“Come on, Nikki. You can make it. Only one more mile……or so.”
Last year to celebrate my birthday Nikki and I decided to take a trip to Chicago to see U2 in concert. Very few things exist that would make for a better birthday celebration than seeing my favorite band with my favorite lady. I purchased tickets for the concert many months in advance and as is my lot I obsessed over the hotel room. One of the many chinks in my armor is my inability to make quick decisions when it comes to the purchase of something that has a cost in excess of fifty bucks. So it was a cause for celebration when a co-worker heard of our trip and immediately called his sister-in-law, who lives in Chicago, to ask if it would be possible for us to use her apartment during our stay. She quickly agreed to the request. On the surface one would think that the victory was the monetary savings, but let me assure you this was not the reason for our elation. Ask my wife about my decision-making abilities when it comes to hotel rooms and finding the best rate. Picture in your mind a man staring at the <enter> key on his keyboard, really wanting to press the key, dying to press the key yet wondering, “Should I maybe check one more website? I may save fifty cents.” Enough said? Enough said.
We arrived in Chicago on the day of the concert and were excited we were only a bus ride away from Soldier Field. When the time came we made our way to the street corner with tickets in hand and a serious case of anticipation. We hopped on the bus and off we went.
When I had asked for directions I had in mind how we were to arrive at Soldier Field. I knew the blue line was our friend and was told to look for S. Michigan Ave. and hop off when we arrived at said street. We enjoyed our ride, saw many interesting characters, and if I remember correctly I was offered a piece of cabbage by a fellow rider, though I may have had a vision of this happening due to the bus fumes.
We arrived at S. Michigan and proceeded to exit the bus, watch it drive away, walk over to a map, and realize we were still several blocks (miles) away from Soldier Field. We should have stayed on the bus for several more stops. I guess I did not listen closely enough when told that once the bus arrives at S. Michigan then begin to look for signs for Soldier Field.
We had exact change for the bus ride to and from, so boarding another bus would throw off my laminated cash disbursement spreadsheet. It was a nice day, there was a buzz on the streets, so we decided to walk the few miles to Soldier Field. We had plenty of time and wanted to eat before the show so it made sense to simply enjoy an adventure.
We learned something valuable early on. “Adventure” and “shoes minus arch support” were never meant to be travel companions. We walked…and walked….and walked. Every restaurant was offering seventeen dollar burgers or twenty-four dollar items of food that we could neither stomach nor spell. I asked Nikki if she wanted me to try to find the lady who offered me the cabbage. She gave me the “wife glare”. (Men, you know of what I speak). So I said what I thought would be encouraging….
“Come on, Nikki. You can make it. Only one more mile……or so.”
Needless to say we were becoming very frustrated. We stopped in a Walgreens to see if we could locate some sort of sock, hose, or wrap that would prevent one’s feet from going numb. I suggested a jumbo pack of Peeps. Fluffy, fun to look at, and when finished we would have a delicious snack. To this suggestion I received wife glare #2. (or was it #37?) Ballerina slippers do not give the sort of comfort and support one needs when walking five miles down a busy Chicago street. At least Nikki was smart enough to wear tennis shoes. (kidding….they never have the slippers in my color.)
We were frustrated, hungry, and tired, and the thought of the U2 show and being among thousands of great fellow fans failed to bring much comfort. It was at that moment a funny thing happened that gave a healthy dose of perspective. Off in the distance between the many buildings, power lines, and clouds we saw it….. the tip of a corner of Soldier Field. Just a corner. Nothing else. We could not see any other part of the stadium, what was in the stadium, who was in the stadium, just the smallest glimpse of a corner of the stadium.
We continued on still frustrated and hungry, but now we had caught a glimpse of the goal. It made all the difference. The frustration did not necessarily leave and it actually increased, but as our frustration increased so did our sense of anticipation as we would see a bit more of our destination.
We eventually found the cross street to Soldier Field, found some reasonably priced grubbage and sat down to take it all in.
As the moment grew closer our anticipation increased. All the U2 songs we had blasted through speakers, yelled at the top of our lungs, ran through our minds on those lazy days, were now going to be fully experienced and with 65,000 other people with the same passion from every walk of life you could imagine. All in one place for the same reason.
The concert began and thus we began destroying our voices as we sang and screamed at the top of our lungs. Funny that when the concert started Nikki and I didn’t seem to remember the trial that was our journey to this point. As we jumped up and down with so many of our closest friends we simply got lost in the joy of it all. Once the show began and we had arrived at our destination we realized why the journey was worth every little pain and frustration.
As Nikki and I try to stay a step ahead of complacency, when we get frustrated when at times a step of faith seems to be a step backward in this life, God always seems to give us a glimpse of our destination. Perhaps through a new perspective of a Bible verse we have read a thousand times, an encouraging note, a meaningful phone call, a Spirit-led email, or so many other things (if we would just open our eyes and look) to show us why we are on this earth. Many times it is just a glimpse, but a glimpse is so much better than the scraps this world has to offer.
I cannot wait for the day when we have all crossed over to the other side, our petty differences in the rearview mirror, and we jump up and down in celebration lost in the joy of it all as we arrive at our eternal home. (Oh yeah, the music is gonna be good, too.)
“Come on…… You can make it. Only one more mile…..or so.”