Poverty, The Amish, And The Cold-hearted

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.


9 responses to “Poverty, The Amish, And The Cold-hearted

  1. I truly understand how you feel. I’m only making enough money right now to cover my household bills. I’m living paycheck to paycheck. Things became very bad for me when Anne became very sick and I found out that I have cancer. Yes right now, I’m in remission, but my cancer can come back because it is a genetic defect in my genes. Things have gotten so bad that I’ve had to stop going to the oncologist. I don’t look at having cancer as a bad thing because I know that one day I will die. I look at things this way; “the only truth in life is that you are going to die.” But what you do with your life before that time comes is going to give you eternal life. As long as people remember you, you will be alive in their hearts and minds. So for now Anne has eternal life, through others and me that remember her.

    I found that thinking as a Native American has helped me with how I treat other people. I’ve studied many religions and religious beliefs and found that the teachings and beliefs of Native Americans fit me best. Mostly Native Americans don’t have a fixed religion other then their belief in The Creator. This is why they found the Christian religion easy to add in their own religious beliefs. The only problem that they have is the story of Adam and Eve being cast out of the Garden of Eden. Native Americans believe that The Creator put them in a special place on earth as caretakers of that place, showing them how to live in harmony with nature. With that belief The Creator never cast them out of Eden. Also the poorest person in Native American society is the Chief, because he is the last person to reap the benefits in that social system. The Chiefs of Native American social system look after the care and well being of their people. With that thought I look at my friends as part of my family and do what I can to help them when I’m able. Sometimes I wish I could do more! Mostly I pray for they’re well being and that they can find happiest in their lives.

    So the Amish are not the only social system that looks to helping people within their community. I feel they saw this in Native American society and chose to follow their example by adding it to their social system.

    We who live in this United States of America need to thank the Indigenous people for many things that are part of our social system. The problem is our government has forgotten where and why they have gotten the rules that are to govern our social system.

    Yigaquu osaniyu adanvto adadoligi nigohilvi nasquv utloyasdi nihi.
    (May the Great Spirit’s Blessings Always Be with You.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know things are hard for you and I thank you for all that you have done for my family. I think of you often and pray for you.

      I’ve studied different religions as well, but I find that I always come back to my Native roots. That’s not to say other religions are bad, but Natives beliefs are what feel right to me.

      And I do think it is possible the Amish saw how Native Americans are and choose to do the same with regards in helping those within their community. It would just be nice if all people were like this.


  2. Yes, I wish the whole world could be more like that, too!
    Those books sound interesting!
    Growing up, I was one of 8 children in my family and we were VERY poor. It was really tough. 😦
    I give $$ as I can, and I help my neighbors when they need food or a ride somewhere, etc., and I do volunteer work to make sure families in my school district have a good Christmas, collect clothes to give to families in need, raise money for the American Cancer Society, etc. I wish I could do more, though. 😦


  3. I understand your statement . In France we have a social system that is an organized solidarity.Infortunately many citizen have forgotten the origin of this generous system and live in an individualist way reinforced by the life more and more in big cities .
    But there always are good people that helps others in need .
    Love ❤


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