Many people would love to live in community like the Amish do. So many of us crave that warm community life and all it has to offer. The singings, barn raisings, and canning bees. It is the over and over of living that seems so romantic, so simple. Where there is no television set gleaming its cold stare, or computers that steal your attention for hours. Those hours turn into days and weeks when you lose count of them. We long for a simpler life, sitting on a creaky old porch, shelling peas and the breeze is gently gathering our hair from our eyes. A time where life seems to stand completely still and free. Children running barefoot in the fields of clover, and you can hear their laughter. I dream and long for this in my heart of hearts just as most of you. There is something so void in our culture. As I embrace the musings of yesteryear, I take hold of something greater. If for just a moment, I see meaning to this life more than my desire of the simpler life. For if I would be sitting on my porch shelling peas in the breeze, I would not be writing a “blog” or making homesteading dvds.
I am the type that would want to run fast away from the grips of technology and the business of keeping up with the world. It would be my wish to say goodbye to all of it forever and step back into life as it was 100 years ago. That is my flesh!!!! You see, I used to covet the simpler life and, it was for me, wrong to want it so bad that I lost sight of why I am here-NOW. I have had to realize that God created me in this present age to be of His service to the people He still loves and leads. He has a ministry for me, first to my husband and then to my children who also live in this present age. Children that will soon be on their own in this the modern world as we know it. Daughters that may one day marry a man that works on computers, or sons that marry wives who get a lot of encouragement in being good wives and mothers from reading Christian blogs. It would be so much easier for me to walk away from it all. Instead, I work with it, not because I want to, but because I need to do whatever the Lord’s will is for my life right now.
Right now, We live in a modern functioning old farmhouse in TN that runs on electricity. We are thankful we learned how to live off grid, because we now know how to survive a bit more than before, just in case we need to survive. It is valuable information for anyone to aquire.
One of the main reasons people get a good feeling when they think about the way humans lived a hundred years ago is the community life that was a part of their daily living. I cherish the stories of my grandparents and how they lived in close farming communities. Aunt Janise would walk down the lane to help milk Grandpa Fred’s cow with the short teats. Since her hands were so small, she was young but she was needed and was a valued helper on the farm. All the relatives that lived in that community as well as neighbors would meet for ice cream socials on Friday evenings, where they would sing and enjoy the time together. Girls would churn the cream in an old ice cream maker. Sunday afternoons after church were spent eating popcorn, laughing at all the stories people would tell, and just relaxing as a community. They were never short handed and they were always there for one another when they were needed.
The Amish are a good example of community in this modern society. They are the only ones, to my small knowledge, that can continue living the community life that all humans lived for thousands of years before them. It is rare today and that is so sad. The Amish have that similar community life that my forefathers enjoyed 100 years before. They still have the ice cream socials, and Sunday afternoon popcorn visits. The community work of the fields and farming. The women gathering for quilting bees and tea time. Amish community life is closed to the outsiders and through my first hand rejection, I now understand why. I had to accept it. In order to “keep” that culture and lifestyle, they have to fight against change. For to accept change, or other influences, would be to accept the end to life as they have lived for hundreds of years. Even here, in our Community, there lives an Amish type community. They are all outcasts from the Amish because one way or another, they changed their heart towards a deeper meaning in their life, and that change is very threatening to the steadfast Amish. Instead of trying to grow in understanding, their first instinct is to protect what they hold sacred-their community life. Therefore, they cast out the free thinker or the ones that seem different. The plain folk here are very warm to you if you follow their rules, but they will avoid you if you refuse to change to meet their standards. It is very similar to the Amish I lived around, just a different style of dress and mode of believing.
e bottom line is that we know that enforcing man made rules is wrong as well. Today they are called communes. You just can’t win…That is why I gave up on it for this side of heaven. I still have a little homestead where we try to grow our own food. I still enjoy the fellowship community offers, like canning or butchering livestock with neighbors and friends when time allows and other ladies seem interested to give it a try. I know that is within reach for all of us. More importantly, I have cleaved unto my family for my community life. To my home. We are not all off doing our own thing. We tend to stick together all the time. We work together. We play together. We relax together. If we need more meat, we figure out a way to obtain it, cut it up and can it all. What a blessing to have a family. We are never short handed nor are we ever too busy to lend a hand. When the hands are in close proximity, they are ready to offer when a need arises. Still, “many hands make light work!” We still have our ice cream socials. My girls churn the fresh cream from our cow in our kitchen aid mixer. They pop popcorn over the electric range with our hand cranked popper. So we have it. It is not all perfectly nostalgic with oil lamps flickering, but it is home. And it is my community right now. I find my community life so much more glorious and fulfilling today in my home with my family than dreaming of it somewhere else in years gone forever. I embrace the now.