And a simpler time

Sweet William and I went on a little jaunt the first sunny day of our week.  We needed to get out of the house and on the road.

Our destination was a small historic town about an hour away, an easy drive on the interstate or a nice wander on the back roads less traveled.  Today we choose the interstate.  We will save the back roads for spring when yard sales will pop up along the way.

One of our favorite stops is the store run by the Amish community there.  It is organized, clean and neat as a pin.  Today it’s a flurry of activity with a variety of customers and the Amish women workers, dressed in typical plain dress.

They converse easily with one another in their own Pennsylvania Dutch dialect, but speak to the “Englishers” in English. Of course.

One of the best things about this store is the bakery all the way in the back.  The fresh backed smells greet us before we get to the busy area where donuts, bread, cookies, and other delicacies are on display.  The women are busy preparing the goods as we peruse the choices.

I pick a caramel topped cream-filled donut and Sweet William chooses a chocolate one.  Bar none, these are the best donuts in the world as far as I am concerned.  And yes, I’ve been to New Orleans and sampled their beignets.

There’s a carafe of coffee, free for the taking, so we each get a cup, find a bench close by and sit to enjoy the taste and texture of these wonderful confections.  Shopping in the store will come later.  Right now it’s all about the donuts.

As we leave the store with the trunk of the little black Honda full of deli meat and cheese, fresh farm eggs, herbs at ridiculously low prices, plus a myriad of other things, we see two young Amish women walking home.

Amish country

{Photo from The Amish, PBS documentary}

And we wonder what their lives are like in the simplicity in which they live.  They are not encumbered with multiple digital devices beeping and pinging.  No hundreds of cable channels to choose from with programs and advertisements that intend to influence and persuade.

Their lives are regimented with work and worship, family and fun, learning and honing skills that sometimes seem almost forsaken.

Our world has become complicated.  We have made it so.  We are not self sustaining any longer.  We depend on so many others for our daily needs.  If we should loose electrical service or, heaven forbid, the entire computer network should crash, life would cease as we know it.

But on the Amish farm, their lives would proceed as usual.

I’m not saying I want to be Amish or go back to a life like that.  Personally I like indoor pluming and hot water at the turn of the faucet.  I’m glad to flip the switch and suddenly there is light.  I enjoy the convenience of the internet and quick messaging.

But sometimes I feel this life style has controlled us.

There is something appealing about the simple way in which the Amish conduct their lives. “Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free.

There is a freedom in a less encumbered life.  And perhaps there is a way to simplify my own.

In my Season of Lent this year, of living in the moment, being present and trying to really experience this one wonderful life I’ve been given, leaning into simplicity beckons me.

Maybe I need to examine the many commitments I make so quickly without much thought and decide if all of them are really necessary, really for my best.

Do I need more clothes, more shoes, more books, more canned goods, more stuff?  Can I regard what I already have and discover it again?

I could pursue the simple pleasures found where I am rather than lust after what is out of my reach and be dissatisfied.

There is a place where I can be at rest, be at peace in the simplicity of the life I have today, this very minute.

And I think it is here that will I learn a little more of contentment.