The following is written by ex-Amish community leader Mose Gingerich who’s featured on the new series Amish: Out of Order:
About Last Week’s Episode:
Every person, at some point in their life, comes to a point where he or she needs to take a step back, regroup, and think things through. Where one realizes that although you’re living the life you wanted or desired (for the most part), things have gone a little too fast lately, maybe almost slipped out of your control, and you have to stop, reconsider, and even question yourself and whether or not you are really on the route you wish to be and want to stay for the rest of your life. Long story short, did you absolutely, positively, make the right decision back at those crossroads or that fork in the road?
This is where I was last September, 2011, when I finally took a whole month off from the dealership to go out and find myself. Either that or a midlife crisis. Take your pick. It seemed that since I had left the Amish, A lot of what had happened in my life had been preplanned. Like it was destiny. I had owned my own construction company, married and had 3 kids. Built and owned our house. And finally, successfully switched from my construction company to being in sales at a car dealership. What more does one want? My dreams were all coming true. I had, in 9 years, accomplished what I had left the Amish to do. I was exactly where I had wanted to be by now in my life….. Or was I?
Was there more out there for me in life than just being the ordinary working dad? The man who works such long hours to pay the bills but he is rarely home. The one who, when he finally does get a day off of work, he is so tired that he just wants to watch cartoons on TV instead of a movie so his brain doesn’t have to think. Had I truly gone through so much trauma and sleepless nights while still inside the community just to leave and for the most part do exactly what I could’ve done within the community? Marry, have kids, a house, and work my tail off. (With the exception of having more freedom to make my own decisions). Was I close to a deeper meaning to life, or had I completely missed the boat? Whatever happened to being a country singer? I was so sure that was what I was going to be when I left. Or what happened to owning my own ranch out in the middle of 5,000 acres and giving trail rides to tourists. Instead, I lived in the city, worked long hours in the city, and carried the usual stress of too much going on in my life that typically goes hand in hand with the city life.
So was there more out there? I didn’t know, but in typical Mose fashion, I wasn’t afraid of finding out. I wasn’t sure where I was going or what I was doing, but what I did know was that I was going.
When you see me in PA, IN, WI, and OH, this all went down last September, my official month of “Rumspringa” from the confines of the “English” world. During this trip, yes, it only makes sense that I visited people such as my past Amish family, and especially my mom, the woman who carried me in her womb and also undoubtedly had many sleepless nights over me when I was a baby, and then again, yes, when I was a teenager. It only makes sense that I visited people related to religion and Christianity like Joe Keim from Ohio, Elmer Miller from Indiana, The Christian Motorcycle Association in Wisconsin, (who didn’t made the cut) and, finally, The Lapp brothers. It also makes sense that I was searching for answers to counseling centers from people like Jonas and Ann Byler in Gap, and finally, forgiveness in PA from the Lapp brothers. The only part of this trip that I really have some remorse about, was the fact that the cameras were following me around.
Now let me clarify that I invited the cameras along on this journey, if you hadn’t noticed, and felt it could be an inspirational journey for viewers, knowing full well that there are many people who have wanted to take this same soul searching step in their lives, and that it could be interesting for them to watch. When I say that I have some remorse about it, I mean that sitting in the home of Joe Keim, accepting Christ into my life, was tough for me. The same goes with sharing my story of my visit with my mom. Here is why: This journey was quite necessary for me to embark on. However, the hard part was when I would start getting into a very serious scene and I would see the cameraman zooming in, or see the boom/mike (squirrel) coming down from above to catch every sniffle I was letting out.
Realizing a camera was present and that this was subject to editing and then being broadcast to the world, had a draining way of taking the sincerity out of it for me. Now had I had the presence of mind to justify it by reminding myself that I was doing this for an inspirational series, I might have embraced these personal moments a little more.
Again, I overstate my case here, but it is absolutely the most humiliating experience imaginable to mankind, to sit there and watch oneself come across the screen and watch yourself make yourself completely 100% vulnerable to the entire public. The remorse is when I receive contact via email or phone, or even in person from thousands of strangers who want me to call them on the spot because they feel like we now have an undeniable, personal connection and should be close friends for life. For that one moment in my life back in September of 2011, I went through a time in my life where I was needing answers. It touched a lot of people. However, by making myself so open and vulnerable, I have been subject to almost more sympathy and empathy then I can sometimes handle on my own. It is sometimes a little hard realizing that that version of you on TV almost a year ago, is the person people think you are right now and will always be, when indeed, I got home, went right back to the dealership, and returned right back to being just an average Joe in mid-Missouri.
However, not to be mistaken, I sincerely appreciate the thousands of heartfelt emails, etc. It is only then that I realize just how many people there are in the world who fit into the first category of what I started out describing myself as… The person who had to find some answers.
My encounter with the Lapp Brothers uncovered some things that even my wife didn’t know, and thank the Good Lord they edited out a lot of it. I was told later what some of the things were mentioned. I will never be able to explain what went on in that room, or why it happened. All I know is that for like 4 hours I was numb and couldn’t seem to move. I don’t know for sure if it was the Holy Spirit or if it was just a hex put upon me, but I do know that I wouldn’t go back to the person I was before I entered that room. Although I still have my struggles and doubts from time to time, I can honestly say that I became more free on that day
The bible study was something I had to try out after I got home. I always have, and always will, continue to search for answers and continue to look for a deeper meaning to life, and the bible study was an attempt at trying to see if this feels like it should be done on a regular basis.
As far as the Counseling Center. This is something I would love to do, and at some point in my life, I will probably achieve this dream. I was so touched to see people readily going into an environment where there is for that time, no judgement, and someone truly is there to help them deal with there trauma or just there life in general. This is something that I believe is needed more in the world. Something selflessly put together for a greater good.
Honestly, my dream is to some day have a 1,000 acre place out in the country with woods and mountains where people can go to retreat. Horse back rides, canoe rides and camping, where people can just go to recoup for a time with no worries or cares. At the front of this land would be a large family Counseling Center for these people to come to several times a day for professional advice or Counseling. And quite possibly, at some point maybe even a Church and a Chapel would go up there for people to come in and worship.
Will this ever happen… Maybe. Maybe this is the deeper meaning to life I was set out on my road trip to find. Maybe years down the road this just may become a possibility.
Coming Up in Tonight’s Episode:
In Episode 8, I can and will finally take a deep breath and know that things will be just a little but lighter, (for me, that is). We follow the story of Chris Y, and his trying to get a higher education. His father, Albert Y, is introduced for the first time, and we will see if there is a way to help them get some of the years back that were lost, while trying to figure out if Chris can find a way to go to high school.
Michaela, oh Michaela. Yes, for those of you who have wondered for so long if she ever went Amish, or if she intends to ever go Amish, I promise a lot of your questions will be answered in this episode. The hint I will drop is she just may take a visit to a rather sunny part of the country. Michaela’s story is quite moving and I felt myself, many times over, relating to her and what she was going through.
And finally, take a deep breath, and relax during this episode, because I can promise the last 2 will leave you torn up and with a lot of questions and concerns as was I during the filming of these last 2 episodes. Just when you thought things were starting to make sense, it all unfolds. Stay tuned….
Until next time…. Seo mich Eingedenkt in Bettes!
You can also see more blogs on Mose J. Gingerich’s personal website at www.amishinthecitymose.com
Tune in to a new episode of Amish: Out of Order: Family Affairs — Tonight at 9P et/pt