As twilight sparkled behind the Tennessee hill, I thought I saw a Union soldier cresting its top. It was either a lantern or a light catching the eye of a deer. Either way, I wanted no part of it. If there were even the possibility of an enemy unit I knew my life was about to be in danger. So, when I was a Civil War soldier, I held my breath, didn’t move a muscle, and kept my good eye fixed on the top of the hill as the re:create twilight turned to night.
Actually, this was just last week. I was at the re:create conference in Franklin, Tennessee. Each evening we came out of the venue to take a breather or head somewhere for dinner. And when we did, I looked at the twilight twinkling behind that stately Franklin hill and imagined I had been living 140 years earlier. I couldn’t help but wonder what it must have been like to be sitting there staring off into the distance, keeping my guard up, wondering whether this night might be my last.
I think my imagination was running wild because the re:create conference gave me permission to do just that. It was so refreshing to spend a good four days with speakers, musicians, artists, and fellow Christian creatives who didn’t judge, who threw the floodgates of art wide open, who genuinely cared for one another. We were treated to amazing live musical performances of all different kinds. Listened and learned from world class speakers. Spent ample time discussing our art (and church practice), and even got to see a phenomenal Christian “illusionist.”
The purpose of re:create is to “encourage, refresh, and diffuse.” The encouragement came not only from speakers at the podium, it came from friends across the table. The refreshment came not only from songs filled our hearts with grace and our mouths with praise, it came through late night conversations with kindred spirits. The diffusion came not only as we sat in small groups discussing “take aways” from masterful talks, it came in quiet times early in the morning as we reflected on all that had taken place.
I was encouraged and refreshed by live music from the likes of Phil Madeira, Water and Rust, Graham Kendrick, Melissa Greene, and Amy Stroup. Live music, like nothing else, brings a happy calm to my soul. I was lost in so many moments, as I took in the masterful artistry and the compelling lyrics.
It’s no wonder that when I walked out into the twilight my imagination ran wild and I was free to be a Civil War soldier.
Now it’s time to diffuse all that I experienced and use it to practice my art in my time and at my place in life. In my vocation I will be a greater artist because of what I experienced at re:create ’13.
When was the last time you allowed your imagination to run wild? What did you envision?