By Gary Dyck
In her book Out of Sorts, Sarah Bessey talks about the three realms we live in. There is the Everywhere realm: you are out in the public, part of a big world, making a living just like everyone else. There is the Nowhere realm: you are alone with your thoughts, people don’t know you, life is private here. Then there is the Somewhere realm. This is where you can be yourself with others, part of an authentic community with which you have a history.
“The Somewheres are my cure for the Everywhere and the Nowhere,” says Sarah. “Neither extreme is good for our souls. We can’t say everything to everyone. It’s foolish and damaging to expose ourselves to every single person with an opinion, to let just anyone’s criticism or direction come to rest heavily on our stories.” We all need a trustworthy community, a stable place that we can develop and add our story to. Being Online, for example, is mostly an Everywhere, sometimes a Nowhere and rarely a Somewhere.
At the Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV) our aim is to provide a Somewhere to several kinds of people. For those of Mennonite background, a place to learn where you came from, to hear the struggles of those who went before you because they cared about your Somewhere. For non-Mennonites we offer a place to see a people who have often lived on the margins of society, who have not become bitter, but found their faith in God carrying them through all kinds of hardship in their search for peace. We also provide a Somewhere for 500 centuries of Anabaptists (Mennonites) from around the world. Their objects, their stories, their community deserves a place for our generation and for future generations to visit (see our latest project by googling ‘Mennonite Kickstarter’).
As individuals and as a community we all need a place where we can boast a little, acknowledge a wrong or share the extended version of a precious story. At MHV we are working on not just boasting about our history like museums have been prone to do in the colonial past, but also bring to light the wrong we Mennonites have done and to recognize that other cultures are part of our story (we are not a self-made people). This reminds me of another three realms we all move in: dependence, independence and interdependence.
We have enough Everywheres and Nowheres in our world, please join us in building more Somewheres. I leave you with a list from Sarah Bessey to help create your Somewheres:
”An ability to welcome the contradictions in each other. Ferocious trust. Secret-keeping. A shared sense of humor. A fierce belief in the inherent goodness and holiness of each other. An equal amount of butt kicking and hair petting. Bravery. Stillness. A common core.”
Galleries and Village Books and Gift are open year-round. For a limited time, the South East Artists have put up an exhibit in our Art Hall with autumn paintings.
Now until April 30, 2021, Exhibit: “MCC 100 Years”
October 31, 10am – 4pm, Christmas in the Village, Christmas Market in our beautiful auditorium, hot chocolate and wagon rides outside. Hot lunch available 11:30am – 1pm.
May 1, 2021, Outdoor Village buildings and Livery Barn Restaurant re-open.