The Summer I Started Listening to U2

That summer my life changed. I wouldn’t say that summer changed my life, only that my life changed during that season. I was on my own for the first time in my life. I was a few months into a new relationship, one that would eventually lead to marriage, and a few months out of another, longer relationship.

“When you stop seeing beauty / You start growing old … I lost myself in the summer rain,” (Summer Rain)

I was working at what would one day become my vocation, for the first time in my life. I was doing something that mattered to me, not just stacking frozen peas. I was also learning what it’s like to earn a living, knowing the value of a hard earned dollar, and what it’s like to go hungry because you’re poor. Not that I starved that summer, that’d be overstating it. I simply learned what it’s like to live with only enough food to survive. Snacks didn’t fit in the budget. I endured heat stroke, playing the crowd for another two bits.

“Like a preacher stealing hearts / In a traveling show / For love or money, money, money,” (Desire).

My grandparents celebrated 50 years of marriage that summer, while my parents celebrated their roughly 25 years together by separating. When I finally came home that summer it was to help my mom move out.

“Trenches dug within our hearts / And mothers, children, brothers, sisters torn apart,” (Sunday, Bloody Sunday).

My home church started to fall apart that year, too. Back stabbing and gossip and pride and who knows what else sunk their teeth into our little congregation and tempers flared, people left, and I was left wondering from afar what happened to Christian love.

“Yeah I’d break bread and wine / If there was a church I could receive in / ’cause I need it now,” (Acrobat), and then “please…please… please get up off your knees,” (Please).

That summer I discovered public transportation and pleasure reading, and what a perfect pair the two make. That was also the summer I started listening to U2.

“I’m wide awake. / I’m not sleeping. / Oh, no, no.” (Bad)

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