Hutchmoot 2012 — Day 1 So Many Rabbits
Thursday afternoon and it is around 530 PM. My son, Sean and I can smell the wondrous aroma of dinner wafting up the stairs from the basement of Redeemer Church. We were sitting in the sanctuary with 184 other people attending the 2012 Hutchmoot. I watched as Andrew Peterson smiled and looked out over the crowd. He welcomed us and then said something that in any other creative conference in the world would be a sign that we are all in big trouble. “Welcome to Hutchmoot. I’m not sure what is going to happen but here we are.”
Yeah, Hutchmoot is like that. Well planned and well co-ordinated thanks to the ever awesome hard work of Pete Peterson. But, exactly what each person is going to take away from the conference is uncertain. At least to us. Not uncertain to the One who spoke the world into existence, the One who holds the universe together, the One whose Story is unfolding all around us, the One who invites us to be a part of that Story.
An hour before my son and I left the hotel for the conference I received the email I had been dreading. One of my current publishers was “releasing” me from my contract. Just an hour away from the most wondrous creative conference of the year and I get this bad news.
But, you know what I thought? Instantly, I knew that God had something very specific to reveal to me through Hutchmoot. God is in control. This was no surprise to him. In fact, this development was the next plot point in my story. He wrote it. My job was to play my part as truthfully and as faithfully to the Author as I could. So, it was with heavy heart and a growing sense of depression that Sean and I set out for Redeemer Church for the opening of Hutchmoot 2012. The dark clouds were gathering and blotting out the shining light of the sun that I had hoped would illuminate the next four days. I felt my world contracting and squeezing down, pressing in on me with the bitter oppressive realization that my Dream was dying. Twelve years of hard work culminating in a five book contract were now a total and complete waste. God, where are you? Why?
I was understandably subdued at the most excellent dinner Evie had concocted for all of her “so many rabbits!”. Sean and I sat outside under the tent at an empty table waiting for others to join us. No one joined us. I guessed it was for the best. I wasn’t very good company. But, it gave Sean and I a chance to talk for over an hour. He lives in Austin, Texas and I live in Shreveport, Louisiana. We seldom get to see each other and already the past twenty four hours together had been fantastic. Now, Sean sensed the need to comfort his father. And, I sensed the need to pull out of my funk and make the time we had together the best it could be. The food helped.
That evening, Hutchmoot 2012 kicked off with one of my favorite events. The Square Peg Alliance, the alliance of independently minded singers and songwriters that Sean and I had grown to love performed for us. It was a totally random, unplugged affair filled with gaffs and laughter and wonderfully real performances. As the songs filled the air and swirled around us, I felt my mood lightening. Just a bit. It wasn’t the end of the world. Things would get better. I would move on with my books. God was in control.
I slipped outside for a moment to call my wife, Sherry. She was in Chattanooga staying with friends of ours. I had told her briefly about the email and we talked for a while as I wandered around in the still, cool night outside of Redeemer Church. I went back inside and sat on the back row. In the row in front of me were Andrew Peterson’s three children. His two sons sat at the end of the row listening with intense concentration to the music. His youngest daughter, Skye was stretched out on the seats with her head in her mother’s lap. She was the typical young girl, twitchy, bubbly, moving all around, staring at the ceiling, mouthing words, perhaps even bored? Andrew Peterson took the stage to sing us the last song of the night. He asked if Skye was in the room.
I watched in wonder as Skye’s eyes lit up and she sprang up from the seats with childlike energy. She bounded up the aisle to the stage. She joined her father to sing a song. She joined her father! I suddenly saw a ray of hope. I was here with my son. And, Andrew Peterson would be singing a song from his latest album “Light for the Lost Boy” about a son and his father. Suddenly, a framework appeared, suddenly the plot thickened, suddenly I saw that God had planned all of this. I was here with my son for a reason. All was not lost. I was not wandering through the misty woods alone.
And then, Skye and her father sang a song, a powerful and yet simple song, The Voice of Jesus. Moments before, Skye had been the typical energy filled, mind wandering child but now she was focused and engaged and sang with the voice of a child in perfect harmony these incredible words:
I know you’ve been afraid
Don’t know what to do
You’ve been lost in the questions
I don’t know what to say
I’m sure if I were you
I’d proceed with some caution
But I want you to know
When the joy that you feel
Leaves a terrible ache in your bones
It’s the voice of Jesus
Calling you back home
I know you’ve got a lot
Spinning in your head
All this emptiness fills you
Maybe you could try
Laying in your bed
To ask the silence to still you
And you might hear a beat
On the door of your heart
When you do, let it open up wide
It’s the voice of Jesus
Calling you his bride
Once upon a time there was a little boy
Who wandered the forest, abandoned
And he heard in the leaves
And behind every tree
The sound of a secret companion
So listen, little girl,
Somewhere there’s a King
Who will love you forever
And nothing in the world
Could ever come between
You, my love, and this Lover
So when I kiss you at night
And I turn out the light
And I tell you you’re never alone
It’s the voice of Jesus
It’s the voice of Jesus
Calling you his own
There it was. The refrain for my first day, closing up my depression and despair into a simple realization that I am not alone and although I am now wandering through the woods, if I stop and gaze carefully into the fog and mist and listen with intense concentration I can hear the voice of Jesus calling me His own.
After the concert, Sean and I hung around and met four guys from San Diego and bless his heart, Ryan lifted my spirits to the heavens. We talked for about thirty minutes just standing there in the aisle while the singers broke down their instruments. Ryan, you will never know what that conversation meant to me! Never! You helped me refocus and repurpose Hutchmoot. Jesus was speaking and I needed to listen.
Just a reminder that I still have a few books left for the free giveaway of “The 13th Demon: Altar of the Spiral Eye” in preparation for the release of “The 12th Demon: Mark of the Wolf Dragon” on October 16, 2012. If you want a free book just fill out the form below and there is no obligation.
Posted on September 27, 2012, in Breaking News, My Writing, Steel Chronicles and tagged Andrew Peterson, Christian fiction, Depression, Hutchmoot, Light for the Lost Boy. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.
Bruce! Oh how I wish I’d known earlier that you were a sci-fi fan (and author no less!) Are your books still available for purchase? And if so, what’s the best way to order?
Look under the “order” section on my webpage — brucehennigan.com. The first book is out and available as an ebook and in bookstores. In fact, if you’ll email me your address through the “contact” section I’ll send you a free promotional copy of book 1. Book 2 comes out in 2 1/2 weeks. It was great to meet you and talk with you.
Bruce, I am undeservedly honored by your words! I am so glad that I was able to talk with you and get to know both you and your son Sean. I am even more delighted to hear that Jesus used me to speak to you as you had need. Such an honor is too great to comprehend, but gratefully accepted. I look forward to reading the book you gave me, and will be sure to let you know! Blessings upon your future authorial endeavors.
Your words are so kind. Isn’t it strange how God can use what we think are our casual moments; our chance meetings to speak the very words someone else needs to hear. You blessed us both just by being you. Thanks!
Oops! I just realized I put this note in your forms section and not the blog comments. Here it is where it should be!
It’s always encouraging to hear how God has used a song in such a special way to one person, a way completely different to how He uses it for another. I love that! I’m glad my sister, Carrie, and I got to meet you and Sean briefly over one of those marvelous meals. I’ll be looking up your work! Praying that God will help you rest in Him as He shows you your next steps.
You are so sweet! Thanks for remembering us. I enjoyed talking to you and your sister. And, yes, God spoke through you and through the songs! Blessings!
Ooops…put my comment in the wrong place.
I too came to Hutchmoot broken, but left feeling patched up and whole again. Like your conversation with Ryan, it was those small conversations, hugs from friends only met through the magic of the internet, pats on the back, and warm smiles that did wonders for my heart. So many did so much, without ever knowing they did anything at all. Love this. Thank you for sharing.
Isn’t it amazing when God is IN something, like Hutchmoot, He gives us just what we need! I think we were all “little lost boys (girls)” and our Secret Companion was waiting for us at Hutchmoot!