I fly six to twelve times a year. I’ve been flying since before I can remember. It was second nature to get on a plane to go see my grandparents in Pennsylvania for Christmas or summer vacation. So for me flying is routine.
This past weekend I attended Hutchmoot. What’s that you ask? I couldn’t begin to define it. Pete Peterson and his brother Andrew, not to mention an army of other people, put it on in Nashville and people from all over the country who love Jesus, read books, write novels, paint, make music, listen to music, cook, or participate in any other form of art, show up to spend a few days together celebrating those things in each other’s lives.
During Artmoot, the final session of the weekend, I was given a tile to fill with color and tasked with coming up with a word that our group agreed captured the time together. The word that came to me was “vision”. The people at my table agreed that it was a fitting word and so I included it with my tile. I didn’t realize how profoundly that word spoke to me during my time at Hutchmoot.
Andrew started the weekend talking about his hope that this time together would give us an opportunity to see anew. My first session with Lanier Ivester, Jennifer Trafton, and Eric Peters was a reminder that what we create is an expression of who we know God to be and how we see the world with that knowledge. My second session with N.D. Wilson was a call to me to always be improving my craft, whether it is in writing a sermon, a column for the newspaper, or an article for the monthly church newsletter. Because of God’s role as creator, I have a role in creating as well and it reflects poorly on God if what I create is crap. Then during my time with Jonathan Rogers and Andrew Saturday morning I was blessed to hear how significant the world around us actually is and to embrace it in my life and my craft. I took Pete’s recommendation in the afternoon and visited Radnor Lake. It was a beautiful Tennessee lake nestled in a wooded area. There were busy squirrels and skittish chipmunks. I allowed myself opportunities to stop and watch them move. Then as I entered into the wooded trail I came across a mother deer and her two adolescent fawns. And at the other end of the trail there were five more. There were wild turkeys and water snakes as well. As I was enjoying the serenity of the woods I was brought quickly back to reality when a walnut careened out of the tree and hit the ground with a very serious thud. I found myself taking the time to see.
So this morning I got to the airport and the line for Southwest baggage check was ridiculously long and I groused to my wife about that on the phone. Then security was even longer, again more grousing. I finally made it through and got to my gate, enjoyed some breakfast, sent a few emails and then got on the plane where I was a sardine stuffed next to the window with two other guys bigger than me in the same aisle. My vision was just about back to where it was before Hutchmoot and then something wonderful happened. As we were taking off I quickly learned the little blonde boy in front of me, maybe five years old, was flying for the first time and when the wheels left the ground he exclaimed with awe, “We’re off the ground! We’re off the ground!” Then we got the play by play. “We’re higher than the cars! We’re higher than the trees! We’re higher than the birds! Uh oh we’re going down; nope we’re still going up!” It brought a welcome smile to my face, because for me that was it. Life is filled with awe and wonder and I have simply been blind to it as of late.
What is Hutchmoot? It’s hard to say, but for me it was a great eye exam and I came out with a new prescription!