Today I am going to share with you something that I hold near and dear to my heart – Letters from home. I call them “Dear Emma” letters. Over the last 7 years (almost 8) I have received 128 letters from my family. ONLY 128! I think there should be more, but I’ll take what I got and treasure them. Forever. Unless my apartment burns down, but let’s not worry about that. They are all in a shoebox stored away in a closet. Some letters are very sweet and innocent and others were written with the intent to hurt my heart, but I still take them as a treasure. I can’t help but notice that in the last two years the letter writing has diminished to almost nothing. In the last five months I’ve written my mother twice and have not heard back from her or anyone else. But who is to blame? I am the one that left the Amish. I am the one that broke my parent’s hearts. I am the one that decided to break the rules.
If there was any other way I could have done it, I would have. I know that two letters in 5 months is not that much. However, in the past if I wrote too often, they accused me of being miserable, sad, and a confused wayward child. I have often heard the words, “Aren’t you ready to come back home, you don’t seem to be happy?” Or “Your brother Jacob and his wife need help when their fourth baby comes, don’t you want to work for them?.” And the latest comment I heard was from my father back in May when I was home to visit. While we were standing in his shop he said, “I need a young married couple to live on my farm and help me in the furniture shop.” Hehehe! 😉 Sorry Dad, I know you were talking straight to me even though your face was turned away. I can’t imagine being married to an Amish man, of course I didn’t say that to him.
I wish I could say, I am ready to go home for good, but that’s not what’s in my heart. It is sad, but I have no yearning whatsoever to be Amish again. Yes, I want my parents happy again. I want to spend time with my brothers and sisters and make them happy. But I can’t do that. Period. If they are not happy, then they have to work on it themselves.
Over the years, I have tried to keep in communication with my family in hopes that someday they see me for the person I am. But I feel like I am failing. It feels as if I am loosing connection with them. I don’t feel like a daughter or sister anymore. They simply can’t connect with my life and I am losing that Amish connection with them. Which explains why the letter writing has slowed down. I could write hundreds of pages explaining what my life is like and they wouldn’t get it. I’ve tried letting them know on small dosages about college, work life, and the people I meet, but I still fail to connect. Maybe some of my brothers and sisters can relate to me still, but not my mother. For some reason, I have a great deal of longing for a mother’s love. I wish I could call my mom and ask her to have coffee with me at Starbucks tomorrow morning at 7:00. I wish I could ask her to go to the movies with me. I wish I could just call her whenever I am bursting with excitement because I made an “A” in class or a prince charming asked me out on a date. Lol. 😉 that last one she would not like! The problem is if she would have a phone where I could call her, I would not get any more letters. I would not be so excited every day to open up the mailbox and get a rush of anticipation that there might be a letter from home.
I had to choose between leaving and staying Amish, and I chose to leave and I guess God didn’t want me to have best of both worlds – so I make the best of it as much as I can. My heart melts a little every time I hear that someone is spending time with their mom or the family. And my heart saddens every time someone looses a precious family member. Enjoy every moment while you can! 🙂
11 thoughts on “My world – Letters from home.”
Don’t give up hope. Time will soften your mom’s heart. I’m sure she thinks of you daily. God bless.
Thank You! I am praying and trying to be patient. 🙂
Emma, what a bittersweet post… you are so wise to know that you cannot make your mother happy… that she has to find happiness in herself.
But I also know what it’s like to feel the connection to the family and community waning. It is so sad that we cannot find a way to bring our two worlds together. Instead we have to choose between one and the other.
What a wonderful thing to treasure the 128 letters. May there be more…
My heart goes out for you! I admire you for leaving! I hope someday your Amish family will except you as you are! Be happy always! Judy from a Amish community in NWMO!
Thanks Judy! I appreciate the encouraging words!
Dear Emma, I’m sure you don’t remember me but I do remember your family! I used to deliver packages to your dad and he made me some custom baskets for my tv cabinet. I always wondered about your life as I’m sure you wondered about mine. I was always over joyed when you kids came out to my truck. Your family left before I retired. Where did they go? I wish you only the best in this volatile world of English. I admire your bravery and your drive to improve yourself by education. I see you going a long ways in this new life of yours! We English believe we will be reunited with our loved ones in the next life….I think you will be too! Keep the faith! I’ve got your book on order and can’t wait to read it. Sincerely, Mary, your ex-UPS driver.
Emma, my heart hurts for you. As a mother of two daughters, I love to tell them I love them or call them on the phone just to hear their voice. I believe God has a special path for your life and I would like you to know that I will be praying for you. I wished I had met you when you were in Mars Hill, Maine in May. I get excited that as I go by your Mem and Datt’s house that you have been there. I also have stood in your Dad’s work shop. You are a very special young woman and my prayer is to be able to meet you some day. Love and prayers, Janna
I really wish I could hug you, and hug you so tight right now… I wasn’t born Amish, I’m a native american girl that grew up and lived in Alaska, but I just went through something similiar with you… my mom left & disowned me. I had a father but he died when I was young. I feel so alone right now, but my sister’s husbands family have taken me in and care for me like I’m one of their own & I’m so thankful to our Creator that they’re in my life. But there’s still a part of me that weeps, and feels miserable because my own mother did this to me… I struggle and fight that feeling, because I do have a loving family that wants me even though i’m not biologically related to them, and I thank God every day for them… I still wish I heard from my mom though, despite what she’s done to me in my life I’m ready to forgive and have her in my life again… I just want a mom again… and it really hurts me that I can’t even rely on my own imagination to want to be hugged by my mom, knowing she wouldn’t do it if she saw me today…. the one person who should always be my source of strength and comfort in my life… I’m somewhat alright knowing I’m not alone, but it’s a bittersweet feeling… we shouldn’t have ever felt this, ever… I’m a complete stranger to you, sending you a paragraph, but I hope you are okay, and doing good… I’ll be your family & worry for you because I already do.. I know i’m an “english” person and never grew up like how you did, but my native tribe has a similiar lifestyle to yours, living off of the land and working hard. My mom had already said a lot of bad things about me to the rest of the family… but I refuse to justify myself, cause she will need people to help her & my lil sister… I’ll be alright here, I can take care of myself, I don’t need help from family, but I worry for my nine-year old sister… I know my mom will be good to her and raise her well, I know that for a fact…. I just wish anything more in the world that I had that bond with my mom again…. I don’t feel at peace, not having a mom who worries and loves me…. I feel so alone even though I’m not alone… I just wish I could hear her say she loves me and wants me back…
Dearest Emma ~ I have a precious daughter, Hannah, who is 19 and I can’t even begin to imagine my life without her in it. Please know that there is absolutely NOTHING that you can do to make your mom not LOVE You, just as there is nothing – absolutely Nothing that we can do to cause our Heavenly Father to not love us! I love you and I don’t really know you, so I can only imagine the Love your mom has for you. Please know that if you need a 2nd Mom, I would be honored to fill that position. I am in St. Joseph, Mo., so not sure how far away I am from you! You are ALWAYS welcomed in my Home! You also Hold a Dear Place in my Heart!
Thank you Dorothy! I am glad you took time out of your day to sent an encouraging message!
Read The Lotus Sutra, best English translation by Burton Watson.
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