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Amish Dreams

Here I am. 

Rock you like a hurricane.

Lately I’ve been kind of annoyed by all the stuff that we have.  It just seems to be everywhere.  And as time goes on, somehow, there is more and more.  I remember back “when I was in college” and I felt as though I hardly had anything.  I was looking very much forward to the time that Peter and I would both have full-time jobs and we would be able to afford more.  It seemed that freedom was in our future.  The ability to have what you want, when you want it.  The American Dream.  (Is there a Canadian Dream?)

Remind me again why I thought that would be a good thing?

I am thinking now of the time when that famous guy said that it would be hard for the rich to enter the Kingdom.  The rich.  “When I was in college” I read that and thought of other people, like celebrities.  You know, people who are rich.  I think that’s because I’ve spent the majority of my life in North America.  After spending a summer in a small Eastern European country, and caught a glimpse into the lives of others, I realized that I am rich

I have a lot.  Even “back when I was in college”.  Even when I was in high school.  All of my life, I have been blessed beyond belief, but have never noticed or appreciated it because I am constantly competing with those who have more.  We have some seriously uber-rich people in North America.  Who can compete with that?

This is beyond the point.  I’m not trying to brag about all of the stuff that I have, or point out who has more or less.  I’m trying to talk about how material things never satisfy.  If I were a better writer, that point would probably have been made already.  Or at least alluded to.

The lovely Lisa brought this up a little while ago.  She talks about how it seems like we’re always looking forward to when we will have this, that or the other thing, and that we trick ourselves into thinking that we will feel happy when we have them.  But once you have them, then there’s always something else that you want. 

I don’t know about you guys, but it’s definitely true in my life.  I used to think “once we have full-time jobs we will be able to buy what we want and need and we will be satisfied.”  But being able to afford more has just lead me to desire for the next biggest thing.  And it’s tickin’ me off.

The other day Peter and I were talking about the time that we went to Yellowknife and then to Estonia and all of our belongings except for a suitcase of clothes and a few other things were packed away for four months.  The truth is, I didn’t miss those things at all.  And I definitely didn’t need them.  So why do I keep convincing myself that I do?

A few days ago I was watching Oprah and she was hanging out with an Amish couple on their farm.  Man was I feeling some Amish envy at the time.  The couple that she was interviewing lived so simply.  They made everything from scratch and grew their own food and sewed their own clothes and, well, basically, they didn’t allow themselves to be vain.  Anyway, I know now that the point is not that I wish I were Amish, rather I wish I lived with that frame of mind.  I want to live more simply.  I want to desire the best things in life (you know, the free ones) instead of more things in life.  After all, when you die, you can’t take any of it with you.  It’s just your soul that’s movin’ on.

But, if we were Amish… Pete and his beard would fit in pretty well, don’t you think?

March 25, 2007 - 6:00 pm Jill - this post is exactly how i've been feeling lately. i too have felt somewhat burdened by all of the stuff that i have, and wish that i could live more simply. slowly though, i'm learning to hold on less and less tightly to my belongings. you said it well, chelsey - much better than i could have. thanks for sharing this.

March 26, 2007 - 11:20 am strakers - i saw that oprah. what i thought was cool was that the amish man said he was 100% content. i don't think i have ever felt 100% content. content with simplicity. that would be great to be able to feel that.

March 26, 2007 - 2:01 pm kelli - oh boy has this been on my mind a lot lately. i just had a 4 hour phone conversation with my brother about a lot of this stuff. we even talked about the amish. after africa i am a million percent sure that simple living is the way to go. but talking is easier than action. that's always been my problem. knowing the truth but struggling to live it out. somehow simple living in canada seems not so simple. there's so much pressure coming from all sides to make money and accumulate. .... i have a lot of thoughts on this. but i'll avoid a lengthy comment and instead give you a call sometime soon. love you. love your heart.

March 26, 2007 - 5:27 pm blair - pete's beard rules. i miss it. not pete, but his beard.

March 26, 2007 - 6:36 pm jdavies44 - ya, its very nervwrecking

March 27, 2007 - 2:57 pm Kim (Mom & Grandma) - I wathched that Oprah too and got the same feeling. I just returned home from Alberta and started cleaning today and all I could think about is that we have way too much clutter and no place to put everything we have. And why am I hanging on to things?? We are overflowing and I just wanted to pull my hair out. Where do I begin!! I was feeling overwhelmed dealing with my messes. I feel much better now that I have read your blog and other people's comments. At least I'm not alone in this and that's good to know...............

March 30, 2007 - 7:03 pm Debbie Hale - What you said is sooooo true, and what's sad is that Clint and I are just NOW figuring that out. You're right, everyTHING we have will stay here when we go to Heaven. and the thing is, like you said, we won't miss it at all, because we'll be with God! So, why do we put such emphasis, and spent so much time and money on things that really don't matter at all? It really makes no sense at all, does it? So, that being said, Clint and I have been trying to focus on other things - having relationships with people, spending more time with our children, things like that - things that MATTER and WILL last.

April 13, 2007 - 3:34 pm gridblog - consumerism « Posts from the West Coast - [...] in the same way that I’ve been convincing myself that I’m not rich. But I am rich. (see Amish Dreams) And I am a [...]

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