Monday, August 16, 2010

Hutchmoot in the 2nd chair

Saturday of HM-MX was many things. It's hard to find the right words to describe it. I started with awesome. Nice, but not quite the right word. I then moved to providential. Upon further thinking that is more fitting for the entire weekend and not just Saturday. I've since settled on transformational. This is all of Saturday, not just Hutchmoot.

Saturday had the option for two of three discussion sessions. I settled into "Perfected in Weakness" and "The Immersed Imagination". "Perfected" had some thinkers, lovers and writers of stories layout the power of a story with the anti-hero. Much of the discussion was about the "common guy" and the flawed characters in the story.
I doubt the speakers realized it, but there was a passing comment (paraphrased):
Once the character is established it has to remain true to itself or the story doesn't hold. In life people tend to avoid conflict, but life is scary. Conflict happens and can be good.

My gut stirred, it might have been indigestion but it ended up something more.

The next session was "Immersed Imagination". This focused more on the works of CS Lewis & George MacDonald who went far with creative stories. I think I've settled on analogy of painting by number; definitions make the lines, but stories give the color. These two authors were masters at telling the Truth with story. And telling the Story with truth. So my pickup line from this (again paraphrased & mentally processed):
The Jesus in the story is transformational. A story can move you from A to B, but to be transformational, it takes the incarnation of Christ. Him entering into you and changing you.

Yup, not indigestion.

Without getting into nitty-gritty details, I was not living this way at my core. I had a narrow range of how much conflict I would allow and beyond that I would emotionally shut down to limit the damage. Whether the damage was simply to my pride, my emotions or my image; I shut down. I squirmed out of big conflicts. This is not a good way to live. It's especially tough on a marriage. The person I should be the most open with was the one I was limiting the most. In shutting down to avoid the bad I also shut down the other end. There was no joy (and growth) from resolved conflict.

After getting to my room at my gracious hosts' home there was about a 2hr phone conversation to layout how screwed up I've been by trying to avoid conflict; & I was done lying to myself and people around me. Small white lies but they build strong walls. I will only relate how screwed up I've been. Transformation for me, Becky, and our marriage. Not just moving from A to B, but changing from old to new.

What that looks like? I don't know, but I like it so far, and like figuring it out.

Becky & I have had more and deeper conversations in the subsequent week than in the previous 15+ years of marriage and dating. The world seems sunnier but really it's just truer to its natural colors.

The word "providential" keeps coming to my mind to describe the entire weekend. There were MANY mis-steps and truth nuggets that wove together to take each of us to an entirely new place. And some blessings overflowed into other lives too.

mmm...Providence. I'm still chewing on the meat and staying full.


  1. Dan, this was amazing. Thanks for posting it! I LOVE the painting by number analogy. Wow.

  2. I think you're very brave to be so open about this. :)

  3. That is raw bro, thanks for sharing your heart. I've spent the last 10 years wrestling with this sort of idea. John Eldredge spoke at our men's retreat in 1999 and just cut me open in a fashion like the one you've described. Since then, I've had that occur more often -- a peeling back of pride and self-deceit. Most recently, I was invited to take part in an experience that put language to what I’d been grappling with. It came courtesy of the good folk at Wellspring Group. A lot of our church leadership is going through this process and I have to say its really impacting our hearts in a deep and rich way. Check it out: Whether they are your cup of tea or not, I pray you stay with this current desire of yours as it sounds awesome!