Two weeks ago on a West coast trip from VA — I had the inestimable privilege to visit the Arrowhead Hill Texas venue we built an hour north of Houston, now up and running, free of the pandemic, and permeated with breathtaking beauty. I only put up 20 pictures here of the 180 or so I took… (one of the reasons I went to visit was that I could not get any pictures of the finished venue portion… so what the heck — I went and took a slew myself)
Arriving there — John and Donna graciously piled me into their John Deere ATV and we took a two hour night tour — replete with awe, gasps, wonder — and yes — lots of tears.
Having lived there almost nine months during the build (August 2019 – April 2020), it was more like coming home, but finding home better than I could have imagined or dreamed.
The building reflects above everything else their pouring their entire hearts into this marathon building journey — and inviting me to guide a part of the process as a trusted partner. Needless to say — no one deserves such an honor when two people are 110% committed to their life’s work — but I got to work with them, entrusted with their hopes and dreams.
I have rarely met two people I respect so much — and with whom I developed this level of intimacy founded on a common goal with the stakes as high as they could be. They spared nothing on any level to bring this to life — including bringing a bunch of people in our small company from Vermont (David, Ryan & George, and Casey from Virginia) to shepherd the process and put the Geobarn together with the best crew I ever had the pleasure to meet, train and run. We raised the shells in record time (upper beam installed on a 128′ x 40′ Geobarn in just a week!)
As expected — Donna’s inimitable sense of aesthetics drove the beauty bus — occasionally crashing into some spirited arguments with me — always resulting in better outcomes –unavailable to either of us individually before entering those dialectical firefights — producing all they did.
We reflected with a bit of awe how the close working relationship allowed for this healthy tension to get us to the only place we wanted to go — which was a magnificent work of art building project – -which none of us could ever hope to do on our own. John — with his calm heart and prescient mind — was the chief executor/GC of the project. Rarely have I worked with a more competent and gracious client, who knew how to run multiple events and keep the runaway train on the tracks…. well over 30,000 square feet of project finished in under a year, to be exact….
There are already multiple stories in their as of yet short history… of brides showing up and canceling the rest of their tour to other venues knowing they would never come close to Arrowhead Hill… of bursting into tears in the chapel and immediately changing from an outdoor wedding to indoors there… or traveling from other states thousands of miles with their entire party to spend a weekend at Arrowhead Hill re-acquainting with long distance friends and relatives, singing in the chapel and watching everyone present dissolve into tears at the beauty of the moment.
As lovely and magnificent as the structures are — it is the generous hearts of the Whittleman family and the life-celebrating events that occur here that make this a sacred place — for which we give God humble thanks.