Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Hutchmoot Story

It takes a whole lot for me to want to resurrect this blog, if only for a while. Hutchmoot'll do that to a guy, I guess. The funny thing is, while all of the Mooters are telling their stories about how they were affected... nah, let's say changed, over the weekend, I'd just like to tell a small story about a thing that very few people saw or even heard about. It's a story about a few Hutch-heroes, none of whom would want to be named, so I'll keep 'em anonymous. I've renamed them too, cause it's more fun that way.

This is a story about selflessness and love, about pain (the literal kind) and healing (also literal). It's really a story about the kind of people that are drawn to the Hutchmoot in the first place. Our story takes place while most of you were enjoying Phil Vischer's talk (which I heard was fantastic). While Mr. Vischer was killing dreams, something else was going on in the church. This'll be in the third person. In fact, let's do this from a divine perspective, want to? I'll steal the first two sentences from the great Jack Butler and his novel "Living in Little Rock With Miss Little Rock." Thanks, Jack. It's not "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," but it's close.


Howdy, I'm the Holy Ghost. Talk about your omniscient narrators.

So it was Friday. Or maybe it was Saturday. The days of the week thing is difficult for me, you understand. Strictly a human construct. Anyway, it was one of those things and it was the evening and I'd been drawn to this place that I love in a little part of Nashville. I'm there all the time, of course (you guys talk about omnipresence in class, right?), but sometimes I've got a little more reason to be paying attention to a thing. And I just couldn't stay away from the Church of the Redeemer that week. There was so much of the Father's business being done that I was all over that building (yes, I saw when you did that thing. I still love you.).

The body of Christ (understand that when I use that phrase, I don't use it lightly) had gathered in the sanctuary to learn some things from a wise man. It's funny how sometimes We put the wisest words in the mouths of the people that love speaking to children. It's rare that I find adults who will listen. This is two years in a row for Hutchmooters and I am pleased. Anyhoo, while most of the body was learning from the sage, there were other events afoot in the house part of the church.

Sometimes, over the best food, the most amazing things happen (just a reminder here - We didn't have to make the food thing mandatory. But aren't you glad We did? Just wait until you taste the real stuff.). Hearts are healed, dignities are restored, and love wins. But even when the best food causes a man to choke, I'm still there, and those things can still happen.

One of your Hutchmooters, a guy I'll call Donald (after one of my favorite human writers, Donald Harington), ate a piece of the finest pork loin this side of the wedding feast and it went down the wrong tube. Now, I could give the specifics of what happened there, but they don't really add to the story, and the doctors have to earn their paychecks somehow, right? So Donald basically inhaled some pork and as happens when you inhale food instead of air (or pipe smoke - good on ya, by the way, Hutchmoot pipe smokers), Donald couldn't breathe very well.

Well, two amazing humans that I'll call Courtney and Bob saw Donald's distress and did the best thing they could think to do - pray with him. Now, before you stop me to say something stupid like "Why didn't they call an ambulance right away" or "Why didn't they do the Heimlich," please understand that he wasn't so bad off yet, just really uncomfortable. In fact, if you could get a Great Physician on the case at the very beginning of the problem, wouldn't you? As it turns out, they could only think to do that because they'd learned well. And their prayers were honored. Closeness to the Father will do that, you know. Pay attention.

Well, Donald got worse. He sat on the couch in the living room and couldn't hardly breathe at all. So Courtney, being the caring sort, ran for help and hollered at the first person she found, a no goodnik named Tuck. Tuck, despite generally seeming to be a guy who knows what he's doing (although that's rarely actually true), freaked out a little bit and went up. Not like Courtney and Bob... Tuck actually went upstairs (his insides flipping like a Lewis Graham pancake) and requested the assistance of Father Benjamin. Since Tuck wasn't from around those parts, he figured (rightly) that the right Reverend Benjamin would instantly know what to do. Benjamin was cool and composed, even a little snarky. The two of them raced back down the stairs to where Donald was waiting. Benjamin assessed the situation, and sent Tuck running back to the sanctuary to retrieve Donald's amiga, Doris.

Tuck raced back down the hall, all-stars flopping all the way, and burst into the filled room (ok, to be fair, he really didn't 'burst.' 'Slunk' maybe. Yeah, let's go with 'slunk.') to look for Doris, not an easy task when all the faithful are gathered and faces can't be easily registered. So again, he enlisted help - this time from a guy I'll call Thorin (want to? that's such an awesome name, right? It's so perfect for this guy, too, although he probably thinks of himself as a Dori, Ori, or Nori). Thorin helped Tuck locate Doris and the three of them awayed to the living room. They returned to find Donald, still in distress, along with a doctor (unnamed in this story, but a hero nonetheless), Courtney, Bob, Benjamin, and a new hero that we'll call Roy. Roy has a big part to play in this story, but truthfully, nobody even noticed he was there. And so, this little Fellowship had assembled, although none realized yet the respective parts each had to play.

The good doctor had prescribed an aspirin for Donald (I know what you're thinking, but trust Me, this doctor is no dummy). Thorin took control of the situation, decided that the emergency room was in order and that there was nobody better to take Donald than himself, requisitioned a vehicle from Tuck, and made ready the battle plan. Doris would call Donald's wife to apprise her of the situation. Tuck would get the ride ready. The others would assist Donald to the car. Benjamin would lift up Donald to the Father before the assembled body.

The car was provided (a blue minivan, natch), Donald, Doris, and Thorin mounted up, and they rode away. Tuck returned to the lobby to hear a bit of wisdom through the little black speaker box. Benjamin ascended to his office to prepare what he would say. The others made their way back to the sanctuary. Except Roy. He hung around. "You never know," he thought (well, I do, but you don't)...

Unbeknownst to Tuck, Roy, and the rest; the minivan was making an about face. The intrepid trio returned quickly from their journey, bearers of good news. It seemed that after a few minutes in the car, Donald was feeling better. The combo of Bob and Courtney's prayer and the good doctor's aspirin had him on the mend and the ER was no longer deemed necessary. But, Donald still wasn't back to his normal self, so Tuck and Roy decided to stay with him... just to be sure he wouldn't be alone (and really, what's a better picture of Me than that?) Tuck went back to the minivan for a blanket and Donald stretched out on the couch. A mysterious beauty named Vivienne appeared from nowhere and delivered some water to Donald. And then, since breath had been found, the three men, Donald, Tuck, and Roy, talked. (Ever notice that the words in the Bible for Spirit and breath are the same thing? I'm just sayin') They talked about their lives and how they had come to be at the Hutchmoot. They talked about their families. They talked about missing the wise man (Tuck was never one for speeches, Donald wished he could be in there, and Roy never missed a beat - for him it was enough to be present where he was). After awhile it was decided that Donald was well enough to go to the lobby and listen via the lobby speaker. The three men ventured there and sat. Tuck got busy, doing something that seemed important, but wasn't. But Roy never left Donald's side. They stayed that way, the two of them, talking about nothing, but always talking about Us, until the wise man emerged from the sanctuary and their reverie was over.

The story ends there. No magical happy ending. Did Roy and Donald become lifelong friends? It would be cheating to tell you. A life is a long time, and those stories are yet to be written down. But I will say this: even if the two men never see each other again, they won't forget this story. And when they're reunited one day, they'll remember this story fondly. And the rest of the small Fellowship will wander over and laugh together. And they'll say, "Man... wasn't that pork loin amazing?"

So be sure to note, reader, that a Fellowship doesn't have to have an axe, a sword, and a bow. An aspirin, a glass of water, a minivan, and a prayer will usually do just fine. Blessings upon blessings to Courtney, Bob, Tuck, Thorin, Benjamin, Vivienne, the good doctor, Donald, and Roy. You all played your parts to perfection. When the Son says things like "You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect," these are the kind of things He had in mind. Well done.



Kristen Peterson said...

John, this is beautiful, and all the moreso because it is true.

Shaunaruth said...

Such a fun way to tell that story! Thanks, John. Well done.

Brenda Branson said...

John, this is amazing on so many levels--the story telling, the events that transpired, the unlikely heroes, and the heavenly perspective. I'll bet if there are heavenly news channels in God's realm, this is exactly how the news about earthlings would be reported. Awesome!

Pellissippi Lodge 230 said...
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Greener Trees said...

John - This was great. It left me wondering how many other untold stories were being written over the weekend. We only see in part, don't we? So glad to see you and your lovely wife again.