Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Question

The sight of the horse and buggy on the country road awakened the interests of my kids that the ninety-minute car ride had deadened.
"What is that?" my (then) six-year-old was the first to notice and question.
I smiled at the sight that I had seen many times before when visiting my grandparents in Belle Center, Ohio. "There are Amish people who live up here and that is the way they travel."
"Cool!" came the response from the backseat.
The closer we got to the slow moving mode of transportation, the more the questions arose about the Amish life style. To kids who had just been complaining about not having a cell phone, the idea of such a simple lack of modern day conveniences seemed not only unheard of, but downright antiquated.
"Do they know what they're missing?" my son questioned as we slowly made our way past the buggy. The plainly dressed gentleman smiled as he nodded and waved while holding onto the reigns.
We returned his courteousness and waved, continuing on our way to Grandma's house.
I couldn't help but to think of that scene when I was awakened to the news of another school shooting last week. This time the shooting took place in the humble dwelling of a one room Amish school house in Pennsylvania .
It breaks our hearts anytime we hear of a school shooting ---and there have been more times lately than we can wrap our broken hearts around. But there was something even more sinister in this choice of victims: a community that is known for such simple-God fearing ways; a people that remind us of a time so long ago. Hostage situations and multiple murders here seem even more of a deplorable violation to the rest of the world.
But now the rest of the world is sitting back with a sense of awe in what happened next in the community.
The afternoon of the murder, the families involved led a walk to the house of the murderer to show forgiveness to the family he left behind.
When asked about this, an Amish gentleman answered, "It's just our way of life."
One mother who lost her daughter was overheard saying it was a horrible tragedy that should never happen. But if it had to happen, " was probably best that it happened in our community, where we are prepared to leave this world for the next."
The simple people with the plain clothes have spoken so profoundly.
We do tend to look at their way of life as being antiquated, almost backward in thought. It appears, though, they are better futuristic thinkers than most.
To answer my son's question, they indeed, appear to know what it is they are missing in their chosen lifestyle.
The better question, though, just might be: Do we?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So very true. This deeply touched me. Thank you for writing it.