Peace Passes By

Our two-hour drive abruptly stopped as we reached the edge of town. The only traffic signal  in Shipshewana, Indiana, dispensed with the convenience of 21st century automobiles as we sat in a mile of backed up traffic watching many horse-drawn buggies pass us by. I was able to take a close look at the Amish farmsteads while we were in the traffic jam. Monday must be laundry day because almost every home had a clothesline filled with blue, purple, black and white clothing hanging in the sunshine. White homes, neatly kept yards and happy farm animals graced the slightly rolling land.
 
Today was Labor Day and the largest flea market in the midwest had opened its doors early for the holiday and last unofficial day of the summer tourist season.  It was fun to watch the beautiful horses trot down the side of the street. The Amish carriages seemed a bit foreboding with their matte black paint and tiny slits in the side for windows. But, just one smile at the buggy inhabitants and you knew these Amish folk were as happy as we were to be going to such a fun event on this gorgeous day. The parking lot had a large side corral filled with the horses and buggies, and the Amish jumped out of their vehicles, as did we, to race for the bargains.


We decided to split our group; the men stayed at the flea market and we went to the antique shops and gift stores up the street. I wanted to get an interview with an Amish lady for an article and also some pictures (being respectful of their beliefs and not photographing any faces.) The town businesses were mostly owned and run by the local Amish. Too busy with such a hectic day filled with tourists, I was unable to interview anyone, but got some addresses and took pictures.

Too many shops to hit in 1 day! 
My husband's favorite shop, Yoder's Meat and Cheese, was especially busy as we entered the store fifteen minutes prior to closing. A jolly woman was frantically putting more cheese in the case to keep up with demand. I apologetically asked her where we could find a rib-sticking meal. She stopped what she was doing and seemed glad I had asked her. She gave me information, directions and a wonderful smile. It just happened to be Mrs. Yoder. We left the shop loaded with delicacies over an hour after closing, and the shop was still crowded with tourists and Mrs. Yoder was still smiling.

I am used to rude, or no, customer service. I was astonished to see the peace these people had amid the turmoil and the joy they exhibited while talking with us "english." The Amish do not feel that phones and cars and electricity are a sin. They do feel that such conveniences steal from a calm and pleasing life. After spending time in rural Indiana, I wonder how many of my conveniences are stealing my peace.

The straight, narrow, peaceful road. (In front of my sister Debby's farmhouse)

 
Debby's farmhouse in Francesville, Indiana

There are parts of our beautiful country that seem homey, more peaceful and more considerate than others. Life has slowed down. Then there are areas that are fast-paced, where everyone looks over their shoulder and feels life is a competition. Is the competition of daily living waving contentment and peace right past me?

 
Four generations played softball & football between corn fields.
Peace can be found in the faithful heart through following our Lord and God. That can be anywhere on earth. But, I wonder if the "conveniences" of life along with today's competitive lifestyle aren't stealing my days and robbing me of precious time for what really matters. I must look at the hours in my days and make them count for more than marks on my dayplanner.
  
Family Dinner
The table was too small for everyone (what a wonderful problem!)
 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It sounds like a really peaceful place . . . except maybe when the flea market is in town. I will definitely think of it often, especially when someone runs a red light from behind me.