I had an unusual encounter the other day that put me way outside my comfort zone.
To completely understand, you have to know some backstory.
We recently built a lakehouse about an hour and a half from where we live. It is in a small country town nestled within many other small country towns. There are several Amish communities in that area.
The person who built the house has a couple of Amish employees. They are strong, hardworking, and amazingly talented. My husband had all good things to say about their handiwork.
Fast forward to now (nearly 6 months later). Mike and I decided to build the deck on our home-home that we’ve been talking about for over three years. While he would prefer to build it on his own, Mike’s time is limited these days. Plus the guy who built our lakehouse could literally complete the entire deck for half the cost and half the time. Surprisingly he even agreed to drive all this way to complete the project. The only catch was that we’d have to wait until his “off season” which is the winter.
Mike got a phone call the other night from the builder. One of the guys (Aaron) who helped build our lakehouse was in town. His wife had a baby four weeks ago and due to some serious medical needs the baby was at the Children’s Hospital here in town. After weeks of pacing, worrying, waiting, praying, Aaron was restless. Our builder wanted to know if we would mind starting the project early with Aaron in charge.
It was a little earlier than we had planned, but we agreed to go ahead.
Mike went to pick Aaron up yesterday so he could figure out the details and the materials list. I knew they’d be outside most of the morning so I wasn’t concerned. Then I got a text that said, “They are both coming to the house.”
Wait. What? I have an Amish husband and wife coming to our house in 20 minutes. The house is a wreck. Everything they stand against they will encounter within 3 seconds of entering our home (TV, phones, photographs, computer, electricity, indoor plumbing).
I raced around the house shoving all our miscellaneous junk in drawers, slipped a pair of tights over the baby’s bare legs, and explained to my curious son that a nice lady and man were coming over to help daddy build a deck.
“What will I have to say to her?” I wondered frantically.
As it turned out, a lot.
We made polite conversation- she in her black dress and bonnet, me in my jeans and brown shirt. We talked about our children- we both have an almost three year old and a baby. We talked about our former profession- teaching (though she in a one room school house, me in a public high school).
We talked about our homes and our families.
She told me about the scary moment when her daughter was born blue and the harrowing journey that followed.
We talked about Wal-Mart. Seriously, we talked about the difference between the two closest Wal-Marts down at the lake.
I kept thinking, “I have an Amish person sitting on my living room couch. This is so surreal.” I desperately wanted to know what she was thinking about me.
There wasn’t anything I could get for her. She was as nice and polite as could be.
She talked sweetly to my children.
When the husbands came in, we both found our way to their shoulders. We talked briefly about the deck plans and they were out the door.
Mike took them back to the hospital and they invited him to see their baby girl.
They might have a completely different way of life (I might argue that some of their ways are actually pretty good ideas), but they really aren’t that different from us.
I always wonder what God is up to when He creates encounters like these. All I know is this really nice family is in need of some prayers. And some work. We are happy to provide them with both. I sure hope there is something else we can do for them, too.
Life happens when we keep an open mind and open up our hearts!