Letting go of the things that have defined us - the truths that we learned at our mother's knee - can be terrifying. Questioning those truths is difficult at best, and at worst can feel like dying. (What will happen when I let go?) The foundation is ripped away - the abyss that we imagine ourselves dangling above is endless. All we know is that what made us 'us' is gone. It feels like being a helpless child again, our very survival is at stake. The feeling is huge - an enormous feeling - that many cannot face.
I can imagine that being excommunicated, shunned from the Amish community, would equate to my own isolation from my family of origin. Terrifying at first. We choose to make the break, but it is not an easy break. That moment when we're hanging on by our fingertips, too afraid to let go but knowing there is no other way. It is the leap of faith. The reality is that we don't know if we will be okay, and the overwhelming feelings of fear, regret and doubt muddle our senses.
Time and experience have taught me that my faith will be rewarded. But that moment of letting go, it is a scary one. I let go all the time, now! Sometimes what is happening in my life doesn't make a damn bit of sense to me, but I just turn it over and trust.
I had a conversation with a young Amish father recently. He approached me in the WalMart - I don't know why. But he did and we talked. He shared a bit of his belief and experience, and then asked me to take a look at Trouble in Amish Paradise. I read of the struggles that some of the Amish have had with themselves and their communities. Many have been excommunicated. I will pray for them, and I ask that - if you are so inclined - you pray for them, too. Pray for them all, because the ones who can't take the questioning are lost, and the ones doing the questioning are being incredibly courageous in my opinion.