Episode Seven recap:
My trip to visit other Amish and Ex-Amish communities was my English Rumspringa of sorts. By the time I began my journey, in September of 2011, I had been out of the Amish for nine years. But all the dreams and goals I had had, before leaving the Amish, had never come to pass. In fact, they had fizzled out before a flame had ever been ignited. What had happened to my dreams of becoming a country singer, or a writer, or what had happened to the millions of dollars I had envisioned myself making, hand over fist, all rolling in so easily and readily in the outside world full of opportunity? And what had happened to the five thousand acre ranch I was going to buy to raise my family on? Yet, nine years later, I had become a victim of the American machine—work all day, every day, just to make ends meet, with almost no time to dream of what lies beyond the ‘now.’
So, I had to take a journey to find those dreams. And the film crew followed me. Is it ironic that I go back to where it all began—that I visit my former Amish family, and especially my mom, the woman who carried me in her womb and also, probably lost more sleep over her wayward child than I’ll ever be able to imagine? Instead of searching for fame and fortune, I found myself connecting with things that held a deeper meaning. I connected with people like Pastor Joe Keim from Ohio, Elmer Miller from Indiana, The Christian Motorcycle Association in Wisconsin, (never made the cut) and finally, I am searching for answers at Family Counseling Centers, like the one in Gap, Pennsylvania, owned by Jonas and Ann Byler, and seeking forgiveness for what I know not, from the Lapp brothers, also from Pennsylvania. About the only regret I have about this trip is that I was unable to do it in private, instead of with cameras following me around. Selfish? Perhaps. But would you want a film crew documenting the most intimate parts of your life, then broadcasting it to the world? Imagine, if you would, sitting in Pastor Joe Keim’s house, accepting the Lord and Savior into your heart for the first time, tears of joy streaming down your face, and then, oh shucks, the cameraman shuffling nearer, the camera zooming in, or, a distraction, and you turn to see the thick squirrel-like boom of the microphone lowering in front of your face to catch your sobs in high-definition sound. Being yanked out of the intimate moment, and realizing that the footage is subject to being edited into whatever a network sees fit for the best ratings, then broadcast to the world, but I digress…
As if I haven’t repeated this point a million times, so, here goes the one million and oneth time. I am not a fan of seeing Mose Gingerich on TV. Especially when he is vulnerable or crying. This Mose, however, comes with a double-edged sword. The bad part of that sword is, now that the world knows much about his most intimate secrets, and they, having seen him bared, raw, and at his most vulnerable, assume that he is approachable and huggable, anywhere, in public, at a restaurant, at work, or even stopping by his home. And that Mose shrinks every time, because he knows nothing at all about the person reaching to hug him. The exchange is lopsided, for he has seen zero minutes of footage of the stranger. The positive side of the double-edged sword is that, because Mose allowed strangers to follow him on such a personal journey, he has somehow connected with a lot of strangers with whom he would’ve never been able to otherwise connect.
My encounter with the Lapp brothers uncovered some dark secrets that even my wife didn't know about, and thank God the editors took some of the most intimate parts out. I will never be able to explain what went on in that room, or why. All I know is that for about six hours I was numb and paralyzed. To me, the time felt like ten minutes, but the cameraman went through three batteries, and six one-hour SD cards, and the sun, which had been directly overhead when I entered the room, was almost gone in the west. I don't know for sure if it was the Holy spirit or if it was just some sort of high-level hypnosis, but I do know that I am freer than I was before I entered the room.
After I got back from the journey, we held a bible study at our house. While the journey didn’t give me all the answers to my life, I will keep searching. The bible study, with fellow Ex-Amish, will help in closing gaps.
The bible study was something I had to try out after I got home. I always have, and always will, continue to search for answers and continue to look for a deeper meaning to life, and the bible study was an attempt at trying to see if this feels like it should be done on a regular basis.
Episode Eight preview:
In episode eight I will finally take a deep breath, knowing that the spotlight has lifted off my shoulders, somewhat. We follow the story of Chris Y as he seeks to get a higher education. His father, Albert Y, who very recently left the Amish, is introduced for the first time, and we follow father and son’s journey as they try and get back some of the years that were lost.
Michaela. Oh Michaela. Many of you have questioned whether she joined the Amish, or if she ever intends to join the Amish. I promise a lot of your questions will be answered in episode eight. Mose’s hint of the day… Michaela’s journey takes her to a sunny part of the country.
I will remind you, one more time, to catch your breath on episode eight, because nine and ten will tear you up. Just when you were hoping for a happy ending to season one, things unravel really fast. At least, I am still here, almost one year after the filming of Amish: out of Order ended, which means I didn’t return to the Amish, and for me, life has returned to some sort of normalcy.
Until next time.... Sei mich Eingedenkt in Gebet! (Keep me in your prayers)