Our family lived in Amish country in western most Maryland in the 1990s.
We learned to slow down and talk to our neighbors in our one main street, country town.
This was new to us, for we had been raised in the rush, rush world of suburbia, where our father’s left for work in the city early each morning,
To come home late each night, and even worked some on Saturdays to live the American dream of accumulating a paid for house, a decent car, a working washing machine and dryer.
In Amish country, we could see Amish women every Monday hanging out the wash on the clothesline,
Rows of overalls and black or dark navy blue dresses depicting a particular Order of Amish dress.
I would go to the Amish bakery sometimes on Monday mornings and get apple dumplings, Amish cheese, maybe a freshly baked pie.
I would visit with the women in the bakery,
Then I would head to the cloth shop to pick up material to make a quilt.
Again I would visit slowly, congenially, with gentle manners.
This was considered the way of life, to savor it as one went through the motions of the day.
In the story: “Magic Magi Gifting Prayer” (in Pray All Ways: a book for daily worship using all your senses by-Edward Hays), it states:
“Rudeness, the absence of the sacrament of consideration, is but another mark that our time-is-money society is lacking in spirituality,
If not also in its enjoyment of life.
Gracious behavior is due to the elderly, to the stranger, and to those who serve us.
I do not here refer to house servants but to persons in service-related occupations.
In countless ways we are waited upon, served, and cared for in our modern society.
These service-persons are just that–persons and not robots.
We express our belief in their personhood by the sacrament of courtesy.”
This brings to mind what happened last night in Ohio, where the Union workers, teachers, firemen, policemen, service workers
Stood up for themselves to get back their dignity and right to bargain for a living wage, against what at one time seemed odds against them.
At long last, courtesy and respect toward those who work hard every day within their communities will be honored.
I am hopeful today that Americans are beginning to value respect, kindness, love of neighbor.