Thursday, October 05, 2006

My Mom Wanted to Be Amish

Happy Birthday to my mother who birthed me cesarean.

Growing up, my mom wanted to become a nun. Then, when she emigrated to the States, she loved the Amish. She thought the women radiated natural beauty, sans foundation and blush. Thus led to my thinking that Witness was one of the greatest thrillers of the 80s.

After moving to Ohio when I was 8 years old, I had my first glimpse of the Amish. The horse and buggy, simple clothing, and quiet demeanor, I sometimes confused them with Target shopping Menonites. What I always noticed first was their cleanliness, glowing with innocence, happiness, and earnest attempt to be good in this often filthy world. I may not know everything about the Amish, but their simplicity spoke volumes of their culture. I felt this community was something rare and deserving of honor.

This latest tragedy of 11 young schoolgirls, who were first sifted through a classroom with boys and adults, and shot in the head by a tormented man has shaken me. But what has more moved me is the Amish response. They have requested privacy for funerals and have outreached to the surviving members of the murder's family. Relying on faith, not vengeance, the Amish have reacted with the pain and confusion of their humanity, but have acted with the forgiveness and healing of their divinity. It's beyond remarkable, beyond heartwrenching.

I'm sure that not every soul affected in the Amish community is as pure as the media has pegged. I'm sure that many struggled with unfathomable grief, fear, and outrage, but the bottom line of their lifestyle is that they live their lives for what they are. They do not try to make themselves more sophisticated or advanced. They don't play the stupid games of showing off homes and cars; the latest technology and backseat entertainment has no place in their lives. The essential and natural course of life - family, faith, simplicity, and even unexplained tragedy - are embraced, lived, mourned, and forgiven.

Bush...err- all of us - take a seat and learn.

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