“Life always kind of works out,” said my counselor to me a while back.
I so badly wanted to argue, and say, Notta. But it really got me thinking. Right or wrong, life does seem to have a way of working itself out.
On March 26-27, 2018, I realized something was wrong with me. And the feeling was frightening.
On the evening of November 9, 2018, when Elton John’s Madison Square Garden farewell concert went on without me, his biggest fan, in attendance, I cried myself to sleep. At that time, in so many ways, I believed life had already ended for me.
On March 25, 2019, I journaled, “I’m overwhelmed, feel beat down, just about feel better off dead, am angry at people, and am scared shitless. I don’t know what to do anymore. Help me God.”
On March 16, 2020, I journaled, “I have been quarantined for 629-days, but it suddenly seems a lot more real now – and even more uncertain (if that’s possible) and a lot more annoying. I cannot believe I have to finish out a high-risk pregnancy in the midst of a global pandemic – WTF? You can’t make this shit up.”
And in March, 2021, I felt the first waves of panic attacks and wondered how I could ever get through them.
Through all of the remarkable challenges, God, his irony, and sense of humor have made a lot of good happen for me in the past four years. And it continues to get better all the time. It keeps working out, one strange way and day after another.
I am a haughty, entitled, and elite Elton John fan. (I can’t believe I just wrote that. It’s by far one of the most embarrassing things I’ve ever openly pronounced.) I was adamantly opposed to seeing Elton in Fargo, and made it very clear since he announced the show in the late-fall, 2019. I was even in Fargo that day, staying with my friend Ashley for a round of Neuro-Psychological appointments.
Knowing what a “moderately enthusiastic” Elton fan I am (someone said that to me just the other day), she assumed I would immediately purchase tickets. I got my “famous back up,” (someone also said that to me just the other day) and said, “No. I’m a connoisseur Elton fan. I wanted to see him in NYC. That didn’t happen. So I’m not going in Fargo.” She has a way of looking at you like you’re the dumbest person she’s ever met. She absolutely gave me that face, and I ignored it. And I huffed to myself: I have high Elton standards.
Fast forward to early 2020, when life stopped, and even one of the most famous people in the world had to stop with it. I watched his video when he paused his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, and selfishly, I was happy. I didn’t even have to think about him playing other shows that I would miss.
Then 2021 happened, and Elton told people he’d be back on the road. Fargo was resurrected and set for … (I never knew or paid attention, because it wasn’t my show to go).
On March 19th, a good friend texted and asked if I was going to the show “tomorrow.” She got the same song and dance from me, “blah blah blah … Nope.”
I thought about why I was being so stubborn. It was far more than being a high maintenance Elton fan. It was almost something I couldn’t describe. Like I had to be defiant because of what I lost. It was also fear. Fear that the concert wouldn’t set well with me. That I couldn’t handle the crowd, the lights, the noise, and everything. It was fear that I couldn’t do it, so I wanted to avoid it.
I repeatedly told myself as I dismissed a trip to the eastern portion of the state: If God wants you to be there, he’ll send you a sign.
It’s always so funny. And so perfect. Unbelievable.
On Saturday morning, my longtime friend Katie texted me: “Are you going to Elton tonight?”
Her: “Well, my friend Matt has two tickets he can’t use and he’s in Bismarck, so just sayin’ …” Me: Hummmmm … I smiled. Is this the gift from God?
Sean was on a quick errand, so I conducted a few polls. As the kids were drawing with chalk on the driveway, I asked them if they’d mind if I went to Fargo to see Elton.
My 7-year-old son didn’t even look up, but answered in the sincerest way, “Mom, you have to go. You have to see Elton.” And then my 9-year-old daughter chimed in, “Mom, you should go, you haven’t seen Elton in a long time.” (*Please laugh with me and don’t call Social Services.)
I called Mom. She said it before I could utter it: “This is a miracle. You should go.”
When Sean arrived, he could tell I wanted to go, and even though he’s always a little nervous about me venturing out, trying to reclaim some of the old ways, he never holds me back. So it was settled.
I met Matt just an hour later to score the tickets. I thanked him and told him a 2-minute story about why what he was doing for me was so special. I gave him some money, but surely not enough. As he handed over expensive, floor seats, he said, “That’s an amazing story. I’m so glad you can use these. Last night I prayed the right person could have them.”
I got chills. And was kind of speechless.
I dusted off my Elton John brand “The Bitch is Back” shirt that I only wear for special occasions (i.e. his concerts) and drove to Fargo. Katie and I entered the floor of the Fargodome just as Elton pounded the famous opening chords to Benny and Jets. And then I marched us to the front like we owned the place (we later marched a few rows back to our seats at the insistence of security).
The next two point five hours were nothing short of magic. The place was hopping, Elton sounded better than ever, and the band was on fire. I didn’t scream, shout, jump up and down, wave, or do anything wild. I sang to the songs under my mask and enjoyed the moment. I embraced it for what it was, like I’ve learned to do in this new life. I danced a little extra to my anthem, “I’m Still Standing,” and I fainty said, “Goodbye Elton,” as he exited out of the yellow brick road screen. (*Please laugh and don’t call the cops.)
I may have waited almost four years to have that encore confetti fall on me, but when it did, it felt like gifts rained from the heavens.
God sent me the sign. He gave me a final chance to see Elton. And I was listening.
And once again, life all worked out.
Another reminder to just keep swimming, cause there’s always better days ahead.
I love Elton and I love you.
“I know it’s not much, but it’s the best I can do
My gift is my song, and this one’s for you
“And you can tell everybody this is your song
It may be quite simple, but now that it’s done
I hope you don’t mind, I hope you don’t mind that I put down in words
How wonderful life is while you’re in the world” ~ Your Song by Elton John
Photo Credit: Katie K