Cancer shows no mercy in its selection of victims. That means many in the Amish communities face the same diagnosis as I did eighteen months ago. When I was diagnosed in 2013, my Amish friends surrounded me with love and prayer. They also talked to me about their own experiences. Over the years, unfortunately several of my Amish friends have had cancer.
Some of the things I learned were surprising. One in particular taught me a valuable lesson.
I learned that the church district will take up a collection to help provide financial support for the operation. If additional treatments are needed, they will help to pay for that too. However, when it comes to reconstruction, the church does not help finance those operations. It’s considered cosmetic, and while they don’t deny someone the right to undergo that medical treatment, they will not pay for it.
It’s a nice system, I think. The philosophy of people taking care of each other certainly builds community and puts more emphasis on the collective whole, rather than the self-entitlement of the individual.
That’s one of the things that I admire so much about the Amish. Clearly, they have their priorities in order. If someone is sick, whether physically, mentally, or spiritually, they surround them with support. They will help others who are in financial need, but only for necessary purchases or bills. When it comes to unnecessary things, such as cosmetic surgery or materialistic things, the church members won’t provide financial support. Despite the physical changes to my friend’s appearance, her commitment to the church and community was stronger than her focus on herself.
It makes sense, doesn’t it?
1 Timothy says, “But if any do not care for their own, and especially for those of their own house, they have denied the faith and are worse than unbelievers.” (Modern English Version) The Amish do more than just state this as one of their core beliefs. They live it by example.
As the Amish care for their own community, so should we. Life is about giving but also in receiving. Just one more valuable lesson that I’ve learned from the Amish. It’s a lesson to be shared, and learned, by all of us.
Sarah Price’s family emigrated from Europe in 1705, settling in Pennsylvania as the area’s first wave of Mennonite families. Today, she splits her time between her family in the NYC Metro area and a home that she shares with an Amish woman in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania where she retreats to reflect and write.
As a masterful storyteller, Sarah Price prides herself on presenting an authentic Amish experience for her readers. Her latest title is An Amish Buggy Ride.
Purchase Sarah’s books here.
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