Would you want to live like the Amish?
That’s a popular question among fans of Amish stories, and it’s a good one. Most people answer this with a yes…but… We’re drawn to the plain life, but then we remember that living the way the Amish do takes a LOT of hard work!
Take electricity, for example. Think how quickly we have become accustomed to bright lights at our fingertips, push-button appliances, and television. My dad remembers when electricity came to their rural Indiana farm when he was a boy, and that wasn’t really very long ago. In a few short decades, electricity has come to define our modern life-style.
Let’s focus on one part of our day when electricity seems indispensable: those hours after supper and before bedtime. Most Americans fill that time watching television or using their computers. But what if you decided to live without electricity? What would you do then?
For many Amish families, evenings are a time for family activities and are almost always spent together. One popular activity for these long evenings, especially in the winter, is a jigsaw puzzle. Folks can gather around the table with a gas light hanging above to provide a bright glow. Working together, family member can visit as they put the puzzle together. No one’s attention strays to the television in the corner or the text alert on their cell phone. No one has more pressing business than spending time with family.
Doing puzzles together is one tradition that has lasted in our family through the generations. I always set up a jigsaw puzzle in the week between Christmas and New Year’s. As family members come and go, the puzzle table is a favorite place to stop and spend a couple minutes looking for just the right piece. At the end of a long day, we’ll gather around the puzzle, talking about anything that comes to mind.
They’re popular at the Mennonite retirement home where my dad lives, too. The puzzles are set up in the common area, just outside the dining hall. What better place for friends to meet and spend a few hours together? And what better way for these elderly folks, many of them raised in Plain homes, to revisit favorite times from their childhoods than to spend a few hours putting a puzzle together with friends?
Does your family like to do puzzles? Or is there another activity that draws you together?
Jan Drexler’s ancestors were among the first Amish immigrants to Pennsylvania in the 1700s, and their experiences are the inspiration for her stories. Jan lives in the Black Hills of South Dakota with her husband of thirty-five years. She is the author of five books published by Love Inspired, as well as “The Journey to Pleasant Prairie” series from Revell: Hannah’s Choice and Mattie’s Pledge, and Naomi’s Hope. Find Jan on Facebook, Jan Drexler, author, or her website, Jan Drexler.com.