In the Woody Allen film Midnight in Paris, you walk away from the story feeling like you’ve woken up from a dream. Eyes not quite adjusted to daylight yet, ears still mesmerized by the nightclub jazz piano and the murmuring of party-goers, you find yourself blinking and a bit disoriented as you step outside again.
That’s kind of what the week after Hutchmoot feels like.
The hardest thing about leaving Hutchmoot, The Rabbit Room’s annual conference, is “re-entry” to normal life – a life comprised of a million little moments affectionately known as the daily grind. After feasting on such an extravagant outpouring of beauty, community, and art for four long days, it’s only natural to feel a bit of separation anxiety from the connections made with old and new friends. From the first taste of BBQ chicken, there’s something in the air I can’t put my finger on that resounds true deep inside. And yet, a huge part of this “something” was a longing for what I knew couldn’t be fully satisfied at Hutchmoot.
This sensation was so strong I fell apart in my Airbnb on the second night, crying like I had just watched the last scene in Return of the King.
On Saturday night, author Diana Glyer talked about the idea of sympathetic resonance in her session on creative collaboration. Sympathetic resonance is described by Wikipedia as “a harmonic phenomenon wherein a formally passive string or vibratory body responds to external vibrations to which it has a harmonic likeness.” This is a pretty cool picture of what it feels like to come to Hutchmoot. As solitary people, we stumble through the doors on Day 1, bringing our gifts and insecurities, and by the final afternoon, we’ve reached a deeper sort of harmony that sounds a lot like the Doxology.
This brings us to the word of the week at Hutchmoot – resonators.
Resonators are people who are caught up in a kindred vision and encourage you toward dreams the world sees as foolish. Resonators look like the people sitting next to you at the dining table; they look like your mom, or the Holy Spirit. They provoke you toward love and good deeds and whisper, “Don’t you dare give up meeting together, as some have done.”
In chapter two of Bandersnatch: C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and the Creative Collaboration of the Inklings, Glyer includes a letter written by Lewis to his good friend, Charles Williams:
“A book sometimes crosses one’s path which is so like the sound of ones native language in a strange country that it feels almost uncivil not to wave some kind of flag in answer. I have just read your Place of the Lion, and it is to me one of the major literary events of my life.”
“Yes!” my spirit shouted when I read this. This familiar language is why I feel compelled to reach out to those whose art or faith move me in ways I can’t describe. This weekend, it’s why I needed to introduce myself to Heidi Johnston or snap a photo with Diana Glyer or find Andrew Peterson downstairs to personally tell him thank you. As little and insignificant as any of those things were, they were my white flags, my wild “yes, yes, yes” that just couldn’t remain inside.
All these resonators encouraged me toward creativity, community, and the mission of bringing the resonance of Hutchmoot into my own little sphere of the world. It isn’t easy. We all want to move to Nashville. Or Oxford. We all want to linger in the candlelight of dinner, held under the great white Bilbo Baggins birthday tent. But real life calls us to be faithful in bringing this light into our own pocket of the world for the possible joy of being a resonator to someone else.
One of the songs on the Moot Music mix tape was by the band Carrollton, and it instantly pierced me, leaving a wake of gratitude for the good I’ve seen God do in my life:
I seem to live in valleys
where death is always waiting
for me to come home.
I am a wandering soul
No place for me to ever call my own
Nowhere to lay my head
Oh, you have found me
You took my heart and you breathed in life
Oh, you’ve always known me
You took my darkest days and brought me light
We join with heaven’s chorus
With those who’ve gone before us
They’re singing death has lost its way
This new life is exactly what I felt driving to the airport with the lyrics of Carrollton blowing through the open rental car windows. These trips to Nashville remind me that my entire life is a special gift of a journey, one that I can’t fully control and one that I must return back at the end — just like my little silver rental car (that I just realized I forgot to name).
So, my challenge is to bring the resonance of this weekend back home to California. And I am learning to be thankful.
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