What is Hutchmoot?
If I got a book for every time I have been asked this question - it would be wonderful, because I would have to start stacking books on my staircase again.
To try and describe the wonder that Hutchmoot is and contains, is daunting. It seems much like I am shooting for the moon in trying to answer this question, but nonetheless I intend to try my hand at it and do my best, for even if I miss - at least I have a chance of landing among the stars.
Attempting to describe and capture Hutchmoot fully is in part impossible, because what you see and experience depends on where you are and the perspective you have at the time. Many people may take a snapshot of an ancient, massive tree and while each picture captures one view of the tree, each will be different depending on the angle and perspective of the person who pushes the button on the camera. Each small square of a picture is indeed a piece of the tree, but it cannot accurately capture the whole complete essence of the tree itself.
But sometimes there are things that are worth photographing, so I will try and snap my picture here.
(deep breath, exhale)
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn't safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
This is how I feel about Hutchmoot.
Hutchmoot is good but it is not safe. There is nothing safe about walking into a building where God is busy working. But it is good. Oh, it is so, so good.
I walked alone towards The Redeemer late Thursday afternoon. The sun was filtering through the leaves, I felt happy and my feet felt light. However, this changed the moment my foot crossed over the threshold of the door. Raw terror swept over me and I cowered. Voices screamed in my head and whisper to my soul, "You don't belong here. All the people who you think you belong with will reject and hate you or worse secretly despise you. What were you thinking in coming here? You are worthless." Lies were being thrown and slung as easily as baseballs in the spring and I wanted to bolt back to the safety that was felt behind the locked steel doors of my car. Instead I tried to make myself look invisible as I slid and collapsed into a chair in the back of the sanctuary.
I was being undone. The voices unstitched and unraveled the deepest core of who I thought I was and it was searingly painful. I rested my head on the chair in front of me, I wanted to cry, I wanted to run.
But what was intended for evil was being woven into the story of my life to accomplish something good. I was being broken so I could be bound back together, unraveled so I could be remade, and unstitched so I could be sown back together - into something better than I could have imagined.
Every conversation, every session, every meal, every person, and every beautiful thing seen, smelled, heard and touched was a piece of the thread that was being used to stitch me back together again.
I fight to believe I am worth anyone's time, much less people who are admired and respected by many and who have a line of people who all want a chunk of their time and attention. All I wanted to do was to tell them thank you for what their writing, music, and stories have done for me. All I wanted was a sliver of their time and attention so I could just thank them with my lips and they could see in my eyes how much their work had meant to me. But they gave more than a sliver. They cared, they stopped, they sought me out to get to know me, they invested their time, energy, and words into me. They were the hands, feet, and voice of Jesus. And I am crying even now thinking about it.
One of the ladies I was hoping the most to thank and maybe exchange a handful of words with, grabbed me by the hand, dragged me to a bench outside to talk and tell me that she loved me. Another as I passed by stopped me and asked to grab a conversation with me, I was dumbfounded. Another took the time to listen as I whispered the words I had been to terrified to say and then held me as I cried, feeling the fire of who I was created to be burn down and branded into the deepest parts of my soul.
It makes me cry because I think that is how God is with me. I am just hoping to tell Him thank you, just hoping for a sliver of His attention for a brief moment, so those words can come tumbling out. And then in the middle of my sentence He laughingly drags me by the hand to a bench out in the air to pour life into me. He stops me in the middle of my day to tell me that He wants to get to know me, and he holds me tenderly while I am being broken and remade and He doesn't care that my tears are staining His shirt.
Hutchmoot was nothing like I expected it to be, it was so much better. I didn't expect to love everyone this much and be changed so intensely. I was warned that it would be like this, but like a child who has only seen puddles and is told of the vastness of the ocean, I thought I understood--but I had no idea.
I do know this, I have finally found my tribe. I may be the least of them--but I have found my tribe.
Aslan's presence is thick at Hutchmoot. And because of that, Hutchmoot is anything but safe, but I will tell you that it is good.