What the Amish can teach us about life both during, and after, the Coronavirus pandemic

I think it’s fair to say that for most of us, both during and after the Coronavirus pandemic, life will never be the same again.

During the lockdown, countries the world over have been affected so dramatically, that I don’t think things will ever get entirely back to what we thought of as normal, again.

For some, that will be considered terrible. Not only losses of family, friends and everything that they considered precious in their lives, but of income and even as far as a place to live too.

However, despite those tragic losses, some will already, and eventually others will come to, value their new status quo.

For the Amish, their status quo may well be not so different than it was before.

Of course, they won’t be able to gather for their church services or to help each other with projects such as a barn raising where the men gather in large groups of several hundred at times, and the women cook and prepare refreshments for all of the weary workers. But their belief in helping others, and the fact that they regularly do that, will go on.

They won’t be doing anything which requires a big gathering, but they will still be helping others.

Not needing to be asked, they will know who may need extra food delivered to their doors, and do exactly that. They will also know who may need assistance with things like their farm animals and help with that too. There will be no question about it.

If they can help whilst keeping a safe distance, then they will, without question. Their lifestyle not only affords them the time to do this, but actively encourages it.

This quote from Anne Lamott demonstrates what the Amish believe compared to those who live in fast paced environment with little time to even breathe, let alone help others. –

‘We are not here to see through one another, but to see one another through.’ — Anne Lamott.

It’s really sad to think that it can take something like the Coronavirus pandemic for some to even think about helping others. It’s either just not their way, or their lives are so choked up with activities or work, that they have no time or energy to ever think beyond that.

That’s not living. That’s just existing in a mindless daily sludge of doom and gloom.

Who wants that? I’m sure that nobody would really aim to choose that as a lifestyle, yet so many of us do.

For years, I have been an advocate of simple living. Just to clarify, that’s different to Minimalism.

Simple living is about not over -stretching yourself, your family, your time or your expenses to a level where they cause you to be either uncomfortable, anxious or unsettled on a regular basis.

The results of doing that are more time together for relationships and family activities, time to breathe and to do what you love to do, and no worrying about what bill is due because you haven’t got the money to pay them.

The Amish live this sort of lifestyle. Yes, they work hard, but when the darkness comes at night, without question, they stop work, give time to their families and give them their full attention.

If you look at the Amish man in the photograph at the top of this article, he isn’t on a phone, and he doesn’t look like he is in a hurry either. Isn’t that the speed of life that would benefit others? Should we all be aiming for that sort of lifestyle for ourselves?

So what can the Amish teach us about life both during, and after, the Coronavius pandemic?

Be kind — Even if the Amish don’t like someone, they will still offer help where it is really needed. That can seem strange to some, but it is true that you don’t have to like someone, or pretend to, in order to help them.

Believe fully — It doesn’t matter what you believe in as long as it doesn’t hurt others. You don’t have to be religious to believe in something, or to set a good example.

Be more self-sufficient -If you were more self-sufficient then you might not have worried so much when there was panic buying as the Coronavirus hit. Even if the only place you have to grow anything in is a bucket or hanging basket, then start there. What can you grow?

Don’t settle for a listless life -Even if you don’t like goals, you can at least have some idea of where you want to head toward, or what you want to see or do on your journey. Life goes by so quickly and, as so many families have found out during the Coronavirus pandemic, it can be taken away so easily without warning. So don’t wait, because if you do, your time may never come.

Stop wanting more, and be happy with less -The Amish want only what they need, and nothing more. They prepare jars of produce to use through the winter. Not so that they have lot o spare food to eat, but because it will be needed to see them through, and nothing more than that.

Find a status quo that works for you and those you care about —

The riskiest thing we can do is just maintain the status quo. — Bob Iger

If you haven’t already, despite the lockdown and unexpected changes which were brought about by the Coronavirus pandemic, you need to find a new status quo. Most of us do.

Why? Because for most of those in the West, we live in a world of excess. It’s unnecessary, and terrible for the planet and future generations too. Plus it has been proven all too often lately, that in times of trouble or unrest, it can be truly difficult to sustain and cause more trouble and stress than it is worth.

‘I would say any behavior that is not the status quo is interpreted as insanity, when, in fact, it might actually be enlightenment. Insanity is sorta in the eye of the beholder.’ — Chuck Palahniuk

Many of us worry too much about following the trend or swimming with the tide. Sometimes we haven’t got a clue why we do this, or ever think about asking ‘How can I change it?’

We can appear as insane or obstinate if we want to go against the flow. So like sheep, we follow the flock. Perhaps daring to put one foot out of line very occasionally, but quickly pulling it back into place when the reactions to us doing it are so negative that we dare not do it again.

‘We cannot effect meaningful change if we become complacent, if we become comfortable with our own positions in the status quo’. Cyril Ramaphosa

So there we are, trying to bring about meaningful change one act at a time. Like the Amish, if things aren’t working in a positive way, then we need to look at them and look for a different pattern or way of doing things.

Being complacent won’t help this at all.

Following a new or different way of life can be scary at first. But the joys of doing so, like spending more time with family, and eventually, after the lockdown, with others, can be such a blessing.

Call to action

I ask you to choose a life of blessings instead of one where you have to run full pelt, missing everyone and everything that you pass, just to get through the day.

Choose a new status quo now, and live a life full of simple blessings with time to enjoy the people and things which are dearest to you.

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