Monday, March 11, 2013

Conquer Clutter: Learn From the Amish

I have been reading the book, Plain and Simple, by Sue Bender who stayed with an Amish family for a few weeks and wrote about her experience.  There were some things in the book that I thought were worth taking the time to share:

"The Amish find meaning in work itself.  Work is never viewed as a stepping stone to personal success or advancement but a challenge to do whatever you are doing to the best of your ability."

"Each time I stepped into their home, I left behind a world of frenzy and entered a tranquil place."

"Final products are never satisfactory because the potentialities of a personal are never realized.  It is the enjoyment of every step in the process of doing; everything, not only the isolated piece we label art.  If accomplishing is the only goal, all that it takes to reach that goal is too slow, too fatiguing - an obstacle to what you want to achieve.  If you want to rush to the accomplishment, it is an inevitable disappointment.  Then you rush to something else.  The disappointment is reaped over and over.  But if every step is pleasant, then the accomplishment becomes even more, because it is nourished by what is going on." 

"...her energy wasn't spent resisting or doubting her lot.  She knew who she was as a woman.  She knew that what she did mattered.  The knowledge that her role in the family was necessary for its well-being permeated her life.  Her work was valued, she was valued.  I never saw Emma or any other Amish woman look or say there were bored or lonesome.  She wasn't sacrificing herself for the sake of her family.  Making a commitment to marriage and family was seen as a worthy pursuit.  All her duties were an expression of her love for her family and for God.  The extra hours she spent quilting tiny stitches expressed her love for the person who would receive the quilt."

"The feeling went beyond everyday cleanliness and order.  The air felt alive, almost vibrating.  No one rushed.  Each step was done with care.  The women moved through the day unhurried.  There was no rushing to finish so they could get on to the "important things."  For them, it was all important."

How many time do we rush through our work at home, or feel unenthusiastic to accomplish the work we have to do like dishes, laundry, etc.?  I appreciated this quiet reminder that it is good to enjoy what you do and have a good attitude, not just get it over with so you can move on to the next thing to get over with.  The Amish don't buy what they don't need.  Their homes are clean and orderly and uncluttered.  But, the most important thing I gleaned from reading a few books about the Amish is the peace they feel in going about the things they do.  No being overwhelmed.  No being too busy or hurrying about. 

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