It’s so easy to write people off as crazy. I think that’s why I cherish my little wooden placard from Shaker Village in Kentucky. It made of wood and it has an upside down heart overlaying a hand. Above and below it has the phrase “Hands to work Hearts to God.” There’s something simple that just feels incredibly correct in that simple peace of wood.

It always gets me questioning that which I just know is wrong and those whom I’m quick to write off as silly. Having been to Shaker Village, I can honestly say I think many of their ideas were crazy. Leading completely celibate lives didn’t really work out that well for spreading the religion. That alone probably leads many to think they were crazy. I think that too, but I also remember all of the things they were ahead of their time on:

Equality of the sexes (though the use of separate everything probably made the celibacy easier and hold of the religion less over time)

Racial equality (way way ahead of their time on that one)

Producing medicine to be sold

There were other things that may seem a little silly, but I really appreciate them now. They were very into simplicity. There was a legend told to me when I was there that no new songs were ever sung when they brought instruments into their place of worship. They blamed the organ for stealing their creativity. Ever wonder if some of the things we bring into our life make it harder for us to do things on our own? I think of calculators and how many people can’t do simple arithmetic in their head any more.

In some ways their simplicity meant they did things the hard way. That said their woodwork is still considered some of the best. Sometimes the hard way is the better way, and it’s worth doing even if it’s harder. As life gets more hectic and we become able to do so much more, there is a large part of me that wishes for a simpler way…even if the simpler way seems patently absurd to most. I guess I’ll go tilt at another windmill. I wonder if the simplicity of life as a kid is what I and other miss most about growing old.
(Will post picture of the wood work when I can)- and more recent picts of the young ones doing what young ones should, having fun with simple little things. I honestly thing my daughter has more fun taking Tupperware out of the cabinets or sitting in a box than she does with any toy she’s ever had.

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