A young boy in our church had passed away and the funeral was being held three days later. It was my first time being part of the cleaning crew that always descended upon the house where the deceased's family lived and got it scrubbed and polished from top to bottom in a single day.
The following day was spent with food preparations for the meal that would be served the next day after funeral services were over. I don't remember exactly what all it included because I was kept busy making pie the entire day after the head cook and planner discovered I was pretty good at it.
By evening everything was ready for the next day, including huge tables set up in their woodworking shop. All the youth girls were assigned a table to serve and care for. Since I was the youngest I was assigned to the least important table. The one where shunned people would eat. It was away from the tables in the shop. Not even in the same building. They decided this particular table belonged in the house. Not just anywhere in the house either, but in the dank dimly lit basement.
I felt horrible that anyone would be treated so badly, and vowed to give them the best service possible. I ran from the shop, down the hill across the yard, in through the house, and down into the basement carrying bowls of food for them, making sure they had the best food and the prettiest pie.
It all bothered me a lot and I vowed I would never do anything to experience being shunned like that.
Fast forward a number of years. LV and I had left the Amish and were now shunned. For the most part we stayed away from the Amish especially when it came to mealtimes or business dealings because it's just easier that way.
Then one day we got an invitation to an event. We felt we should probably attend. How bad could it be we wondered, because two of LV's siblings who had also left the Amish and their families would be there too. We could all kind of stick together, right? Wrong.
We arrived and all the women, including the sister-in-laws who were no longer Amish were helping make lunch. I asked if there was something I could do and one of them told me to go ahead and slice the tomatoes. I got started, but hadn't even finished the first one when I was interrupted by the lady of the house.
"You can't touch our food," she said and threw the contaminated tomato away. She told me to sit on a chair in the corner of the room away from everyone else who was working. So there I sat ... I decided rather than feel hurt I'm going to enjoy not having to work.
Then lunch was ready to serve. They didn't have room for everyone to sit around a table so lunch would be cafeteria style. Once again, even though LV's siblings who had left the Amish were permitted to go through the line themselves and fill their own plates, LV and I had to sit to the side on some chairs and have the lady of the house bring us our food. We were both more than a little disgruntled about that.
Shunning is annoying. The Amish say it will bring people back to them, but I've never seen it work that way. It certainly doesn't make me feel like spending time around them, or ever being Amish again.
~~~~There's a wedding invitation on the desk waiting to be answered.
Do I feel like going and being stuffed into corners and little out of the way tables?
No, I don't.
I don't think it's necessary to willingly put myself through that again.
It would be uncomfortable for everyone. Me as the shunned person ... and those who have to do the shunning.
Instead of going I think I'll stay at home and write a blog post.