These are the two things that have gotten me through this past year without going crazy. These are the two things that I lean on heavily everyday for my survival. For my sanity. For my motivation and inspiration. For my Faith.
I could write for hours and hours about both of these topics, and as I continue to blog, I know that they will keep surfacing as major players in my life. U2 is something I have been meaning to write about since I saw them in concert at Spartan Stadium a little over a week ago. It is funny because the first 27 years of my life, I liked U2. They made up a chunk of my running playlist. I would watch some of their concerts on Palladia. I knew and admired that Bono was really involved with various charities.
But it was not until I was 28 that U2 became more than a band to me. It just so happened that U2 announced that they were going on tour, and that they would be coming to Spartan Stadium in June 2010. I was excited that I had the chance to see such a big-name band in the same stadium where I had grown up watching MSU football games. I was interested in the hoopla of it all. I was interested in how the stadium would be transformed into a concert venue. More than anything, I was stoked to do one of my most favorite things in the whole wide world~listen to live music outside on a warm, summer night with some of my favorite people.
Brad and I talked about it and we decided to buy 4 tickets for my sister-in law, Jill, my brother-in-law, Daric, Brad, and me. The four of us decided that we were going to be at Spartan Stadium when U2 took the stage.
Then, at the beginning of May 2010, I started to get sick. And I continued to get sicker…and sicker. That summer, I had to stay home from the Dave Mathews Band concert. I had to stay home from the Ray Lamontagne and David Gray concert. I missed my ten-year high school reunion. I stayed back on our annual Gun Lake trip with friends. And as I kept getting sicker, no one could figure out why, except for the occasional mentions of possible MS, ALS, and Myasthenia Gravis by various doctors.
It was the end of May 2010 that marked when my sickness started to become quite apparent to the people around me. I had lost 10 pounds in two weeks, and could only keep Ensure down. I started to notice that when I stood up, the pain in my back was often unbearable, and I would get very dizzy and lightheaded. The end of May 2010, was when I knew that something was really wrong.
Coincidentally, the end of May 2010 also marked U2’s announcement that they would be cancelling their North American tour until further notice because Bono needed major emergency back surgery. Although, I recall feeling bad for Bono, I honestly was probably one of the only fans completely relieved that the concert was to be postponed until Bono had recovered.
After Bono became injured, I started to research the progress he was making after his surgery. By November, I was finally diagnosed with EDS and POTS, and had begun my plan of attack to manage both diseases. Once I knew what was wrong with me, I made a pact with myself. I vowed that when I finally got to see U2 perform, Bono and I would both be healthier together. I made it a goal that I would be able to stand up for a majority of the concert when I watched U2 take the stage.
After that, U2 became a huge motivational player in my life. When Brad was at work teaching, I would blare U2 to complete my hour of home rehab. I would sing their songs at the top of my lungs, and imagine myself standing tall and proud at the concert. Days that I thought I couldn’t make it through, I would play “Walk On,” “Beautiful Day,” and “One” to keep me moving forward.
When it was announced that U2 was rescheduling the concert for the end of June, 2011, I developed even more of a tunnel vision to reach my goal of becoming healthier than I was when I was supposed to see them last June. Long story short, in the last year, I have put in hours and hours of blood, sweat, and tears with U2 keeping me company in the background.
Fast forward to concert day.
On the day of the concert, it was a beautiful, sunny, Michigan day. Jill and Daric had made plans to park on campus and walk to the bar beforehand. Brad and I knew we were welcome, but after much hemming and hawing, I finally made the decision that I was not going to use up the energy in my tank, walking to the bar, and then to the stadium. I had worked too hard to be worn out by the time we got to the concert. It ended up working out, because Brad and I threw down a blanket on campus and had fun people watching, soaking up the gorgeous weather, and just enjoying each other’s company. There’s nothing like being on campus together on a beautiful, summer day.
As concert time approached, Jill and Daric met up with us and we headed to the stadium. We found our seats as Florence and the Machine was playing. They were impressive. But more than that, as I watched them play, I just stood there taking in the sights and sounds…The massive stage, the great sound, the stage lights straight above our heads…In that moment, I looked at Daric standing next to me with tears in my eyes and I said, “I am here, Daric. I couldn’t have been here a year ago.” Daric, who can relate to a lot of what I have been through looked back at me and said, “You are more than here. You are standing and you are beautiful doing so.” I will never forget that moment for the rest of my life. I was so proud of myself, and it was really special to be able to share that with a family member who has been through similar struggles.
U2 came on a little while later. The show just blew me away. I’m not sure I can even describe it in words, but my best attempts are surreal, colossal, spiritual, healing. Throughout the concert, I would alternate sitting and standing during songs, but I would say that I did meet my goal for standing, and even dancing, for quite a bit of the concert. I heard all of the songs I wanted to hear (besides “Bad”), and shared a very special moment with Brad, (with quite a few tears) during “With or Without You.”
When it was time for the encore, it was during “One”, when I looked up at the clear night sky, and thanked God that I was there in that moment, standing on my own two feet. I thanked Him for giving me the tools to accomplish goals, and the Faith to keep plowing forward. Most of all, I thanked God for the music and for the relationships that are so special and important in my life.
What you got, they can’t steal it
No they can’t even feel it
Walk on, walk on
Stay safe tonight…”
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