Monday, September 17, 2012

Fire Lights a Still Wick

“Anticipation is half the joy.” – My Granny, Margaret Sharkey

When I began the official Countdown to Hutchmoot 2012, I had over 200 days to go.  Now, finally, in 2 days, the countdown will be complete, and I and two of my closest friends will start the drive to Nashville, Tennessee.
Painting by Jan Jagoor, 17th Century
In truth, we have anticipated this trip for over 8 months, ever since Sara proposed the idea.  Now that the time has come, I feel such an energy, peace, and readiness to go!  Like Proverbs13:12b says, “A longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”  Its very sweetness has been propelling me through these last few days, in a dreamy flow of purchases, packing, and last minute details.

But you may be wondering, “What on earth is a Hutch-what?”

Well, I’ve never been to one, but I know it is a conglomeration of artists – painters, writers, singers, actors, dreamers – all captivated by the vibrant truth and glory of God, and all of whom are dedicated to expressing this truth and glory in the arts.  The community formed only a few years ago around a blog dubbed The Rabbit Room, named after the corner in The Eagle and Child, the pub where C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, and the other Inklings met weekly to share and discuss their current work.  These artists will be meeting for 4 days at Church of the Redeemer in Nashville for discussion, fellowship, concerts, and sessions with a few honored guest speakers.  Hutchmoot exists because these artists found such life and community through the blog that they decided online interaction wasn’t enough – they determined to convene in the first long weekend of fellowship and discussion in Fall 2010.

Little did I know two years ago in 2010 that this blog or group of people even existed!  I had just been out of college a few months, and had no idea engaging in anything bookish for at least a few more months.  If fact, I feel a little bit like a trespasser even now, for I have not participated in the online community, and did not even know it existed until last January.  I’ve spend the last few months catching up, however, and reading what feels like a wealth of poignant essays on life, art, joy, holiness, God, the maturing process, worldview, storytelling, and deep friendships – with a little bit of healthy whimsy thrown into the mix.  It has been phenomenally refreshing!  The blog displays such a kinship of people who share the vision of art in its truest form, radiant and sanctified.

I do not even know if I can express my tremendous anticipation of this time to be quiet, be among good fellowship, to soak in the glorious views of nature (I hear there will be hiking, woods, and wildlife around the home where we will stay, about 20 minutes outside of Nashville!), to dwell on art and learning, and to set aside time from my unpredictable schedule to spend some long, quiet hours with the Lord.  Additionally, Sara wisely proposed that after Hutchmoot, we drive a little further into Tennessee, into the heart of the beautiful mountains and forests, to spend a few days in a mountain home.  Once there, we will have no agenda, and no rush. 

Can I just say…I CAN’T WAIT!  I am so excited for this time of getting away!  So excited, I almost want to start planning and dreaming and making to-do lists for these days away – but I realize that is exactly what I don’t want to do.  Not this time.  This is a time for un-planned, lovely hours of quietness with the Lord, with my journal, and with my two dear friends.  So often, I am charged with the energies of efficiency, productivity, activities, deadlines, and timelines, that I find it hard to still my heart before the Lord.  And it is in that still place where I hear His voice, and where I find my own.  So much of art, for me, flows out of my soul only when it stills and softens, becoming quiet and receptive.

I was talking with the Lord earlier today about Hutchmoot, and I felt like He was gently filling me with this vision for the trip, saying:

     Be quiet. 
     Be still. 
     Nothing has to happen. 
     Just us.
     Feel my presence.
     Ask for revelation of what to do.
     Love the land. 
     Soak it up. 
     This will become a part of your memory cache. 
     Go slowly. 
     Take in time, textures, color, and words.

Candlelight Study by Ozias Leduc
That thought captured my attention!  I love the flickering, warm light of a candle, and when I light the ones around my home, I find that I have great trouble getting the wick to catch the flame if I have forgotten to turn off the ceiling fans.  Even guarding the candle with my palm is often not enough to coax the little thing to catch.  So I turn off the fans, re-light the match, and the candle will finally do what it was made to do: shine.  In my own life, I am sometimes busy with a full schedule, but other times, when my calendar is more balanced, I often have a heart that is still busy with thoughts and plans and tasks and impressions.  How much like a wind it all is, keeping me going and moving and fluttery and even insensitive, sometimes, to the needs of others or the gentle voice of the Spirit – almost like a candle that won’t light.  I felt God gently encouraging me to cultivate a quiet soul, and the ability to turn off the “internal wind” like I turn off the fan switch, so He can light a new fire within me during this week.
So I have no idea what this weekend will be like, but I’m ready to embrace every moment, and drink it all in!  I know, first and foremost, that my own Maker goes before me, beside me, and behind me, and I’m listening to His voice within me.  And that is always the best part.

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