It was 9 o’clock on Saturday, July 23, 2011. U2 took the stage at TCF Stadium in Minneapolis, MN, and the entire place erupted in cheering. 60,000 people stood up and never sat down again.
A moment of history: Kerry and I are fortunate to have friends who share our love of various music. One of those friends (Thank you, Lori!!) had contacted us in 2009 after the U2 tickets for their June 2010 concert in Minneapolis had sold. “I have four tickets, and we only need two. Would you like to buy the other two tickets?” Ummm…yes! Then there was Bono’s back surgery and the concert’s postponement to July 2011. Comments on Facebook included jabs about the only funeral that could be scheduled for that day would be my husband’s. Apparently even my death would not have kept him away from the concert.
Back to the concert: By the end of the third or fourth song, Lori had handed me the poncho she had brought for me. Our husbands stood without cover. As the concert continued, so did the rain. At some points, the rain fell in what could only be described as a downpour. During the several song encore, lightning crossed the sky in a display of wonder. It was awesome. Nobody thought of leaving, no one ran to their cars, and no one really complained. And U2 played on in what seemed to be, according to the Facebook statuses from that night and the next day, an awesome, inspiring, religious experience (some even likened it to baptism). Bono seamlessly intertwined one-line melodies of rain songs (“Singing in the Rain,” “Purple Rain,” etc.) with his own. I would not have missed the experience for twice or triple my ticket price. Even Kerry, drenched from not having anything to protect him from the elements, said that the rain made the experience even more unique than he had expected.
Yesterday, after having lunch with my husband, I anxiously stepped out of the Rosedale Mall to find my car and start my journey to Village Creek Bible Camp for a week of rest before the school year starts. The only thing between my car and me at that point were the sheets of rain. It was an all out downpour. I removed my flip-flops (not appropriate running-in-rain footwear) and darted out into the parking lot in hopes to go directly to my car. Unfortunately, I had started down the wrong row of cars. I hid next to a parked car trying to stay dry (too late) and get my whereabouts before attempting to find my car again.
I did find my car, but only after running around the parking lot looking like an absolute fool. Fortunately, no one else was stupid enough to be in the parking lot at this time as many had chosen to wait out the storm in the mall itself. I flopped into my car, soaking wet, and started to laugh. There was no other appropriate reaction. My purse and its contents were drenched. Checks that needed depositing had torn from the seeping wetness. My phone, thankfully, had weathered the storm well. I, on the other hand, had not. There was not a dry spot nor piece of clothing on me. I stopped on the side of the road, crawled into my trunk from the backseat, found some dry clothes and a towel, and changed my clothes.
Although both of these events included the same outcome physically, they caused different reactions emotionally. In both cases, a downpour of rain caused one to be soaking wet. I have realized that this is how life is in general. We experience the same things, but react differently. The difference is in the focus.
Yesterday in the parking lot, my focus was on my clothing and the discomfort that I felt because of the rain. It had inconvenienced me; I was uncomfortable. I wanted to be on the road; I wanted to see my children. I did not want to wait an additional thirty minutes for the rain to pass. Rather than choosing to avoid the rain, I disregarded it momentarily and then focused on how uncomfortable it made me after I had chosen to get wet. I could have avoided the rain, could have avoided the frustration, and could have remained dry. In doing so, however, I would have had to wait. I chose poorly, and then I was angry at the rain.
At the U2 concert, my focus was on how great of an experience I was already having and how the rain enhanced it. Bono would never have sung “Singing in the Rain” had it not been raining. I would have never marveled at his ability to persevere and perform in the midst of a rain storm had it not been raining. In avoiding the rain, I would not have had a great memory with my husband – our “once in a lifetime” concert experience. And I’ll be honest: Lori providing a poncho definitely helped.
I am in awe at how much of our attitude in life truly is dependent up on our focus in the situation.