A Study in Contrasts

We walked into the dim room lit only by sunlight coming through the windows.  Mary welcomed us in.  She was dressed in a plain, blue dress fastened with straight pins and her hair was pulled back into a bun covered by a black bonnet.  She was preparing to iron the quilted pot holders she made to sell.  As we walked to a back bedroom where full-sized quilts were displayed, we passed an old wood stove with a cast-iron iron heating up on the burner. 

It was like stepping back in time.

I was with my friends, visiting the Amish communities in Holmes County, Ohio and this home was a first order Amish home; the most basic of the Amish orders.

Mary and her nephew lived a simple life.  She was a quilt maker. Because her sister and helper recently died and the fact that she was aging herself, she did not think she could keep up the work much longer.  It was sad because her work was beautiful.

It was surreal standing in that humble home.  I felt as if I had stepped into the pages of Little House on the Prairie.  What made this visit even more surreal was where I had been two weeks earlier.

Two weeks before my trip to Ohio, I went on another trip with another friend.  The destination, London.  We were fortunate enough to book tickets to visit Buckingham Palace since the Royal Family was on holiday in Scotland. 

What a contrast.

We saw a small portion of the palace, the state rooms,  but what we saw was spectacular.  We walked on plush, red carpeting as we admired the white marble and gilded decor.  We ooooed  and ahhhhed over the exhibit of Queen Elizabeth’s fashions over the years, from her elegant beaded gowns to her stately day wear.  Her coronation gown was exquisite.  And the hats, so many hats with nary a bonnet is sight.  We were not allowed to take photographs but you can read more about it here.

So many contrasts.

A plain, humble wood frame home and a palace

A plain, unadorned woman and one accustomed to fine clothes and jewels


Both women are working diligently in the twilight of their years

Both women are loved by their creator God

As I thought about those two homes, I realized how content I am in my own place. Sure, sometimes I crave a simpler life but I do enjoy electricity and other modern conveniences.  It might be fun to live in a palace but I imagine it could be like living in a fishbowl with everyone knowing your every move.  What are your thoughts?  Could you live as an Amish woman or a Queen?  Are you content with your place?  It makes you think, doesn’t it?

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