Even Amish Cry…

It’s been almost twenty-five years since I’ve been good friends with several Amish families. I noticed that as I get older, I seemed to get accepted even more into their inner circles. I’ve been to canning frolics, quilting bees, church services, family picnics, birthday parties…you name it.

In all that time, I have never seen an Amish person cry. This fact never dawned on me until this year when I found myself comforting two very different Amish woman.

What is it about crying that just tugs at the heart? Whenever someone cries, I feel their pain. And, usually, I start to cry with them. That’s just part of who I am.  I’m also a touchy feely person (yes, one of those people).  I hug a lot, too. If you’re happy, I’m happy and want to hug you in joy. If you’re sad, I feel your sorrow and think that hugs help. I know that when I’m sad, there’s nothing like a hug from my husband or mother or good friends. Crying on someone’s shoulder just seems to help.

It also never dawned on me that Amish aren’t touchy feely people nor are they big into comfort hugging.  I found that out the hard way. Two month ago, when Anna broke down in tears, confiding in me that she had lost a baby son just two years before, I did the natural thing: I hugged her. Today, when Katie cried over Anna’s illness and how scared she was to lose her dear one, I did the only thing I know how to do: I hugged her.

They didn’t quite know how to respond. As soon as I recognized that, I took a step backward and started over with the comforting from afar…a new concept for me. I don’t know how to comfort from afar and, even more importantly, I’m not so certain how to comfort a sorrowful Amish woman. For me, I was raised that hugs heal. My mother was a great hugger. Hugs took away the pain from scrapes and bruises as a child and, later, heartache as a teenager. Without hugs, I don’t quite know how to comfort. My own children are hugged frequently, even when I’m not happy with them. One hug and the tension seems to ease. It’s hard to be mad at someone if you are hugging them.

Which brings me back to tears. My heart breaks for these two women. Seeing tears fall down their cheeks really upset me. First, because I didn’t know how to make them feel better. But secondly, because I’ve never seen an Amish woman anything but happy, smiling, or at least stoic! It really tore me apart to see those tears. It was an important reminder that I still have many lessons to learn. It might take me another twenty-five years…and I suspect that will still be mere surface knowledge of these amazing people.


10 thoughts on “Even Amish Cry…

  1. Thank you for your gift of writing, your insight into the Amish life and traditions. You have a window into a simple life that many of us will never have so we can peek into lives that are not open to us. But we cherish each of your thoughts, feelings and live through your writings. Thank you for answering God’s call to yu to write and for your walk with The Word.

  2. I too am a hugger. It just is the natural thing for me to do, but someone close is not. When I am going out of town it is hard for me because I like you have had to learn to back off, as I can feel them stiffen, so I know it makes them uncomfortable. I love reading your writings. Keep up the good work.

  3. I love all your posts on here. WE get to learn more about these wonderful Amish people through you. It is hard not to be able to comfort someone with a hug. I have family that don’t hug either. So it’s hard for me when I do hug them. But they are getting better at it, and I am grateful for that. They also have a hard time saying I love you when we are finished talking on the phone unless I say it first. And I always do. .

  4. Here is my hug to you. Put your right hand on your left shoulder & your left on your right shoulder & squeeze. God Bless You!!

  5. Hugs to you-Am sure they know you well enough to cry in front of you-they know the English hug. Am sure it did bring some sort of comfort to them.

  6. That is something that I’ve never thought about wit the Amish . I really appreciate your writing and giving me insight as to how they live . I live is a small Amish community is southern MI and they just don’t seem to mingle much around here . I’ve read alot of Amish books and spent time in Bird-In-Hand , Lancaster & Shipshewana and love to learn more about their lives ! Thanks alot for sharing your insight and I was definately raised to be a huggy touchy type of person and I also don’t know any other way , but I am really sad for the friends that I have had for years that still aren’t huggers ! It’s very sad for me when I can’t hug a friend that’s hurting or very happy . BUT….I’ve converted quite a few people and am amazed when they tell me that they never hugged at all until they met me , and to me that’s hard to believe . Everyone needs a hug !! So keep up the good work !! Your a wonderful Lady & a definate asset to the writing world !!

  7. All the little Amish children in our community, run to me with open arms for a ‘hug tight’, as they say. They know I always have a treat (candy/gum) for them. I have a few that even whisper to me, “I love you”. That makes my day!

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