Recently I read Growing Up Amish by Ira Wagler, who was born into an Amish community in Canada and later left. That, of course, is a very simplified version of Ira’s story. To my knowledge, I have no Amish ancestors, nor do I really know any Amish people besides those my family buys raw milk from. But, I do have an interest in the Amish, especially those who have left.
From reading Growing Up Amish and especially Saloma Miller Furlong’s books, a lot of people really romanticize the Amish. And over the past few years, I have seen this myself. They believe the Amish have no problems such as we do. They are plain people, live a simple life without modern technology. I’m not really going to get into why I don’t have a 100% positive view of the Amish with this post. I do, however, recommend reading books by ex-Amish and you’ll perhaps see why for yourself.
What I want to share is something positive about them, something that truly amazes me.
In Ira’s book and other accounts of ex-Amish, I have read stories of Amish people in need within their own communities, or even other Amish communities. Ira recounted the story how his one brother became paralyzed at age 23 and ranked up some pretty expensive medical bills. He had no insurance, Amish usually don’t, and he could no longer work. Their father took it upon himself to try to pay his son’s bill.
And word got back to the community they used to live in what was going on. So the editor of an Amish magazine, which Ira’s father started, shared their story in the magazine.
Amish from their community and many others began to send letters and money. They didn’t get a little money, but a lot, enough to pay the whole bill of $80,000. And that’s not the only story of an Amish community or communities coming together to help.
There are definitely things I do not like about the Amish, but this, to me, is amazing. If someone in the community is in need, they all come together to help. And it just makes me wonder, why aren’t all people that way?
I know what it’s like to be in need. Heck, my family is in need right now. This has been going on for nearly a year now. And while we have gotten some help, we’ve found that most people are pretty cold. And I’m not talking about any of you. Some of you donated to the GoFundMe or helped in other ways. And you’ve been there during my times of feeling down to offer support and kindness. I am forever grateful for each one of you.
I am talking about other people being cold.
My family has never been rich. We’ve never even been considered middle-class. And this isn’t the only time we’ve had financial problems. This is the worst it has ever been, though. My family has always been at what’s considered poverty-level. I guess you can just simply call it being poor. We’ve had better times than others, of course.
And despite the financial problems we’ve had in the past, we have never asked for help. Never.
We have only done so this time because things are so bad and we have felt to have no other option. But it has been one disappointment after another. Rejected, refused countless times by churches and other programs that are supposed to help people in our situation. And treated absolutely like scum, like we don’t deserve to live.
When you’re poor, you’re not a person. You are just a waste of space and don’t deserve any help. If you can’t help yourself then you don’t deserve to even be alive. This is the experience we have had, this is how we’ve been treated, even by family.
And this is why there are times I have been less than positive. Not having money is hard, but it is even harder when people are so cold and uncaring. It’s painful. It causes a deep hurt, a hurt that can be felt right in your chest. It’s so heavy and after a while, you just feel numb. What’s the point of trying anymore when no one cares? And you just want to give up.
This is what I have been feeling at times, this is why some of my posts over the past year have not been the happiest. It’s not because of any of you. I know all of you care.
But this experience has taught me how cold people can be. And I swear I will never be that way. When I do have money and I see someone in need, I will help. No one deserves to live in poverty. No one deserves to be treated like trash simply because they don’t have money. Whether you’re poor, middle-class or rich, people are people and all deserve love and kindness.
I just wish the whole world could be like the Amish in the way they help one another. If there is one thing I do admire about the Amish, it is how they care if one of them is in need and they come together to help. I think people the world over need to strive to be that way, to care and to help those in need.