“A warning: there’s a pretty good chance you won’t feel like the same person after reading this book.”
So starts the introduction to The Heart of the Amish, Life Lessons on Peacemaking and the Power of Forgiveness, by Suzanne Woods Fisher. And she was right! Not knowing what to expect when I turned the first page, I was quickly swept into the world of the Plain People.
Because the Amish prefer a secluded and private life, people like you and me aren’t typically exposed to the type of stories found within these pages. Fisher’s stories are short (3-5 pages) but they pack a powerful punch! From an outward perspective some of these stories may seem minor (Everyday Friction), when compared to the life-altering stories of the Nickel Mines shooting (Turning Points), but they are all impactful in a meaningful way.
Each chapter begins with an Amish proverb that ties to the story of the chapter. Fisher then tells each story in simple, easy to follow writing. The stories varied in content, but always featured the forgiveness that Amish are noted for having. At the end of the story, there is a section of the chapter which offers Reflections on Peacemaking, which features ‘what-if’ scenarios and thought-provoking questions to lead the reader on their own journey of forgiveness. Finally, at the end of most chapters, a ‘Plain Truth,’ or fact about the Amish faith and lifestyle, was offered.
I knew I had found a true gem of a book when I began underlining in the Introduction and didn’t stop until the Epilogue. Typically the pen doesn’t come out until later in my reading. We learn in the Introduction one huge area the Amish are different, as Fisher tells us, is that they expect life not to be fair, so when hard things come, the Amish have experience on how to manage them. Plus, their world view is not self-centered.
I will say that I never expected this book to impact me the way it has. I am looking at people and situations and relationships differently now that I’ve absorbed these words. For anyone who wants a light read that will not question their beliefs, then you need to pass on this book.
BUT, if you are looking for an easy read, told with the grace and simplicity of coffee and conversation with a good friend, that challenges you to your core, then this is the book for you. I promise you won’t be disappointed. I am now on the hunt for Fisher’s other books on the Amish.
You can read what others are saying about this book on Amazon here.