Life can get complicated. Things seem to pop up daily that test our resolve. Issues with our kids, with work, with maintaining a home … sometimes the stresses in life make you wonder what it’s really all about. People get sick, people die, people disappoint us, we disappoint people … life is tough. And I, for one, don’t have all the answers. In fact, I have none of the answers … I am simply forging ahead most days in the best way I know how.
There are many times I find myself wondering what my purpose is. Why was I put on this earth? What should I be thankful for when life seems so difficult? How are we to find happiness in a world where the next emergency always seems to be right around the corner?
And then I go out and meet a person like Raymond Helmuth, a man who was raised Amish at Hazleton, left that community and now lives at the north edge of Nevada, where he trains, boards and shoes horses for a living. Raymond’s story, which appears in this week’s Nevada Journal, has inspired me.
Here’s a guy who had a safe, sheltered life – a life with very little guesswork. He had a sure faith, a large family, skills to do the work that would keep him productive in a community of people he had known his entire life. His path seemed easy. It was clearly mapped out. There were no distractions, like we find in our non-Amish lives. No cell phones, no Facebook, no high school years … just good clean, honest living.
But Raymond wanted something different. He valued the things he had received from his Amish upbringing, but he wasn’t happy with all the rules. So rather than continuing to struggle with the things he knew he knew he couldn’t change, he took a huge risk. He left everything he knew and decided to seek out a life he didn’t know, but hoped he would be happier living.
As a person who risked it all, Raymond inspired me with this story of great courage. Because it takes great courage to walk away from what’s expected, but if you never take a risk, you never find out if there could be something better.
Another story that came across my desk recently was that of Amy Lekwa, daughter of Steve and Sue Lekwa of Nevada. Amy, her husband and their young son lost their home in the tornadoes that moved across Illinois recently.
Yet Steve, in all his communications with me, has noted that there is much for them to be thankful about. His most recent communication this week tells me that, with the help of friends and family, they have saved many of their daughter’s family’s belongings. Steve says that even though both cars were ruined, one has already been replaced. He also said his daughter and her husband have met with a contractor who will rebuild their home for them, and that their son got to start back to school this week. “It’ll be awhile before they can sort everything out, but they’re going to be OK,” Steve reports. “We have much to be thankful for.”
With Raymond’s story and the Lekwa’s reaction to a tragic situation, something becomes very clear to me in this crazy, stressed-out life I’m living.
I love to write.
I love to be able to write and share with others these types of inspiring stories. Nothing makes me happier than putting together words, especially when those words can tell stories about amazing people.
So, even with the craziness of life and the stress of trying to make the best decisions I can along the way, I am thankful that I have had the opportunity to write stories for 20-plus years in this newspaper. Writing is what truly makes me happy. I am also very thankful for those of you who read the stories I write.
(Marlys Barker is editor of the Nevada Journal.)