The Amish way of life has always fascinated me. Truthfully, I’ve held a longstanding wish to spend a few months living among the plain and simple–experiencing life as they live it. I’ve read my fair share of Amish novels, watched Amish movies, and researched Amish life. You can imagine my joy and anticipation in having arrived in Lancaster County–the heart of Amish life in Pennsylvania. Elation would not be too strong a word to describe my mood.
We pulled off the turnpike and made our way to an arterial road we thought would lead to the huge barns we had glimpsed from the interstate. I was thrumming with excitement, all smiles and girlish anticipation. My head bobbed from right to left like a tennis match spectator. Anticipation was building. Then suddenly…
We were nose-deep inside a historic stone underpass. It was awesome but it was also two feet shorter than the height of our RV. With six cars lined up behind us and nowhere to pull over, we had to stop traffic and choreograph a retreat maneuver or lose the top of our traveling home.
You can imagine the strain on our extra strength antiperspirant. We offered penitent smiles and timid waves as we backed our big old tourist-mobile out of the tunnel and made a sharp left turn.
But as with our journey east, I was again experiencing my highly anticipated Amish excursion through bug carnage and a bouncing camera lens. My dear husband did his best to maneuver our 25-foot motorhome down narrow lanes shared by horse-drawn buggies and motor cars. But as before there was no place to pull over. To frustrate matters more, we only had a vague idea where we were headed.
I had opened the large windows on both sides of our coach so I could hang out like a ravenous member of the paparazzi. My husband called from behind the wheel, “Huge barn on the right.” I would scurry to the right, hang my upper body out the window and fumble with camera dials. Click. Click. Click. Then abruptly, “Buggy on the left!” I was jumping around the RV like a three-year-old mainlining corn syrup. Behind us, a line of motorists was growing right along with my husband’s neck veins and my urge to cry. (Keep in mind we were in day 7 of confined quarters and gizzard jostling RV TRAVEL.)
To frame my frustration, let me tell you about Gettysburg earlier that morning.
Our youngest son was with us, whom we journeyed to Pennsylvania to visit. We arrived at the historic site and opted for a walking tour of the grounds. We were 20 minutes into our journey when I suddenly needed to find a restroom (because I have been putting off bladder surgery for four years). My need was urgent! I kept walking certain I’D find A potty stop along the way.
As we moved further into the park my hope of finding a relief station greatly diminished. Urgency dictated I head back to the visitor center while the two of them continued. We agreed to meet back at the RV.
I made my way back to the visitor center concentrating heavily on two things: 1) Not wetting myself and 2) Keeping my tears at bay. I successfully avoided both 1 & 2. While I waited in the parking for them to return.
Meanwhile, back in Lancaster, I managed to eke out a vapor of genuine gratitude for the privilege of seeing what little I was seeing.
But then I found myself mentally listing all the disappointments I had accumulated since mile marker 32 back in Montana. And then, as with our RV and that little stone tunnel, I had to slam on the breaks and back out.
I had to set aside my camera and lay down my agenda.
I realized the frustration came in when I was unsuccessful at digitally capturing my experience. (It’s not like I was on a production grew for the public television network or anything.)
Like the little black buggies I was so keen on capturing, I had to yield–they to the traffic and me to the trajectory of life.
This trip so far has been one giant object lesson in acceptance, in yielding. It’s as if God was wearing a tee shirt that read: YES, this is a teaching moment! I began noticing the YIELD signs along the roads. The letters became an acronym.
Yes to joy, yes to gratitude, yes to interruption
Somewhere in my ruminating, I concluded that Abba was saying to my heart, I want you to seek me with as much enthusiasm as you have sought out the scenery. Focus on Me and the journey I have laid out before you. Your nature is to strive but I want you to yield.
Yield to what you perceive as best so you can receive what is best.
Tomorrow we do Philly and I have to tell you, I’m feeling some reluctance. I’m picturing parking nightmares and we two travel novices making a bumbling attempt to maneuver the city of Brotherly Love.