I remember the first time I fell in love, not that she fell back in love with me. It caused quite a stir. She was Amish. I know you think I’m kidding. But I’m not.
When I was 21, I was a drifter. I was working one odd and end job after another and bouncing around the United States. I was building websites but didn’t have a way to really make money at it. I turned to general labor, and moved back to Montana to try and find myself in the outdoors. Instead I found her.
I stumbled into an Amish store in a small town I grew up in called Saint Ignatius. When I first looked into her eyes something just sparked. I spent the next few years trying my best to conform to the Amish religion.
I began by trying to learn the language. This language barrier is a common factor in any cultural setting that is unfamiliar. Pennsylvania Dutch is a spoken language not a written one so it was fairly hard to pick up. I was horrible at it, the children laughed at me, they cracked jokes at me, and well it was a very trying time.
But it taught me humility.
For a good long time, I was convinced I wasn’t good enough for her. I allowed my own personal doubts, failures, and insecurities to overwhelm me. So much so that I got into petty religious feuds with the Bishop, and many of the ministers. I still wanted to push on, and keep trying to convert to this religion that embraced family, community but often looks down on outsiders.
By living with the Amish not only had I conquered many of my fears, it revealed to me my own insecurities, faults, and weaknesses. Instead I realized that if I was to succeed I would have to put all my energy on my strengths and live fully and uninhibited. My quest continued.
I prayed nearly every day that I would find acceptance but that day never came, not fully. Nor was the love reciprocated. I realized after a few years that this quest was over. It taught me a great lesson that anything worth achieving is worth a great sacrifice.
Lifestyle Design, and Living Abroad has it’s rewards including freedom, exotic adventures, and intrigue. But the journey to get their is often a great sacrifice, even sometimes if you don’t succeed you must always continue trying. Sometimes it’s more about the journey than the expected destination point.