Thursday, October 05, 2006

Give Peace a Chance

The images haunt me. I sit and stare at my computer screen. Pictures of the faces, the faces that would prefer not to be photographed. Not wanting to be the center of attention but rather to be left alone to grieve in their own way. They are thoughtful, private, gentle people who have lost precious young ones. Their hearts are breaking yet I watch in awe as they handle their sorrow with grace and dignity.

While living in Missouri, I employed an Amish girl once a week to help with my housework. Her father had given permission. The understanding, “you may pick her up at 6 am but have her home by 6 pm... she has her chores at home to do you know.” Her community was only about 15 miles away but it was like stepping back in time when I turned onto the country road where they lived.

Black horse drawn buggies driven by men with beards but no mustaches. Straw hats on their heads wearing homemade denim pants with suspenders. Women in shirtwaist dresses made of modest solid colors held together with straight pins not buttons. Black stockings & shoes, heads always covered.

Honest, trusting folk. Fresh eggs, vegetables and dairy products for sale along the roadside... sometimes no one there to take the money, just a coffee can to put payment into for the things you took. There were a few little shops selling simply lovely hand made quilts, pillows, knit items and the like. Simple folks with enormous faith. Hard working, humble, peaceful people. Irene was 16. She had completed her education in the Amish school and had even taught there for a time. A beautiful girl. Fair skin, natural blond hair pulled back in a tidy bun. Bun covered by a mesh prayer bonnet which was under another black bonnet that tied under her chin... and always the black cape. Cute and friendly but cautious of “the English.” She’d ride in my car, eyes lowered until out of Amish country.

At my house she was more at ease. She’d take off her shoes and the black bonnet. She used electric appliances with such glee. The television and radio were a treat for her. Her talents were endless. Cleaning, cooking, laundry, gardening... if I left it on the list, she had it completed by the end of the day. A lifesaver for the working mom I was then.

Driving her home. we’d talk about our differences. She’d freely share their ways and customs. When she married I was careful to pick out a thoughtful gift. Mixing bowls, a rolling pin and wooden spoons.... unable to attend as I was not Amish. Soon thereafter, she was pregnant and her husband didn’t want her working. Her sister LuAnn took her place.

I think of those girls and their family now. How innocent the children. Their faith steadfast... they practice what they preach and live it daily. They have forgiven and offer comfort to the “English” family who is also grieving.

We invade the privacy they desperately crave, yet they forgive. My heart is heavy.

Please, don't make this a mini-series.


At 6:38 PM, Blogger sjobs said...

The entire thing makes my skin crawl. All of the schools shootings and for what????

At 4:45 AM, Blogger alan said...

Have been back several times...I just can't find words...

HawaiianMark had a link up the other day about "bravery" that still makes me cry:



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