Friday, September 28, 2012

The Truth About Hutchmoot: Through a Glass Clearly

I’m a sinfully arrogant man.

You wouldn’t know it by my appearance, by my prattling on about career successes or high school leadership awards, or my beautiful wife.  I play Christian better than that. 

But I’m an arrogant man because I think that my special thoughts are God-given and are more special than your thoughts.  I’m an arrogant man because I think my music collection is better than yours; that my insightful comments regarding Rich Mullins’ music is deeper and more thought-out than yours; that I have read more books than you have; that I have more degrees than you do. 
And the list could go until I had completely vomited my insecurities across my keyboard and let it run through the cracks in my oversized desk drawers to the pages held there within.  I hope this arrogance is overstated but if I ever spent some time swimming in these dark waters, I fear that my hyperbolic confessions aren’t far from the truth. 

And Hutchmoot 2012 changed me. 


Let me explain. 

I was a first timer, initially led by my over-imagined relationships with musicians I had met at shows years (a decade even?) ago.  As though my carrying out a speaker after a coffeehouse performance by one of the Andy’s in 2002 inspired a friendship that still burned as dark coals below the hundreds of shallow “hi” and “thanks for the kind words” relationships musicians so often encounter. 

I don’t really know what I was expecting – but most certainly I didn’t expect to encounter Jesus as I did.  I most certainly did not expect my heroes to lay down the tools of their trades (whether guitar, pen, or paintbrush) and speak raw and jagged truth.  I didn’t expect to share meals with fellow journey men and women who also wake up every morning and look into the mirror, begging Jesus to not forget them. 
I am a man who has deeply felt the piano wire tension of the siren call of accomplishment, letters after my name, and worldly success with the quiet whisper of a still voice who persistently breathes, “There is another way to live where peace is the foundation and where (as Andy P so eloquently put) things are not always fine but where you are never alone.”
I’m so, so scared of being alone. 

So scared. 

Hutchmoot was about meals and eye contact and singing and tears and tiny victories.  Witnessing a famous musician beam as a proud father watching his boys.  Another famous musician dig deep into the corners of his heart to wrestle with the gray matter overlap of accomplishment and fear.  A brave mother explaining her decision to adopt another child.  A tired and stressed young couple explain why though difficult, homeschooling was the right choice for their family.  Seeing my friend Eric weep tears that healed us all.  Hearing a tiny British woman read her own words in her own rhythm in her own spacing.  Watching a strange bearded man weaving his way through crowds of families and hungry patrons and happy souls hitting a cereal bowl with a stick (or whatever that beautiful bell happened to be).  

Hutchmoot was about the finding artistry and service to God in a guitar, a beautiful song, a spreadsheet, an Irish melody, or another tired, heartfelt greeting at the book table. 

But even greater than that, Hutchmoot showed me the way a Christian community is supposed to be. The way me are excellent in all that we do.  How we look for the joy in the dark. How those who are in a season of plenty harvest the wheat of those who are down because the time will come when our plenty has run bare.  How we all are to make up our own special rules and laugh as often as possible and sing, dance, and wear spacesuits when permitted.   
I returned home from Hutchmoot an humble and peaceful man.  Because you all took the time to welcome me to your table; to honestly reflect on your faith journey; to share a seat at the concert; and pipe out a laugh and my lame joke.

 I’ve returned home a better husband, a better father, and a better teacher.  If you will excuse the cliché, Hutchmoot  - not as a conference – but as a collection of hearts, and hands and feet and people, was a light to this little lost boy.  Because at Hutchmoot 2012, I was handed a tiny little candle with a tiny little wick and a damp match. 

And when I struck the match it came alive and a tiny flame danced atop my tiny candle. 

And I looked around and saw a hundred other faces around me.  Smiling faces. 

And I found that I am not alone. 

Praise God! Praise God!  Praise God! 

We are not alone.  

~ Dizz