of public school to home school me, my weirdness only got weirder. ;-)

I guess my fascination with the Amish began when my mom, as part of my "history" lessons sat me on the couch and would read hours upon hours of Laura Ingalls Wilder to me.

She and I began to dream of "yesteryear" and how much more "fun" it would be to live in a cabin, sew our own clothes, and be content with the "simpler" things of life.

Then mom introduced me to Kirsten of the American Doll series, and that only fed my love for that time period in American History.

I would pretend to go to "school" in a one room school house while doing my lessons. My sister, an artist, had old quill pens and ink bottles, and I would write "journals" with them.
My mother invested in sewing lessons for me, and I sewed a pioneer dress, and sun bonnet to play my fantasies out.

Then my mom found the Mandie series. Historical, Mystery Fiction. Ah, I was in heaven!

I wished with a "passion" we could go back to the "good old days"

One year, we visited my grandmother who lived about two hours from Lancaster Pennsylvania. She asked us if we wanted to go spend about four days there and see the "Amish". I was about 13 at the time, and I asked "What's the Amish"

Mom explained to me that they were people living out the "simple" life like Laura Ingalls did. They didn't have electricity, they drove horse and buggies, grew their own food.

I couldn't believe it! Really and Truly there were people "alive today" that lived like that! Of course I wanted to go!

Those four days were more fascinating and "happy" than anytime I went to Disney World. We bought tons of books about the Amish. We toured an Amish "farm", we followed Amish Buggies around, and even took an authentic buggy ride!
We learned there were different "sects" of Amish, and that each had their own "rules" to follow.

One rule that seemed to be prevalent in MOST Amish/Mennonite communities was that the women always covered their head with a little hat. I thought it was kind of quaint...but I didn't know that they did it because they thought that the Bible said to do that. (I Corinthians 11)

When my mother showed me this scripture passage, I wondered why we didn't. We were Christians weren't we? Why didn't we wear that little hat?

We went home, and I devoured all the books that we had bought in Pennsylvania. It only fed my thirst for that type of life "more". I discovered that Mennonites had publishing companies such as Rod and Staff, and Christian Light.

They even had tapes, explaining biblicaly why they did all the stuff that they did. As I read this and devoured this, I became dissatisfied with my own "spiritual" life. Compared to the Amish it seemed "vain" and "empty".

I started to wear only dresses, and I tried making little head coverings to wear, but my dad wouldn't let me out of the house with it on, lol!

I started to grow my hair and never cut it. I had read in one of their tracts to even have bangs was "cutting of the hair" and I wasn't satisfied with the hairline that God had given me. Although I had a protruding forehead, and a high hairline.

I began to read my Bible more, and praying more. I discovered other things to fuel my "religious conservatism" Magazines, pen pals, books, sermons on tapes, etc.

At times, my mom thought it was "cute" when I wanted to be Amish, but as it drug on into my early teen years, she probably thought she created a monster! ;-)

Thankfully, that "Amish" phase passed. I now no longer believe modern convinces are a sin, and I no longer think that I have to be a certain "way" to be acceptable to God. But some of those "Amish Philosophies" lingered *LONG* after I ditched the prospects of ever becoming Amish. ;-)

And I'll continue on in my story at a later date:

But... in the meantime, I STRONGLY recommend that you read Beverly Lewis who is a Christian fictional writer who writes fiction about the Amish. After all my research of the Amish, and reading respected sources of the Amish, Beverly Lewis truly gets into the minds and ways of the Amish, without "romanticizing" things. And also gracefully shows the errors in their thinking about God. My favorite series that she wrote was Abram's Daughters. That really clued me in! ♥

7 comments:

Persuaded said...

that is so funny that your dad wouldn't let you out of the house, hehehe

here where i live we are surrounded by the amish every day... we even do some of our shopping in an amish store. as you say, it is easy to romanticize them, but (also as you say) they're just sinful human beings like the rest of us;)

part of me still wants to be amish, but deep down i know i am just plain old too lazy to ever live that lifestyle, lol.
have a wonderful day, my dear((hugs))

Mommy said...

I have also long since been facinated with the Amish people. I LOVE the Beverly Lewis books and also think that they do a great job at depicting the real amish life!!! I really enjoyed the Abram's Daughters books and also the Courtship of Nellie Fisher books:) Everytime I start one of her books I have to make myself put it down and care for my family:) I could read them nonstop till I finish if I let myself:)

Jennifer said...

There is, indeed, so much to love about the Amish culture. I am glad to know, however, that there is eternal security and I don't have to "work" for my salvation. And I would definitely have to be a much better cook in order to live among the Amish!!

I also throughly enjoy all of Beverly Lewis' books...and I've read just about all of them.

Troy Eckhardt said...

Mommy,

Jennifer and I also played around with the idea of being Amish, but we did it later in life than you, and together, and not quite so seriously. The problems with doctrine were too much to reconcile, of course, but it was a fun idea. I too have studied the Amish very extensively. I grew up in Amish country near Lancaster, and my family was Mennonite, but that ended for my father when he was young, so I was never Mennonite. Still I got a lot of Mennonite philosophy. We still use Rod & Staff at home today, in fact, Jennifer and Tater are reading from a R&S publication right now. The old ways and the Ordnung are still very attractive to me. I am (and I suspect you are too) what the hippies would call an old soul.

I even have an Amish style hat I like to wear, and I use to have a plain blue shirt that was rather Amish, but it had buttons, so it was too fancy. Still, if I had shaved my mustache, that and the hat would have really made me almost fit in.

My other problems with the Amish are that their German is 400 years old and very funny sounding to me, and their singing is like doleful droning.

Troy

Esther Ruth said...

It was so much fun to read this Heather and learn about how your interest in the Amish grew! Now I'm going to read the next blog!!

Amy said...

I often have wondered about the Amish community... there is something that is so drawing about their simplicity and lack of dependence on all the modern mumbo jumbo. I don't think I could have lived in the legalism for very long.. but I loved reading about your obsession days... don't we all have them in one shape or another as young girls? gosh, I was always obsessing over boys... I don't know what is better?? LOL!! I think amish obsession... ha ha!

Joelswife said...

I grew up in an Amish community. In fact, the school I went to had more Amish than us "English" until the 8th grade, that is, when they graduated and left. It drove me completely nuts when I was living at home. The buggies always congesting the roads....their Dutch talk that I couldn't understand. The Amish kids were always best at the games in school..kickball, basketball, etc. But I did love shopping at their shops near the barns...always great food! NOW, I would love to go home and live there again. I do miss it. I go and marry a Mennonite boy so I get a taste of it all the time :)

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