A smile is starting in the center of my chest. It pounds against my lower ribs and moves down through my hips and into my feet. My hand comes to my sternum, and I tap out the beat on my collarbone, which is slick with the sweet, sweat of pleasure.

I am listening to Bono sing, and all I can do is dance.

I don’t have a lot of things on my “to do before I die” list. See the Northern Lights. Visit St. Petersburg. Own a hobby farm. See U2.

Last night, with 80,000 other people, I stood in Baltimore and let that completion of that goal wash over me again and again.

The spectacle was amazing – strobes and LED displays, moving walkways, beams of white light that felt like God was in the spotlight for a bit. The crowd charged the air with the enthusiasm that only comes when tens of thousands of people sing along. The air even cooperated, letting its humidity blow into the Bay and cooling our wet bodies with the perfect breeze.

Sometimes I get the rare privilege of watching people do what they are made to do. Last night was one of those times. I felt honored to be there.

As the music faded out toward the end of the show, the words “The Same” flashed on the screen and then Archbishop Demond Tutu’s beautiful face came onto the screen. He looked so happy. He spoke so happy. I was so happy.

And not just because I so deeply admire Archbishop Tutu but also because I was seeing a band live out the phrase “To whom much is given, much is expected.” They were reminding us of our unity as people (the visit from the Space Station drove that home more effectively than most anything I’ve experienced); they were calling us to take action and prayer for the people of Burma; they were saying, “We can do better.”
U2photo © 2009 Jack Newton | more info (via: Wylio)

If I can use my art to do one-thousandth, one-millionth the good that U2 has worked to achieve, I will have been successful.

Here’s to inspiration and to great, great music. Thanks, U2.