Last weekend my good friend Laura Peterson and I attended a conference in Nashville called Hutchmoot. As I have labored over this post over the course of the last week, I have found the actual event to be quite as inexplicable as the name. “What is a Hutchmoot?” is almost as difficult a question to answer as “How was Hutchmoot?”
Here’s my best shot at explaining the first: Hutchmoot was a gathering of various sorts of storytellers (authors, songwriters, sit-in-a-coffee-shop-with-a-book-and-a-friend storytellers, etc.) who share a belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We found each other by way of the Rabbit Room (an excellent little corner of the internet) and many of us also share a love for the writing and/or music of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Frederick Buechner, Andrew Peterson, Jason Gray, and many others. In short, Hutchmoot was a way for a bunch of people who had never met each other to come and talk about things they found they all cared about.
Laura and I were there among them, and I’m gladder than I can say that we were.
I’m glad because now I know what “the magic hour” is and find myself filled with gratitude almost every evening when the descending light turns everything golden. It is a fine thing to have more gratitude in your life.
I’m glad because I now have several new items on my List of Books to Read. They come with recommendations from most trusted sources, so I’m counting on them being Very Good.
I’m glad because I now have a heavy (but not too heavy) hand-thrown mug called “The Professor” to drink my coffee out of every morning. I want to say that when I drink from it I get little visions of the wonderful things that I learned at Hutchmoot, but that’s not really true. It’s more of just a warm feeling, a comfort, like a smile I don’t realize I’m smiling until later.
I’m glad because I know better than I did before that I have something to offer other people. During one session Andrew Peterson shared with us his belief that each of us is an “image-bearer,” and therefore each of us, even the most unlikely, can create and share and edify. At Hutchmoot, I remembered that my desire to create is a good and God-given thing. At Hutchmoot, I realized that what the Rabbit Room contributors do that convicts and affirms and encourages me is essentially just “composed experience,” to quote Walt Wangerin. It’s shaping and naming, and then sharing. Handing it to someone else to experience. I have dabbled in the shaping. Now I want to learn how to do the sharing.
I’m glad for the delight of having crossed paths (even ever so briefly) with other people who believe that stories are important, that beauty is worth taking time to shape and thank God for, and that The Story is indeed true. I remember now better than I did why I believe these things.
And I’m glad for the delight of a more lasting variety of continuing on the same path, at least for now, with my good friend and traveling companion Laura Peterson.
There’s more to say, of course. Maybe there will be other Hutchmoot posts in future days. But for now, may I simply be thankful for what I have been given.