Saturday, March 17, 2018

You Show Up. You Get Stuff Done. End. Of. Story.

When I was in my very early 20's I visited an Amish community for the first time. I traveled to Heuvelton, New York for a long weekend to visit a friend. She knew I loved abandoned brick stone buildings, bodies of water, and was intrigued by the Amish community. During my visit, she quenched my hunger for all of these adventures and then some. That included an afternoon spent in the Amish community.

During this particular afternoon, we drove down endless dirt roads and small villages populated with the Amish community. I saw horse and buggies for the first time. Amish schoolhouses. Young Amish children playing outdoors during recess. We visited several Amish stores with creaky wooden floors that offered everything from quilts and dolls to Amish butter and cheese curds.

During our afternoon strolling through the Amish community, we stumbled on a piece of land. In the middle of this land was a partially built house. I counted 27 Amish gentlemen surrounding the house and on top of the house. Building. Every single person was doing something. At first, when they spotted my friend and me, they turned their heads. I'm guessing they assumed we had cameras and wanted to take a photo or two.

A taboo in the Amish community.

Once they realized we had kept the cameras in the vehicle, they continued their work. My friend, who was in her early 40's at the time and had lived all of her life in the small village of Heuvelton, explained to me about the deep roots and history of the Amish community. She informed me that when something needed to be done or built, the entire community came forth to participate.

The men tended to the hard labor of building. The women, both old and young, joined forces to cook and bake hearty breakfasts, lunches, and more so, supper.

I was astounded by their sense of community. If someone needed a barn built, it got done. Usually within a day or two. The barn was built and everyone was fed throughout the process. There was always a buffet of food and drink.

Years ago, before my time, that's how things were. Even as a small child and teenager, I can remember various friends and family joining forces to get large projects done. It was an event. My brother and I were expected to participate as well.

That's just how it was back then. That's how we were raised.

To this day, Lisa and I continue to embrace this philosophy. Whether it's starting a meal train or assisting our favorite humans with renovations, yard work, or whatever else needs to be done, we just do it.

It's not about asking, "Do you need our help" or "Do you need anything?" Those are the safe questions.

Very few people ask for help or are able to swallow their pride long enough to express what they need or what could help them out.

It's all about standing firm and saying, "I'm here. I have time. Let me know what I can do to help and make your life easier."

Or, sometimes it's saying nothing at all and just jumping in and getting dirty and sweaty or preparing a meal.

Sure, spending the weekend assisting with renovations, tearing down walls made of horsehair plaster, and scraping walls to get rid of old wallpaper isn't fun.

Making dinner when you can barely move after the fact isn't a field day either.


You do it.

It has to get done.

The people you're helping are important to you.

You don't make excuses or turn your head the other way. You don't use busy as an excuse. You don't hide. You don't distance yourself in hopes they won't reach out and call.

You're. Just. There. You show up.  

Dressed in grubby clothes. Ready to work. Sweat. Use muscles you haven't used in months. You eat cold pizza for lunch and drink from adult sippy cups.

There is no shame.  No judgment.  You work together. Stuff gets done.

End. Of. Story. 

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