Hutchmoot 2012

by Tricia Prinzi on September 27, 2012

Oh, the power of all the right words in the right order. Hutchmoot unfolded like liturgy, building in beauty and meaning. With each session, each conversation, each story flowed into the next. I arrived like a ghost coming from the Grey town and I left solid, more connected to the truth.

I thank God for giving me the courage to be myself, to be honest, for allowing myself to be seen. Connection is only possible if we all drop our masks.

A word on masks in church: “How are you this week?” “Fine, how are you?” These words are like death to me. “The Lord is so good and I am so blessed.” We lie, but with the truth. We talk about the light without the dark. We smile and we hide. It’s too risky to reveal intense feelings and, besides, we only have a few minutes anyway, right? Sure, we feel sad when others feel sad, and we can rejoice in their excitement and joy. But, rolling up the sleeves and engaging in someone else’s emotions can be messy. It’s inefficient. And it can be painful, kicking up our own shit. We avoid it, even when it’s what we need more than anything. Why do we do that?

But, OH. Hutchmoot. The mask, and with it the distance, was gone. We were in relationship already, sharing meals, inspired words, beautiful moments, and “feeling felt.”

“Feeling felt” is what attachment in relationships is all about. When a mother looks into her daughter’s eyes, mirrors her movements and coos when she coos, that is feeling felt. Having the sense that someone else feels your feelings and is able to respond with warmth and acceptance is vital to our wellness. We share states of being, which magnify positive, enjoyable emotions. I felt felt this weekend.

You gave me hope, friends. You kept pointing back to God over and over, telling me that I don’t have to try harder or do better. I don’t have to pretend to have it together. No matter what, I am loved, always. God uses me in spite of my weaknesses, and sometimes, perhaps, because of them.

Speaking of weaknesses, here’s one. I have a hard time engaging in play with my children. I’ve always felt deficient when it comes to my imagination. I am insecure about that aspect of my parenting. The truth is, I didn’t get much practice at playing as a kid. I know that imaginative play is like a vaccination against disenchantment with life, that being part of a good story lifts us out and above our sorrow. I want to give that to my kids, but it’s hard to give what you’ve never had.

I remember listening to Little Boy Heart Alive for the first time. It made me so sad that there were no secret gates in my childhood, beyond which waited an adventure. Sure, I walked in the woods and I rode my bike. But I was afraid and preoccupied, not treading the dawn. There were few stories in my house to help me transcend the day. My role from an early age was practical, dutiful. I never saddled my battle horse and took up my sword.

I didn’t visit Neverland as a child because my parents hadn’t either. My daughter told me, “Don’t worry, Mama. I’ll teach you how to be a princess.” I am so grateful to be finding the joy of play with my children. I am finding it in this community; among people who aren’t afraid to say that they long for more, for imagination, for adventure. But rather than escaping into “grown up” oblivion, you are courageous enough to lose yourselves in a story.

It brings tears to my eyes when I imagine a glimpse of the gate that leads us out of the curse and toward home. I will run into the open arms of my Father, who has loved me with such tenderness and patience. He knows, just as I know when I watch my children, that some of this isn’t our fault. We’re broken, not just bad. We vibrate with creativity, but are stilled by the shadow of the fall. Our light is dimmed, our laughter stopped short with self-consciousness. Like Andrew said, we know in our bones something isn’t right. We are hounded by restlessness, an endless ache.

But still we will give thanks for this.

“And when the world is new again
And the children of the King
Are ancient in their youth again
Maybe it’s a better thing
A better thing

To be more than merely innocent
But to be broken then redeemed by love
Maybe this old world is bent
But it’s waking up
And I’m waking up

‘Cause I can hear the voice of one
He’s crying in the wilderness
“Make ready for the Kingdom Come.”

Don’t you want to thank someone for this?

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Gina September 27, 2012 at 11:50 pm

Gosh, thanks for saying all of that, Tricia. I feel some of those same things, especially about playing with my kids. Thank you for keeping it real. Our time together at HM has always been too brief, but I have enjoyed it so. Sunday worship and lunch have been highlights for me these past two years.


2 carrie luke September 28, 2012 at 9:38 am

Holy Schnanigans, Tricia. That was just beautiful. There are few things that cause me to slow down while reading them. Few writings that I read more slowly taking in each word because the experience is more lovely than finishing. This was one of those such pieces. :)


3 Peter B September 28, 2012 at 10:58 am

“Don’t worry, Mama. I’ll teach you how to be a princess.”

I almost cried when reading this (but didn’t, because I’m a man, you know). I suffer from this same affliction, and it tears at me that I am often too self-conscious (or just dead-minded) to jump in with both feet when my kids want to play. Finding Dave Trout in “robot mode” with Ellis Peters this weekend was a wake-up call to get OUT of myself and think more about these precious little ones than about my own insecurities.


4 tricia September 28, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Gina: Keeping it real is my specialty! I’m sort of allergic to small talk. (Although, there are people who think this is annoying. I’ve been told on more than one occasion, “You’re too much! Settle down!”) But, I digress. I think you’re pretty great (and funny and smart) and would love to know you better. Already looking forward to chatting you up next year. Carrie: Thank you for the encouragement. It was lovely to meet you. You are so energetic and inquisitive! I felt inspired talking with you. Peter: Here’s to a renewed effort to being fully present with our kids! (I may need to be reminded tomorrow). Let the wild rumpus begin!


5 Ashley October 1, 2012 at 7:24 am


Thank you for sharing this. Sophie’s line of, “Don’t worry, Mama. I’ll teach you how to be a princess,” tears me up. I sort of feel like Hutchmoot is that kind of thing…learning how to be a princess/prince/knight/hero. We do these things by opening up, letting others speak into our lives, being unafraid to share. Thanks for letting me do that with you Saturday. Your words to me were a profound kindness.

Thank you.


6 Chris Whitler October 1, 2012 at 11:53 pm

Holy smokes. I really need to process Hutchmoot. It’s been hard for me to explain to people. I haven’t had the words. You gave me some here. Thanks.


7 Allison October 2, 2012 at 8:20 am

Tricia! That was glorious! The line about walking in as a ghost and coming out alive…YES. I had to leave my mask at the door and it was hard. And Sophie’s line just about killed me! Because even though I was imaginative in my childhood, I was usualky by myself or maybe with one friend. Now that I have a houseful of 3 imaginative, inquisitive boys I have to MAKE myself play with them. It’s good for my soul, too, to get lost in wonder. But I don’t always remember. Thank you for this wake-up call! I’m waking up!


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