In September of 1992, my college roomate Karen and I drove almost six hours from Richmond, Virginia to Columbia, South Carolina to see my favorite band. To say I loved U2 is an understatement. I had been listening to them for years, even the B-sides.
I had just finished reading a book about them, "Unforgettable Fire," a biography by Eamon Dunphy. It was a pretty deep tale, maybe a little too personal in parts, I thought. He talked about how the faith of some of the band members had shaped their lives. It was encouraging to me because I had just become a Christian. As I read the book and listened to their newer songs I wondered if some of that had changed. I don't know how else to say it. I wanted to ask Bono if he still loved Jesus. It might not surprise anyone who reads this blog that I prayed to do exactly that.
We arrived at the stadium in the early afternoon, around 1:30. Karen stayed in the car studying. I wandered, magnetically drawn to a group of superfans nearby. They were huddled in a mass of adoration. It was like we were all on some kind of cool pilgrimage. One of them turned to me and excitedly said, "They're just about to arrive!"
A heartbeat later, a long white limousine pulled up, stopped at our gathering crowd, and out got The Edge!
Everyone screamed, "Bono!"
The Edge looked a little disappointed and got right back in the limo. Ha ha! I kind of wish I had yelled, "The Edge," but I hadn't even yelled, "Bono!" I was silent as a stone.
I was really young when this happened. I feel a little ridiculous writing it now.
Bono got out next.
You know when someone says the crowd went wild? This crowd did just that. Stark raving mad wild. There was a wall of them and I looked around for a way in. There, behind Bono, was a little path of no people. I ambled over and simply walked up the path, realizing too late it was Bono's escape path and his security guys were having none of it. One of them was shoving me aside! But Bono turned around, seemed to size me up as non-threatening, and told his guard, "It's all right, Derek." Derek let me past.
So I got to stand right next to Bono. Someone out there probably has a picture of it and I bet I look terrified. Why? I don't know, but I bet that's how I look. You know what I said? That's right. Nothing. Not a word! Bono signed my tour program. Our hair touched. It was the era of big hair, we weren't that close.
This is a ridiculous story, isn't it? I am sorry to say that's it. I didn't ask what I came to ask. I honestly felt like that moment miraculously occurred. I could have easily asked my question. It probably would have been a cool thing. Oh, regret!
A few years later I was sitting on my couch with my boys, reading something and remembering that day, and I wondered what he would have said. You know what came to me? Well, not regret, just the thought that I was the only one disappointed there. God didn't need the question asked, He already knew how Bono felt about Him.
I bet he would have said yes. I mean, come on, right?
I still have a little regret.