Mr. and Mrs. Butt’s thoughtful touches are evident all over the Canyon. Walking through the facilities with the Butts was an adventure, a blessing and always an education. They taught us how attention to the details is so important to our guests’ experiences. Things like how a lamp shade hangs, how extension cords should be placed to be out of sight, how the grounds should look natural and cared for but not manicured, how keeping cobwebs swept down, paint touched up, dripping faucets and loose door knobs attended to was so important. They taught us that cleanliness is a strong statement of hospitality, that a sense of order communicates care for the place and for the individual. They taught us that new roads and signs distract from the natural environment and should be kept to the minimum. Nothing was too small, no detail was too small, not to matter.
They taught us that excellence is in the details. That each detail, no matter how small it might seem to us, has the potential to affect our guest’s retreat experience. We might not know which detail or which guest may be affected, therefore every detail is important. Building materials, paint colors, quality of furnishings, and a high standard of upkeep of our facilities are all details that our guests will experience and therefor deserve our attention. The Butts helped us to see that every detail attended to was one less thing to distract our guests from God’s purpose for their time in the Canyon.
Mr. and Mrs. Butt taught us that each guest, program and staff person is just as important as any other and that our attention to relationships and the facilities should reflect that; that we can serve best when we choose to see through the eyes of our guests and that invisible service is best for enabling an undistracted retreat experience. Mr. and Mrs. Butt knew that when our guests experienced that the place was cared for, that it would say to them, even if subconsciously, that they were cared for by us, but ultimately by God.
Mr. and Mrs. Butt taught us that beauty is integral to the retreat experience, and they had an extraordinary eye for recognizing quality and beauty. At the same time, they modeled a real appreciation and commitment to frugality. That commitment–to seek quality, beauty and stewardship–was impressed on me many years ago when Mrs. Butt chose to have the sofas in the Great Hall reupholstered instead of replaced. But the result honored all of the above values: beauty at modest cost and many more years of high quality service from those pieces of furniture.
Mr. and Mrs. Butt taught us by their example that relationships, like beauty, are not always easy or convenient or cost-effective, but they are always worth our best efforts. They looked for and found value and beauty in all things and in all people. It was an honor and a joy to learn from them and to be enabled by them to serve in this place. We are all the beneficiaries of their wisdom, insight, and commitment. Their investment in us and in this Canyon will live on and yield blessing upon blessing for years untold.
October 30, 2020