Tag Archives: Amarillo

Deciding to Enjoy

I found myself doing something very surprising the other day.  I was admiring the scenery in Amarillo, Texas.  For those who have never been in west Texas, especially Amarillo, let me see if I can paint a picture for you.  Let me use my home state of West Virginia to draw a comparison.  What Mountaineer country has in common with the landscape of Amarillo is…   NOTHING!!!  No hills, no trees, no grass, no water, but other than that, they look exactly alike.

So, for me to find any beauty in this part of the country might be a sign of being in the dry, scorching sun way too long.  Or, I have let myself fall in love with the unique beauty of the high plains.

Have you ever been somewhere, with someone, or in a situation where you only saw what was negative.  No matter how much someone tried to convince you that there was a different, more positive view possible, you were not able to see it.  A fancy phrase for this is, “confirmation bias.”  This comes up a lot when, for instance, someone has betrayed or hurt you, and all you can see is evidence that the person cannot be trusted.  They could do a hundred things right but the one with the bias only sees the mess ups.

There could be several reasons for maintaining a confirmation bias.  First, there is the ludicrous belief that if you continue to look at the negative that you’ll keep from getting hurt again.  If you admit they might be somewhat trustworthy, then that opens you up for the pain again.   Second, the bias can be used as a form of punishment.  If you keep looking at the negative and withhold your attention or connection, then one could believe that the other person is suffering a similar pain that you may have experienced from them.  You might be thinking, “That will teach them,” or “I’ll show them.”.

Either way, if enjoyment of life and relationships are goals one might have, these behaviors or attitudes keep that from happening.  In fact, it sabotages the very things we seek.

So, I walked into the landscape of west Texas already critical and determined not to enjoy any of it.  I was able to keep that up for about 20 years.  So what happened that might have caused me to appreciate the beautiful sunrises and sunsets, the cool mornings and evenings, the tall prairie grass blowing in the consistent wind, Cottonwood trees protecting a lonely spring, and the majestic Palo Dura Canyon with its peaks and valleys?

These were always present, but I was not.  I would not let myself go there.  If I started to appreciate these things this might mean I’ll have to stay here.  So, I would just concentrate on what I didn’t like.  Much to my amazement I was not magically transported to the place of my dreams because of my negativity.  In fact, I was not only here, but I was now miserable.  That was, until I decided that I could choose to appreciate the beauty that was here. I could find contentment where I was.  It has been a wonderful change… in me.  I have even been able to appreciate the different shades of brown.

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My Amish Adventure: My Last Thoughts

photo (14)I really hated to leave my friends but probably hated more coming back to the busyness that I have come to know as “life”. Janice and I drove for almost 20 hours before either one of us turned on the radio. We talked most of the way back home, sharing snippets of what we had experienced and what we wished we could incorporate in our lives. The reality is, the closer we got to Amarillo, the more distant and surreal our time in Ohio was. Something is desperately wrong with that picture.

We laughed again at how I had to translate “inadequate” for them. It is now known as “not enough dosage.” We also shook our heads in dismay at our culture that spends so much time staying “connected.” The Amish have no FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) in their culture. They connect better without Facebook and Smart Phones than all of us put together.

To be invited into the Amish culture was a high honor. They strive to be self-sufficient and mind their own business. To ask for help from the outside on the matters we had to deal with was a huge step. I hope I will have more times to build on this.

I was asked a number of questions from the young people in the community about my views on alcohol use and appropriate dating practices. In all cases I refused to answer and referred them back to the standards of the community. When I told Sam what I had done, he said, “I wouldn’t have expected anything else from you.” He trusted me after the time we met each other in Amarillo at the Hideaway and even more now.

I asked him why he asked me to come in the first place. He shook his head and said that there was no one in the Amish nation (around 250,000) that deals with the matters of growing relationships and restoring hearts filled with pain. The community can do a lot and it does it very well. He and the leaders were wise enough to know when they were over their heads.

My plans are to return at least two more times over this year to check in on their progress. Probably within the next six months. I told him that some very generous contributors had donated funds to see that this could take place. The German’s eyes filled with tears of appreciation. (FYI- I’m still accepting donations 🙂 )

I do a lot of dreaming. I did a lot of dreaming on the road back home. I thought of a Hideaway Northeast that could reach out to that part of country and provide the kind of service we do in Amarillo and in Atlanta, Ga. I know Steve & Rajan just fainted but I know they are used to my crazy ideas. I would want it close enough to my Amish friends where I could serve them. They certainly couldn’t afford my fees but I know my freezer would be filled and my pantry stacked high. I have had many dreams before and few of them become reality. But as long as I see such important needs that need attention, I will dream. I won’t stop dreaming until God says, “That’s the one!” Then He’ll open the doors, windows and the roof to have it come to pass.

Until then, I will pray that my friends in the little Amish community of over 300 in Ohio will love each other as they have done for years. That they will take what has been given to them and spread it to their larger nation. That alone will heal a lot of what ails them. Now physician heal thyself.

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