Amish For Life: PART I
“Hello Mose. I have always been fascinated by the Amish way of life. They seem to lead such a simple, peaceful life. I am sick of my life, and I am ready to start over. I have always felt connected to the Amish, and I strongly feel like I am supposed to be Amish, and that most of my troubles would be over if I only joined the community. You're the only Amish person I know. Could you please help me become Amish?”
The above is an actual message I received from someone wishing to be Amish, and it is not unlike about a thousand others I’ve received. I can easily see why someone looking into the community from the outside, would get this impression. I suppose the best way for me to understand your viewpoint was by putting myself in your shoes. My dream is to live in Switzerland. When I was young, I read the book Heidi, written by Johanna Spyri. The book is about a girl who was adopted, lives with her gruff grandpa in the Swiss Alps, befriends a crippled girl, Clara, and eventually gets Clara to move up into the mountains with her and her Grandpa. Between the fresh mountain air, goat's milk, and with Clara now out from under the strict thumb of Fraulein Rottenmeier, a miracle happens. Clara becomes healthy, and for the first time in her life begins walking.
I have read Heidi many times, and now that I am a bit older, I have drawn a few more mature conclusions, the first being that the power of goat’s milk was probably exaggerated. But as a child, it all made sense. When I had a sister with health problems, and doctors who could never seem to diagnose the issue, to me, it was a no-brainer—take her to the Swiss Alps, far away from the Amish, far away from the quack doctors who kept recommending homemade concoctions, like dandelion stew, raw uncooked foods, and on and on. Anyhow, my point being, I needed to put myself into this scenario in order to understand why someone would view the Amish lifestyle, a lifestyle I spent half my life trying to flee, as the one they dream of joining.
Part of the reason why there is little information about the Amish, and also coincidentally, why right now there are so many television shows about the Amish, is because they are a very private people and, they live right among us, here in good old America. In my opinion, the mystique surrounding the Amish, what they do, how they live, and what they believe, is also the exact reason why so many people want to exploit them, uncover, or open these hidden mysteries, be it in books, films, or newspaper articles.
So, could you be Amish? Don’t decide yet. Allow me to explore my Amish life, and a few of the reasons why I spent most of my childhood trying to get out.
Kansas, 2001, one year before I left the Amish. Cigarettes will kill you...
I was born and raised Old Order Amish in one of the strictest Amish communities in the United States. I remained there until I was almost 23 years old. As a whole, I don't pretend to understand everything about them, mostly because there are so many communities, and all have a different set of rules. I only know that I was seriously unhappy among them, and before finally leaving, lived in over a dozen different communities, trying in vain to find the one where I could fit. While the communities I lived in got progressively more modern, or liberal, I found that, like most churches in the outside world, each Amish community thought they were the chosen one, and often not so secretly, scorned all the other communities with a different set of rules. While Amish rules vary, in things like farm machinery, the styles of buggies, dress code, the type of engines allowed on farm equipment (diesel or gas), they all hold similar beliefs about Heaven and Hell. They all preach from the King James version of the bible, and all desperately wish to keep their children among the Amish community. Forever. Although some communities stress this issue less than others, if you dig deep enough, every one of them believes there is little hope of salvation for those that wander into the outside world, regardless of what life they live there.
I will post ten Pros and ten Cons about being Amish. Since that would be a very long blog, I will break it into two parts. The first, this blog, will be Amish For Life, PART I, which will focus on the Cons. Then, in two weeks, I will post Amish for Life, PART II focusing on the Pros. In the end, you can make your own decision on whether you could become ‘Amish for life’.
- Electricity: No electricity means no technology. Speaking for myself, now, if I go for a weekend without checking my phone for email, texts, missed calls, Facebook, Twitter, Sports, World News, I start feeling seriously detached—out of the loop. Call me a victim of the world. It doesn't matter how miserable you are with your life, or how much you are ready for a change, are you really prepared to give up every single means of communication with the outside world, every friend you've ever made, including immediate family, even if you may have been fighting, for the rest of your life? What about your favorite movies? TV Shows? Favorite sports team? Favorite player/players on that team? Will you ever wonder how many Superbowl’s Tom Brady won before he finally called it quits? When you, in three years, have a sudden urge to visit a long lost friend in the city, or you hear that one of your close relatives is getting married, would you be tempted, even for one weak day, to cave to the strict rules of the Amish, and are you then prepared to face the consequences of the church when you return?
- Superiority: It’s more common for the female gender to request joining the Amish. I write this paragraph for you, the woman, who has convinced herself that her troubles will be over with this drastic life decision. Among the Amish, the man is the undisputed leader of the household, and the woman is expected to listen and obey. The man decides where the money will be spent, often making huge decisions, like purchasing a farm in another community, with plans of moving there, without ever informing his wife. In fairness, the wife has a say in lesser things, like naming the children, gardening, cooking, cleaning, and sewing. In short, the wife’s place is in the house, so she gets a say in most household topics. But are you prepared to be a submissive housewife who says ‘yes sir’ to not only your husband, but also to the elders (all men) of the church?
- Birth control/children: In every Amish community I’ve ever lived in, birth control was not allowed. When you think of the perfect life, with a perfect husband and the perfect amount of children, are you taking into consideration that you will be expected to have babies as fast as possibly natural, until you are beyond the childbearing age? The alternative being that you remain single to avoid having a dozen kids, which means no active sex life, as doing so would be punishable within the church by excommunication.
- Personal Hygiene: When I was Amish, we bathed once a week on Saturday nights, the idea being to be clean for church on Sunday. Every Saturday afternoon my mom would stoke a fire beneath an 80 gallon kettle of water, carried there with buckets by the women of the house, and she would heat the water for bathing. After the chores were done and supper eaten, one by one, each member of the family would take their turn going to the basement, dipping 3 or 4 gallons of boiling water into the aluminum tub sitting on the cold, concrete basement floor. After that you'd add enough cold water to get your bath water to the right temperature. After you were finished, you tipped the tub over and your water went down the drain. Then, it was the next sibling's turn. Sometimes the process took so long that the last few in line slept until it was their turn. (There was mom and dad and 13 children) My point… While I know of no rule that forbids bathing or washing more than once a week, most don’t, considering it wasteful. It is considered vain for a woman to try and look good, or in short, to catch the eye of her man. She is not allowed to shave, anywhere, use makeup, paint her fingernails, wear deodorant, wear skintight clothing, or really, do anything that may look like she is taking pride in her personal appearance.
The men, who work in the fields, milk cows, get cow manure on themselves, in the hair and beards, still only bath once a week. I remember, now in disbelief, how on Sunday morning, after my Saturday night bath, we'd do all the chores in the barn, load all the cow and horse manure by hand into the manure spreader, spread it in the fields, milk cows, climb up in the silo and fork down silage and ground corn, and after breakfast, off to church we'd go, and because of my weekly bath the night before, I'd still feel sparkly clean.
Also, in most of the Old Order Amish communities, there are still no indoor bathrooms. Imagine, in the freezing cold winter, or the hot, stuffy, humid heat of the summer, sitting in a frozen, or smoldering two-holer, with only newspapers to wipe with. This was the place for the women. The men did their business in the barns, sitting in a calf pen, and again, with the use of newspapers for wiping. For a man to be caught in the women’s outhouse, is like a man being caught using the women's restroom in public.
- Physical work: Today, I enjoy the occasional day off. I enjoy sitting down and watching a football game on TV. But, you guessed it… It wasn’t always that way. Everything in the Amish community is done by hand with manual labor. For the women this means gardening, quilting, butchering chickens, washing tons of dishes, three times a day, by hand, with water that was warmed by a wood burning stove, wood carried in from the woodpile behind the house, by the women. It means doing laundry with a gas-operated washing machine, breathing exhaust fumes since the activity is done inside a building. Each piece of clothing is manually fed through the ringers, then hung on the clothesline outside for the wind and sun to dry. Since I was not a woman while Amish, and seldom worked indoors, much of this is speculation. Mostly, I remember that there was much emphasis put on preparing three warm meals a day for the men.
For the men, same as the women, the work never stops. In my entire childhood, I can’t remember a single moment where all the work was finished and we had we had nothing left to do. With a father, and eight brothers, this may be difficult to believe, but between a large sawmill operation and a 255 acre farm, there was never a break. If we ever stopped working, it was in the middle of winter when it was so cold that the diesel engine that powered the sawmill, quit functioning because the fuel was gelled. And of course, we rested on Sunday.
In an Amish community, you have no childhood. From my earliest memories I was working in the sawmill, fields, and doing chores in the barn. When outsiders think of the Amish, they have a romanticized idea of leisurely doing a little work, but mostly walking dreamily around lakes and golden fields, the sun is always shining, and it’s never too hot. Maybe they dream of riding horses, fishing, and getting together to pray. Not to dampen any spirits, but if your hands aren’t dirty and calloused, you are considered lazy, and lazy is not a good reputation to have when Amish.
Finally, even if you yourself could do it, what about your children? Do you want your babies growing up without a childhood, without toys, with only an 8th grade education and no possibility of high school or college, and because of your life decision, never knowing their relatives in the outside world—your old family?
- Freedom: A misconception often made is that by joining the Amish your worries will miraculously disappear—that leaving your past behind is the solution to all your troubles. Why not go to a place where people forgive your mistakes as fast as they are made? Allow me to make a comparison. I discovered, shortly after leaving the Amish, that one can be the biggest loser imaginable, and not a soul will do a thing about it, as long as you aren’t breaking any laws. In the outside world, I could live in an apartment and live off the government. I could play X-Box all day and order junk food to my room, and no one will raise a hand to try and force me to make life changes. When you are Amish, however, everything you do, everything you wear, drive, build, and breath, gets regulated and monitored, down to the minutest detail. For the men, the length of your hair, your beard, where you work, how much you work outside the community, how much bling, bling is on your horse or buggy, the style of your house or barn, and the belongings inside or outside of it. Besides the visible things, you are also reprimanded on how you talk, believe, think, and believe it or not, how you feel about something. For those who grew up Amish, we really didn’t know another way, so we accepted this level of micro-managing, but would this be acceptable for someone who grew up in the outside world where, for most of your life, you have come and gone when and where you want?
I could go on and on about topics like mind control, humiliation, or even child or animal abuse. But now is not the time, nor the place. You get the point.
- Divorce: In the outside world, about 50% of all couples that tie the knot remain together for life. The Amish, about 99% success rate, with only the rarest cases being allowed to divorce. In fact, if an Amish spouse, male or female, leaves the Amish, or even goes to jail for life, the one who remains behind may never remarry, in theory always being married to the one who left the relationship, even if the one who left has long ago remarried.
Contrary to popular belief, Amish couples are not hand-picked by parents or the elders of the church. Rather, a couple dates for a time, and both the girl and boy can decide, right up until they say their I DO'S, to change their minds and back out of the deal. However, once married, there is no backing out. There is no annulment, no money back guaranteed. The two are absolutely and certainly stuck to each other for life.
- Speaking the language: Let's face it, learning to speak another language is difficult, and until you learn to speak Pennsylvania Dutch fluently, you will still be somewhat of an outcast within the community.
- Amish for Life: Finally, and I want to be perfectly clear on this point. You can not go try out the Amish lifestyle for a trial period, and if you decide that the life is not for you, you can run back into your old comfort zone that was the world. If you think of the military, boot camp, the grueling workouts in the rain, are tough, at least you can always quit. Even if you choose to stay for several deployments, you are still not required to remain in the forces and fight for life. In short, join the Amish, and you stay for life.
Forgive me for my bluntness in this blog. In fairness, you probably need a second or third opinion, because my view comes from a biased angle. In writing this blog, I found my inspiration in the mass amount of emails I receive from people who wish to join the Amish, and my only desire is educate before you make such a drastic life change.
To Be Continued.............
20 thoughts on “Amish For Life: PART I”
While I totally agree that being in the military isn’t a lifelong commitment….unless you die while serving, there isn’t a trial period there either. You can’t go up to your superior in boot camp or whatever and say, “Hey, you know what, I was wrong. I wanna go home.” The closest we had to that in boot camp was an attempted suicide. After your 4 years is up, contract is over, can you always go home? Nope. Stop loss. My husband tried to get out after 12 and was told no. Stop loss. At that point, he said fine. I’ll do my 20 and you can pay me for the rest of my life. Did his 20 and they almost stop lossed him again. But yes, he was able to get out and he is a civilian now, but there isn’t a trial period or an easy out.
My apologies. Coming from a family who has no forefathers who have served in our armed forces, I had no right to use the Military as a comparison.
I suppose it is a dose of humble medicine for me, since I also am strictly going by what I have read in romanticized war movies or literature.
Thus, I post a blog, trying to educate people who are misinformed about the Amish, because they read about it, but haven’t lived it, and am caught red handed, doing the exact same thing with our Veterans. Go Figure.
Again, my apologies.
Mose, I live in north central Missouri, not far from Jamesport, and I have heard a lot about how the Amish are and live. Some of what you wrote in “Amish for life: part I” are what I have heard. I enjoy my daily showers too much, to go to only once a week. I wouldn’t be able to give up the freedom I have now. Thank you so much for your blog and God bless.
You were probably a toddler back in the early 1980’s when I became interested in Amish after seeing a few in our Ky community and reading a Christmas story in Guideposts magazine about an Amish Shoo-fly pie. We also rented and saw the Amish themed movie The Witness with Harrison Ford. And yes I romanticized the Amish until I discovered an abundance of books about them in our local Bible College. It was studying these books that opened my eyes by revealing many of the things you have shared in this post. I remember feeling especially bad for the women and the back-breaking labor with no modern conveniences and the children too with such a limited childhood and education!
Now up to the present day and I live in Ohio now. Recent trip to the Columbus Zoo and a group of Amish families there. Hot day…maybe the weekend bath had been skipped, I don’t know…I don’t mean to be ugly but even my Grand-kids noticed the heavy body odor, when passing the group in the food court. It is hard to explain to those that haven’t lived that life. But for some reason I had always thought they were cleaner…the ladies “look” clean. And you see lots of pictures of Amish laundry. I cannot imagine the back breaking labor of washing all of those clothes only to put them onto a body that is not scrubbed clean and perfumed daily. I am sure they are all used to the smells or so I’ve read, just as our ancestors were.
The reason I think that so many think that they want to be Amish is because of the abundance of Christian Amish Fiction…which they should always remember is “fiction”. An English person’s point of view, the authors put their own Christian view-point and spin in many of them. Real Amish probably don’t even think or act the way many of these Amish novels depict.
So far you are the only TV personality that I trust on this subject. I think you have been called to open people’s eyes and to help them understand this “private” culture.
Bless you and all that you do for others. Also a Merry Christmas to you and your family.
Thank you Mose! I appreciate your straight forward writings on this! I do appreciate some of the simpleness of Amish Living. But NO….I could never live it as an Amish for Life.
I did grow up in very similar circumstances. Very legalistic/rigid religious laws. I grew up with wringer washers, hauling water, heating it for bathing, coal stove for heat, outhouses, etc.. More because of dysfunctional family one was not allowed any original thought of their own and one certainly did not speak it if you did,,,love was withdrawn immediately until you complied.
So even though I imagine it was far worse in Amish life….I can relate to much of what you speak.
It is why I am so interested in your story and information you can share. I know it had to be a hard transition in many ways…and the shunning has to be so painful.
But Gods Grace….Freedom IN Christ…is so much better. Serving our God out of love rather than trying to appease an angry God. God bless you! And your family.
I am so please you have a wonderful family. I know your wife must be so supportive.
Look forward to Part 2. God Bless!
Hi Mose. Thank you for such a thoughtful post. I loved the analogy of thinking of the Swiss Alps as a happy haven full of magical goat milk. When in reality, there are pros and cons of living there, just as anywhere.
I was reminded of the time when I thought it would be simpler to join a convent. And I wasn’t even Christian, I just wanted to hide from my own problems and join what I thought would be a warm and welcoming community.
I look forward to part 2!
Mose, you wrote the first part very well. I hope all that write you with thoughts of becoming Amish will be directed to read part 1.
I recently caught several episodes of Amish Out of Order. I have never seen any shows on the Amish before. I’ve only seen commercials for several Amish reality shows and have never been drawn to them as they seemed somehow disrespectful to the Amish. Now, I am not Amish, nor do I know anyone who is, but I am a Christian and ‘smearing’ these people is not what I want to see. Yours is the first and only series on the Amish that I have seen. (I didn’t see your first series as I didn’t have cable/dish back then and didn’t even know about it.) I was so very happy to see how you handled yourself on this series. Clearly, you left for strong personal reasons, but I truly appreciate how graceful you endeavor to be to those people still in those communities and to that culture.
I confess that I had a little of that ‘romantic’ notion of what an Amish community might be like. I am grateful to you for your graceful honesty about some of the truths about this. You were very gentle and open with Michaela when she was so interested in entering that lifestyle. I have learned a lot from you.
I hope that you might have an opportunity to do another series. But if that does not happen, I’m glad to have found you on facebook and this blog.
wonderfully written Mose. enjoyed reading this aspect of Amish life. hopefully any young boy or girl with confusion about where there life is headed will have at least a better understanding of there choice.
I wish to firstly thank you for the informative insight you have provided the community with regarding the typically private Amish community, I also strongly agree with your views on the importance of education and thanks to you numerous individuals will be able to make educated decisions on possibly joining the Amish and removing many misconceptions surrounding the community; not to mention your tireless work with the ex-Amish community. Please excuse my gushing but I wanted to ask about the Amish communities access to health care; you mentioned you had a sickly sister, was she treated solely within the Amish community or could she seek treatment from an ‘English’ Doctor? What would happen if someone required an operation? I recently had an extremely vivid dream in which God told me I was destined to complete my medical degree and to join an Amish community to provide help to people who needed me ( I do not advise anyone to fall asleep to a marathon of Amish: Out of control whilst studying for exams)
Thank you again
I am no expert, but as a child, my mother worked at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. She told me many times of an Amish child who needed medical care and were brought to the hospital. The Amish were always able to pay for the care in cash, due to the community of Amish taking up a collection of some sort to pay, since Amish do not believe in insurance. I was always very impressed by that!
I think you have passed on really accurate info here. I would apply the hygiene issues only to the lower groups, but the rest applies across the board.
The romaticized view of the Amish has these peace-loving people who avoid problems by living simply. They are always happpy and are uniformly good. The truth is that these are flesh and blood people who have pretty much all the same problems everyone else has and struggle like all humanity does. Like any group, there are some of the best people in the world among them, and there are some who are among the worst. It seems funny, but it seems to help people if you lay that out there because there is this tendency to look at the clothes and the buggies and think these are some higher grade of people. They are people. No more, no less.
The bottom line is that it is rare for an English person to make the transition to the Amish life. We are conditioned early on to see life a certain way, and being Amish will bring one into conflict with how we have been conditioned. It is so much easier for someone raised in an Amish home to join the church.
Just one’s education will cause problems. One of the central things education does is to give us critical thinking skills. We are programmed to ask “Why?”. Amish people (the content ones) do not and cannot ask that question when it comes to the rules and practices of the church because the answer is often “Because that’s what the bishop and ministers say” or “Because that’s the way it has always been.” A critical thinker will never be satisfied by that.
The language is a huge issue. I knew an English family with a Catholic background who tried to convert. They never really mastered the language and could never really assimilate. They have now left the Amish, but are still seeking a plain life.
The plain and simple life of the Amish is appealing. There are some very good things about it, which I’m sure Mose will do a great job of describing. But there are many hardships, sacrifices, and frustrations for an outsider who wants to get a piece of what they have. If you aren’t born into it, you probably can’t live it – and if you understand the +’s and -‘s, you probably wouldn’t choose it. But to each his own!
You can be Amish and be a very happy and content person, but seeking happiness and contentment by being Amish is, like Granddad used to say, bassackwards. :)
What an excellent reply. It is why even in my own Faith background I had to find a place to be able to ask questions that deeply concerned me, because in most this was just not allowed. God made us to think. And HE is not offended by it or intimidated by it. HE wishes for us to seek His will for our lives. For it to fit together, make sense.
Great Post !
That was an interesting post, Mose. I’m sure that many people are so interested in the Amish way of life is how it is portrayed in all of the Christian Amish fiction novels. Everyone is so nice, so clean, so efficient and so helpful to one another. As a woman, 70 though I might be, I could never be that submissive to any man. I find it disturbing that a bishop and the elders could establish the way a woman dresses, wears her hair, etc.My husband could testify that I have my own mind and I don’t hesitate to use it! I live about an hour away from Holmes County, Ohio and I know many of the Amish in that area are very New Order. There are also Amish groups about a half hour north of me in Ashland County. They are very old order and not very sociable or clean. Let me just say that I would not feel comfortable buying their baked products nor would I stop and buy eggs from them. I am not being “snooty” as I feel the same way about any English. My dad took us on drives to the Amish areas before they became “Amish Country”. I love the area there because of the hills and farmland. But now it is so commercialized that it isn’t as much fun anymore. There is one restaurant we frequent in Berlin, Boyd and Wurthman, that has been there “forever” and still seems like a nice Amish restaurant. The “Amish Flea Markets” have too much stuff made in China to suit me. And I can’t even go into how I feel about the puppy mills. I just can’t believe any good Amish person could go into that business with a good conscience. I read Lots of Amish fiction but read it with an open mind and am aware that the story is very romanticized. That sells books. I have read stories about people who have left the Amish and it’s not pretty. Right now I am reading Dale Cramer’s third book on a story of an Amish man who took his family to Mexico in the 1800’s to establish a new settlement their. It is based on a true story of a family in Holmes County. They went because because of their belief in their education system and also to escape child labor laws. Mr. Cramer has based his story on the writing of David Luthy”s book, The Amish in America-Settlements that failed 1840-1960. I do want to read that book.
I have enjoyed reading your post and look forward to part 2. You are an interesting man, Mose, and I really like reading your point of view. My husband and I are looking forward to seeing what you have to say about the Amish Mafia. We watched in with tongue in cheek, finding it hard to imagine that an “Amish” man would hold court in a barn, have his henchmen “teach lessons”. and collect payment from the Amish businesses to “keep them safe”. It just seems a little farfetched. I’ll look forward to your take on the situation, knowing you already know if there is an Amish mafia! Take care and have a lovely, Merry Christmas with your family.
Hello from Australia Mose! I love your show, your story and the work you are doing. I have just finished watching your Christmas episode with the memorial to Cephas. That was a very moving and beautiful tribute. I was so upset when he died as he was working really hard to make a decent life for himself – just doesn’t seem fair, but that’s just the way it goes sometimes I guess. I really like the fact that you present your story so impartially – the audience really feels the turmoil when you have to make the choice as to whether your decisions or actions may harm the Amish community. I also like the fact that you still have respect for the culture you were brought up in. It has been a very educational journey. I have enjoyed watching your own personal growth ad well as seeing you guide and interact with the others. You have handled Michaela very openly and thoughtfully. I just love Esther, what a beautiful heart…she would fit the romantic version of Amish very well…I am so glad she has family support, it seems to make all the difference. I saw the program was a year behind so I ‘googled’ to see if there was any updates and found your blog. I will check out the site at a layer date but love this Part 1 as a starter…I too fantasised about living in Heidi’s world…whenever I hear wind in pine trees it reminds me of that story! You have a beautiful wife and kids along with your ex Amish family – have a wonderful Christmas.
You nailed it. You told the truth. I have been around the amish for the past six and a half years. Thank you for sharing it with the rest of the outside world. It is a rough way of life, some good and some bad. I’m so glad that the younger generation is starting to break the vicious cycle. They want a better way of life and a chance to think for themselves. Instead of being told what to do ,think,wear,buy,build their homes and as you no the list goes on. You have set an example for them. You can live in the world but as you know you don’t have to take up the discusting things that are not good for you. Keep on educating the ones that have no idea as to what kind of a life it is to live the life as an amish person. I have seen it first handed and it breaks my heart to see what they have to go thru. The lack of education is so unfair to the children. Such a disadvantage for them. Especially in this world that we live in.
You were very kind in your speaking about the Jehovah Wittnesses, yes there are somethings that are similar. But one thing for sure is that we Do Not follow any man. Only our heavenly father and what the bible says. Thank you for your kindness. Alot of people are not educated about us either, only what they have been told which is never accurate.
Keep up the good work and keep telling the cold hard facts. There’s nothing wrong in telling the truth. That’s the only way to do it. All the lies that have been told to try and hold on to the people is herific. Sure don’t want to be in their shoes. Cause as you know, God hates a lier.
Looking forward to seeing Part II. I’m sure it will be interesting.
Take care and keep up the good work that you have been doing. Are you still thinking about some kind of a counciling center for the ones that have left the amish? Hope so. They will need it.
If you are sick of your life, maybe a better approach would be to try and discover what in your life is making you upset. If there is some underlying issue that you are running away from I can promise you that it will follow you wherever you go. Until you can deal with YOU no change of venue will make you happy. Deciding to be Amish is a lot like deciding to enter the convent. I did that. For two years I lived the life of a Franciscan nun and while I was not unhappy, I realized that I was running away from ME. I had a lot of soul searching and healing to do and my decision to suddenly completely change my life from being out in the world to being in the enclosed, restricted world of the convent was not really based on a true vocation but rather just me trying to hide from an overwhelming life. I hope you find your happiness, but please think long and hard about this. You are not going into an episode of “Little House on the Prairie”. You are considering joining a very strict, closed, religious sect that will demand your loyalty, obedience and soul.
I’m an American and my husband was English. He worked in Switzerland for 9 months with me there. The thought of staying there forever was quite scary, so his mother in law said we should move to England in a small town. We did but after a year I didn’t like it. I was there for 8 years. Not being near my family and America was torture. Though they speak English in England, it was still a different culture. Visiting it is good, but living there for life, wasn’t my thing. My husband passed away and I was waiting for him to come to the America. He never made it. I’m so much happier living in America, though I do miss my husband, the times we had and my friends I made.