My brother and I and a friend took a flying trip this weekend. My friend is getting married. One of my oldest friends from my childhood.
And the trip is dredging up all the thought and rethought thoughts of my childhood and the life I was born into.
I am unapologetically anapabtist. I love my heritage and all it has given me but I stand divided by love of my tradition with the realization that I have been formed and molded by living in a visionary environment that challenged much of the tradition we are known for. Visions that triumphed at times and failed in others.
I was born into a tiny mission church, my father a soon-to-be pastor. We were “Amish”, but we spoke English. We drove horses and buggies, but we made exceptions if neccessary. We lived in a termite infested house on a goat farm. We went to school in a one-room school house.
And oddly enough we were happy.
I cannot imagine a happier childhood.
My father was, in many ways, living his dream. He was building a business, spending time with his children, and the church was a beautiful mixture of people from every background imaginable.
He was young and energetic. He was up for a challenge.
And then it fell apart.
And we left. Following the advice of well-meaning pastors. Leaving behind our beautiful farm, the people we loved, and the community we had built.
We have never been the same. For better or for worse, the dream that was yanceyville died.
I was only a child and I was heartbroken.
I wrestle with the wondering. Who would I be, apart from this back-story? I don’t think I will ever leave yanceyville. It’s grown into me, formed me. Made me who I am.
And I am thankful.
I wouldn’t wish on anyone the journey my parents have made for their family but I am profoundly thankful that my father has always taken “the path less traveled”
It has made all the difference.
Several times recently I met up with other yanceyville people in my travels and each time I have something of an identity crisis. I have for years now been part of the mainstream anabaptist culture and sometimes now I can convince myself that I belong, but when I meet these people, the people who were there. The ones who walked this steep and winding trail.
Then I remember.
These are my people.
You can take the girl out of yanceyville but you’ll never take the yanceyville out of the girl.