It was a simple assignment. On one note card, tell us how you describe Hutchmoot to your friends.
I thought about conversations leading up to this weekend. I was going to Nashville to visit dear friends; to see my sister; to hear good music. I took the path of least resistance and tried to dissect Hutchmoot into its minimum components. What is Hutchmoot? I had no words. What was this place? A conference? A concert series? Workshops on
faith? music? writing? life?
Although I had been to Hutchmoot the year prior, I stumbled and grasped for words to describe what I was walking into. All of my descriptions felt hollow. When I was honest with myself, I was incredulous that my memories would hold up.
My heart was tired and weary from a long year of gridlock and routine and mediocre disappointments. I needed rest. A booster shot. Something to wake me up or tide me over.
The first 24 hours were a blur. I remember hugging familiar faces, receiving a warm welcome from AP and listening to a gloriously authentic concert while trying to quiet my mind of the DC distractions I had left behind. I remember adding Nate Wilson to my list of favorite people and smiling as Sally Lloyd-Jones stepped up to the microphone. Warm British accents are impossible to ignore.
She introduced us to her new book, “Thoughts to Make your Heart Sing.” Implicit in the title is that my heart is not currently singing.
My heart was tired. And grown-up. Do grown-up hearts sing?
Sally’s simple, beautiful writing brought tears to my eyes. She read about a world where “our hearts are out of step with God and the universe and each other and our very selves.” She spoke of being lost like sheep who always seem to do the exact thing that is worst for them. When she sat down, many other eyes were glistening.
Then, my new-favorite-person Nate stood up. He talked about the pope’s art hallway and the shush-guards catching tourists hip-shooting photos of the Sistine Chapel. But also about the process of “trying to catch a life…grasping for wind and [catching] two handfuls.”
Rather than pulling me out of my weariness, they were joining me. They met my eyes and I saw that they, too, had known the same heaviness of the soul.
Later that evening, AP would take the stage and proclaim:
Well you’ve never met a single soul/ Who didn’t feel the curse’s toll/ Who didn’t wish that death would die/ Maybe that’s the reason why// And it hurts so bad/
Over the rest of the weekend, I saw many eyes that spoke of sadness. Maybe it was a devastating brokenness or a slow fade to gray. But, over meals that spoke of heaven, or on concrete steps, playground swings, or crowded hallways, a deeper truth began to shine through: “The promise is not drowned out by the weeping; it is declared by it.” AP had written these words a decade earlier, but they spoke truth into my heart.
Likewise, Sally reminded me, “while we wait, God wants us to remember: sin, sickness, tears, death – they won’t last. They will come to an end.”
And there was my answer.
Hutchmoot is a place for the broken to gather. To find strength and solace on the ancient paths. To discover that indeed, you are not alone, and to hear the refrain, “what? you too?” dance across twinkle-lit tables.
The answer is Jesus. And He is waiting in every corner, and in every eye.