Thoughts about our Amish Neighbors and Contentment
It is a very brisk morning (-6 degrees F or -21 degrees C), and I would not be surprised at all to see an Amish buggy go by as they do almost every morning. They are very accustomed to the cold and weather, unlike most of their neighbors. So many of us complain about the weather and we are not even out in it. They bring with them a reminder of the way things used to be before the automobile, electricity, and all of our modern conveniences. With their presence here, it is much harder to forget how our ancestors lived. It is also a beautiful reminder not to take for granted what we have, to remember to enjoy it, and not to think we are entitled to it. I personally come from Amish lineage. If my great-grandfather had not decided to leave the Amish church, my life today might look much different. I often think of that when I pass them on the road.
As we consider or compare the different lifestyles, the question arises: are they less happy because of their lack of modern conveniences? I'm sure that varies from person to person, as it is never good to lump a whole group of people into one assumption. Jim rubs shoulders with the Amish a lot, much more than I do, as you can see in several of his videos. I must tell you though, that we had an Amish couple stay with us in a very small attic apartment that is attached to our house for about 6 months. We learned much about their way of life by living and working so closely, ( the young man worked for Jim for about 4 years off and on). Their accommodations were very small to set up housekeeping, but it didn't seem to matter to them. We heard a lot of laughter . They loved to joke and play jokes on each other and us. They seemed to enjoy the simple things in life very much (example-making ice cream on Saturdays). They did very nicely with the room they had, and didn't complain about the lack of space, (I wish I had a picture to show their cute apartment). While here, they were able to use our modern conveniences of indoor plumbing and electricity, but they brought along some of the things they were accustomed to as well. Since they do not have access to media, their view of the world may be different. This also means so many things that concern media laden people do not concern them. Peace and quiet does the body and soul good. I think they have a lot of opportunity for that. More time to think and not be distracted. It is a choice I have to actively make, which brings me happiness when I do.
Contentment is a choice we all have to make, no matter what our circumstances are. It really doesn't have to do with what we have or don't have, rather how we choose to think about what we have. Can we enjoy where we are right now? More isn't always better, less isn't always better either. We always have the moment we are in and in that moment the choice is ours to make about contentment. I'm going out to help Jim do some outside work in a few minutes, so I'll have to remember that!
Here is a video we did last spring on another Amish couple that moved in close-by to us if you're interested: https://youtu.be/o-nEAH9tfkc