If Quilters Ruled the World

Once again Mother Nature has demonstrated her powers across the land over the course of the last few months. Many locals, including Amish and Mennonites, have helped with the rebuilding in Louisiana and Mississippi. We learned again that all of our multi-million dollar technology and government resources are sometimes no match for the tragedy nature can inflict.

What few weather problems we had here in Lancaster simply pale in comparison. About all we had to deal with was some snow, which reminds me of a story I was told by an elderly friend of mine.

He and his wife had been snowed in one winter after a big blizzard. Even though they were the oldest members in their church, no one from their congregation had called or stopped by to check on them. Remember, my friend was not Amish and, unlike Amish church districts where everyone lives nearby, I’m sure his congregation was fairly scattered throughout the county.

One day they were surprised to hear a knock at their door, even though no car had yet come down their driveway through the snow. The “caller” turned out to be an Amishman who lived down the road. He had managed to get out on the roads with his horse and buggy, and had thought about the two of them. He stopped in to see if they needed anything.

Their Amish neighbor had demonstrated a sense of community and concern for this older couple, typical in the Amish world where “secret friends” sometimes leave food and surprises for those elderly members who live alone. It didn’t really matter that his neighbors weren’t Amish. It was simply the right thing to do. Which, oddly enough, brings me to the subject of quilts…

Quilts are often composed of competing colors and patterns, and even opposites can be made to blend and work together as a whole. The contrasting and competing colors can complement and enhance each other. In the same way, people of different religions, cultures, and lifestyles can also come together, become friends, and enjoy each other’s differences, rather than letting those differences pull them apart and divide them. Neither side needs to try to change or convert the other. There can be a mutual respect, and even joy, in those differences, which may even make the respective friendships stronger.

The individual patchwork pieces of a quilt can become a beautiful masterpiece, even with colors and patterns that at first glance seem to be at odds. So too can our patchwork of peoples and cultures be a source of pride and enrichment, of unity amidst diversity. All we need is the creativity and patience of a quilter to bring it all together. The quilter can see the multitude of pieces, figure out a way to make them work as one, and move toward that future end result with determination and faith. Maybe we should try letting some quilters run the world for a while.


Amish Country News Publisher's Message by Brad Igou (2006)


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