Hoof clops invade the morning stillness. I watch the buggy pass the house, and I fancy I live in two worlds. With the Amish–living without automobiles, electricity, running water, cell phones. . . no mirrors!
We live near a large community of Amish, the oldest order of this belief who settled in Lawrence county, Tennessee in 1944. About 250 families have chosen to live here, but perhaps they only survive in this culture. They live in another world, regarding the conveniences most of us use and enjoy as worldliness, the chief evil of life. Isolating themselves from outside influences, they desperately conserve the heritage of their past.
Am I missing something. . .
I listen a long time, realizing with each clop growing fainter that life, real life, needs to be slower, slower. . . slow. My ears strain to hear the last sound as the hard wheels rattle a determined tradition of an old world.
(this was my parking buddy at Kroger’s last week)
“Can your heart be in two places?” I asked Tom, one evening when we arrived home from one of our worlds into our other world.
“I think not”, he smiled. “You can’t for sure.” He knows me. Since December we have been living in two houses, in two worlds, every week–a hundred miles apart–one in Lawrenceburg where we retired in August 2016, living between cow pastures and corn fields. The other in Lebanon near all the amenities of Nashville where Tom returned as Associate Pastor at Immanuel Baptist.
In our current living arrangement, I’m often confused in which place I am! I know I had celery in the refrigerator–just not the one where I need it NOW. I realize I cannot be at home in both places. I am more at home where heart things surround me, wrap me. Where the floors creak ‘welcome home’ and memories murmur.
Some of you will remember the T.V. series, I Led Three Lives, based on the true story of Herbert Philbrick. He was a citizen of the community, a Communist, and a counter spy for the F.B.I. Not even his family, his church, his friends suspected his covert activities. For nine harrowing years, he cautiously stepped into each day frightened. . .
As believers anticipating an eternal home, can you and I be fully home in this physical world? Should we be? There is a longing for the other world, the one we call home. For the something more. . .
Our Amish community has found a way to live in this world but not be in it. John says in 1 John 2:15 “Do not love the world or anything in the world. . .” We live in two worlds, but which one do we love. I wonder how many lives we lead in those two. Tom and I joke about leading three lives these days.
And Paul cautions us to “not be conformed to the world, to the patterns of the world, to be transformed. . .” Romans 12:2. I imagine it may be difficult for the Amish to live simply, without conveniences — or not. Perhaps the pull to the other world is stronger than the desires of the flesh.
The words of the old song whisper . . .”this world is not my home; I’m just a’passin through. . .”
In which world are you living. . . NOW?