A U2 concert, social media memories, and celebrating the strength of the human spirit.
U2 in Concert, Photo courtesy of Steve Jurvetson (CC BY-SA 2.0).This weekend a rather interesting event resulted in the convergence of many pieces of my past. In the city where I just moved to, not far from where I grew up and went to college, one of the last performances of U2’s world tour was held. My wife happened upon tickets and was able to go with a friend. I was intrigued enough to ride my bike to the stadium and watch a bit through the gate. The show was absolutely spectacular. The stage set itself is an example of what incredible feats of creativity and engineering lie within human capacity.
As the night went on, thanks to the magic of social media, I began to see a steady stream of updates and pictures from friends, both new and old, who had gone to the show—including messages between them linking to even more people I hadn’t heard about in 20 years. It was mind boggling to realize that I’d been within 100 yards of so many people I knew from such different parts of my life, all emerging from our separate lives to join for a few short hours, unaware of each other’s presence.
But one of those stories stands out above the rest. This one didn’t come through Facebook or Twitter. Rather, it came through Caring Bridge, which is a non-profit web portal for people dealing with chronic or life-threatening illnesses to help them communicate easily with loved ones.
A college friend of mine, who I still keep in touch with, a cancer survivor himself, posted a story about his wife’s trip to the concert last night. U2 has been her favorite band for 30 years. However, in the short time since they bought their tickets for the show, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatments, had a mastectomy and subsequent reconstructive surgery, and recovered well enough to go to the concert. It’s hard to get my mind around that. With time put into perspective that way, it’s amazing to realize the magnitude of change the human spirit is capable of accommodating. Adding yet another blessing to this story, just a week before the show he found a job, after a long search and two cancers that put his family on the verge of financial ruin.
My admiration goes out to her. And him. And the rest of their family. To witness people work so hard to persevere when faced with adversity is another inspiring example of what capable beings we are. It’s a reminder to us all. When need be, you too can find the courage within. You too can summon the strength. You too can celebrate the rewards of that endurance and get to a better place.
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