My daughter and son-in-law are both strong-willed and strong-minded individuals. I am privileged to live with them. Before they married they promised each other that neither would be the head of their home, but that they would be happy through compromise. The promise must have been off the record, not a part of the public vows. Here is how it works.
Their marriage has survived into their mid-sixties. At the beginning of this year they and their financial advisors agreed that for good reasons this was the year for a complete remodeling of their much-used kitchen and dining room.
I was not a part of the decision-making process, but after the decision was made I heard many of the intense debates over the right tint of a particular color for the ceiling, walls, and flooring. New cabinets and cupboards were investigated, debated, designed to fit family needs and desires. Replacement appliances were evaluated thoroughly and ordered three months in advance. Through debate, compromise, and mutual respect decisions were made.
A trusted contractor was hired to help set a time to begin and to agree on a schedule for each phase of the work to be done in the proper sequence by sub-contractors.
Then the family work began. The old cupboards were emptied of food and supplies. Unneeded items were discarded or kept for a future yard sale. Through much debate and compromise, the need for food was projected and food, coffee maker, toaster, plate grill, microwave and refrigerator were moved to the parlor to be used while the kitchen was being remodeled. Dining-room table and chairs were moved downstairs to the common area of my quarters.
Finally, demolition of the cabinets began. Conrad joined Eldon to remove the old cupboards and Zach and Khalid carried the trash to the out-door bin provided by the contractor. Paper and paint was scraped off the walls.
Reconstruction began after the wall-board was repaired and sanded. Walls and ceiling were painted, and flooring was replaced. and now, today, the new cabinets and a cupboard were installed by a young man who worked with great precision for more than twelve hours on one day.
Amish are noted for their craftsmanship. The installer did not “look” Amish, but when I asked him about Amish roots he said that he had been “raised” Amish. He told us he was 34 years old and had 5 children. He said that the children were evidence of the Amish in him. His parents had ten children.
I’m thinking of more questions to ask if I see him again. I wonder how many of his brothers and sisters are still Amish. He said he had left the Amish faith, but was still a Christian. Is their a difference between Amish faith and Amish culture? What is an appropriate compromise of culture and faith?
And if strong-willed individuals in their sixties can remodel a kitchen and dining room through compromise, why can’t democrats and republicans compromise for the good of the nation?