A while ago, my sister stumbled upon the Rabbit Room, a community of artists, writers, musicians, and wise souls seeking to live out hard questions in the midst of God’s broken world. Last year, this community convened a Hutchmoot; a flesh-and-blood gathering of those who found solace, challenge, and restoration in the words that came to life in the Rabbit Room. Like Lucy, stumbling upon Narnia, my sister kept her eyes wide open to this new world-within-a-world and found that her heart also was opened. She returned to us as she was before, but somehow as a truer version of herself that we didn’t know was missing until it appeared.
And this year, she invited me into this world. I arrived a bit like Peter and Susan: I had heard of this land – a world within a world – but couldn’t quite believe it was true. So she took my hand and led me through the wardrobe alongside her, excited to introduce me to the world within.
I already cherished this community for welcoming and valuing my sister so much, and somehow anticipated entering Hutchmoot as an observer, trying to see this world through her eyes and learn what had so captivated her heart. But I didn’t expect to be inextricably pulled toward this community myself. In the process of keeping my eyes open to find what my sister so loved, I found my own heart breathing more deeply and exhaling into the peace of a weekend of Shalom. Like Peter and Susan, I was stunned and delighted to find that not only was I welcomed into this new world, but that for me too, this was where I belonged. These “dear little rabbits” drew me into their lives through unguarded visions of their own passions, thoughtful questions, and bold laughter sprinkled with tears.
This blossoming community reminded me of the beauty of bold authenticity, even after self-doubt or disappointment or weariness would seek to push me back inside myself. I think some of the Rabbit Room writers captured this best through their music:
Building a wall so no one could bother me / living my life in isolation / Opening up to only those close to me /Nobody’s close to me, what have I done?
See I really want to be known / but I’m not quite as strong as the fear / that you won’t understand the fool that I am
and that’s how I ended up here.”
– Jason Gray, How I Ended Up Here
As I cast out all these lines / so afraid that I will find / I am alone, all alone.
But could it be that the many roads I took to get here / were just for me to hear that story / and for you to sing that song / and my many hopes / and my many fears / were meant to bring you here all along.”
– Andrew Peterson, Many Roads
There is a refreshment, a lightening that comes from stepping out into community and finding that you aren’t alone. What a gift to go into a world where everyone showed up, grasped hands, took a deep breath, and moved forward together! As a new friend of mine, Sam, put it,
We’re waiting for you and cannot be what we ought to be without you.”
And even as it was just beginning, Hutchmoot came to a close. The many roads we took to get here would lead us back to the worlds we came from. We climbed out of the wardrobe, returning with full hearts to embrace the beauty found in the midst of our own little postage stamps; be it the plains of the midwest, the heat of the south, or the hurry of the city.
And so, we left, carrying our strand of the doxology firmly in our hearts, and longing for heaven where the rich harmony will again be made sweet and complete.