She had just put a huge meal on for tourists and was about to reload the table for her family of 9. It was almost 8 PM, and they were coming in from the harvest. The corn had to be collected before the rains came. Her youngest child, a boy of 7, had helped late into the evening the night before, but they still had some work to do. She had a twinkle in her eye, but there was a shot of weary and concern as well as she turned her bonneted head toward me and chirped happily in her heavy accent:
“I have so much to be thankful for. God has given me many blessings.”
Her words grew feet and scurried right into the center of my heart.
It was the Amish way, and yet, as tired mothers: one the “worldly English” and one with the “plain life,” the only thing separating us in our common mama sighs was our lifestyles. Otherwise, the weightiness of our hearts beat to the same sound. We shared the same God. We each wanted to express love into the other’s world, if only for a few hours, without making her world become fully ours.
And yet those penetrating words. Despite the fact setting the table for her six-course meal was on its second round, she was grateful.
—with another sinkload of dishes in the almost-dark.
I grew up not far from this community. We regularly came “up the country” to Lancaster County from Chester County, Pennsylvania. Horses and buggies were part of my childhood tapestry. But now, with my parents living amidst the Amish community in surrounding farms, I have come to pay greater attention to my Christian brothers and sisters in solid, dark colors.
And as I left her house that day, this 39 year old mother of 7, with worn hands from many years of caring for her family, gave me a gift I can never exercise enough. Read the rest of this entry »