U2 From the Top of the Stadium or From the Front Row?

Would you rather see U2 from the top of the stadium or with General Admission tickets where you could watch so close you could touch Bono’s hand? Would you rather watch a baseball game from the front row or one level up? When you’re making your way through daily life would you rather put your nose to the grindstone with only a micro-view or do you have the ability and desire to take the long view?

I have strong opinions about the first two questions, and am quickly forming an opinion about the third:

  1. I would rather get up at 5:00 a.m., sit in line all day, and stand right in the front when the opening strains of the U2 concert begin. In fact, I’m going to do that in Chicago this July 5th.
  2. When I go to a baseball game at Miller Park to watch the Milwaukee Brewers I would rather sit up one level where I can have an overview of the whole field than sit in the front row where the perspective isn’t quite as good.
  3. I’m learning that taking the long view of tasks, work, and vocation is better than seeing only the task in front of me.

I’ve been learning about this by watching our kids make their way through their college experience. It’s been particularly clear this summer as I see them both working hard at jobs that, at first glance, may not seem to be career enhancing positions. But from my perspective (1000 feet up, as it were), I see the skills they are learning, the connections they are making, the responsibilities they are taking, and the networks they are building.

I’ve had telephone conversations with both kids, listening to them (mildly) complain about the weight and responsibility of full-time summer jobs. From the perspective of a parent I see the many ways these summer positions are preparing each of them for life in the working world and for vocations that will be fun and fulfilling.

It got me to thinking that I far too often take the near view in my own daily life. The old cliche is that I “can’t see the forest for the trees.” More accurately, I can’t see God’s plan for my life because my own near-sightedness gets in the way. When I take the time to step back, take the long view, head to the top of the stadium, I see from where I’ve come and to where I’m going.

Here’s what I’m trying to do:

  1. Beginning the work day prioritizing the things that will have the greatest impact.
  2. Ending the work day reviewing what I’ve done, what it meant, and what it means for tomorrow’s work.
  3. Take stock at the end of each week to see whether the goals set have been met, and if so, what new goals ought to be set.
  4. At least once a month taking some time to think about the major things that have taken place so far in the current year, and what that means for next steps as the year proceeds.

How do you take the long view in your daily life?

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2 thoughts on “U2 From the Top of the Stadium or From the Front Row?

  1. I work as an usher in one of the 'nose-bleed' sections at Busch Stadium. When I tell people I work at the stadium near first base but all the way at the top, they seem to feel sorry for me and wonder how many years I'll have to work there before I get promoted to the box seats. (Well, first they are jealous that they don’t have that job and then they feel sorry that I don’t have a closer view.) I love my "Bob Uecker" location. I'm in the shade. If it rains I usually don't get wet. If there's any breeze, I feel it. I have a great view of the entire field. Families tend to gravitate to the cheaper seats so I don't have as many problem/drunk/obnoxious fans. I love observing the parents hoping to pass their love of the game to their kids. Fans aren't going to yell and scream as much because they know there's absolutely no chance the players can hear them (although that doesn’t stop some). Hey, I get paid to watch the Cardinals (no comment, Tom) 81 times a year! What a gig. I love the view from the top.

    Interestingly, in a couple weeks, the U2 360 tour will be playing at Busch and I get to work the concert. We even get paid time and a half since it's not a baseball event! I don't know where I'll be working. Last year when the Eagles had their concert at the stadium I worked right down front because they didn't need as many ushers at the top. It was loud, but fun working down on the field by the stage. The only problem was that I hated seeing how old the Eagles had become! Wow! So instead of looking at their aging faces, I spent a good bit of time enjoying the music while watching people. It was fascinating to observe people from a different view – as an employee instead of concert attendee. That aspect proved very interesting, adding to the concert experience.

    I guess I'll add a different perspective to your blog thoughts. There's more to the game and concert than the players and the music. As I mentioned, one of my greatest joys working games (besides the obvious joys when the Cardinals win) is observing parents and grandparents pass on their love of the game to their children/grandchildren – explaining the game, telling stories, and/or teaching them to keep score. And the sport of ‘people-watching’ at concerts is great fun (although sometimes sad). I've gotten a deeper understanding of people's lives, loves, and crazy joy. They often let loose in ways you never see outside the concert venue. (Of course, sometimes alcohol and other drugs and to their lack of inhibitions, but that’s another story.)

    People (as well as music and baseball) add so much to our daily lives. And we often miss the people around us (and their needs) as we walk through the day. I'm trying to do a better job at that … even when I don't get paid for it!

  2. What a GREAT perspective! I agree that passing on a love for the game of baseball is a great gift. We can all use a reminder to pay attention to people. There is so much we can observe and learn. Thanks for such a thoughtful response.