At the age of 17, my friend Shera and I attended a concert that would forever change our lives. We went to meet guys but we came out with God. The year was 2001. In the world of Christian music, it was the era of Michael W. Smith, Steven Curtis Chapman and Nichole Nordeman.
We were hot and exhausted as we each hauled our luggage for the weekend into the Comfort Inn’s lobby. “I’m sorry but you’re actually in the other hotel that’s connected to us. You’re going to have to walk around the outside and down to it.”
The clerk at the counter spoke words of dread as Shera and I looked up at each other, with the painful ache of being in the car for too long. We were 17 and had overpacked for our first-ever concert/overnight experience. There were a couple other girls in the lobby who had made the same mistake. We struck up a conversation, and laughed at the realization that it had been their car which read “Honk if you love Jesus” that we’d laid on the horn for, minutes earlier. They were also going to the outdoor Sonshine concert, and after parting we walked for what seemed like a mile before finally collapsing onto our beds in the air conditioned hotel room.
Later, as we arrived at the enormous outdoor concert, we wondered how many thousands of people must have been packed into one cornfield (there were 12,000 to be exact). To our surprise, amongst the countless crowds of people surrounding the three different stages, we ran right into the girls from the hotel—not once, but twice! The girls introduced us to their group of friends, all from Buffalo, Minnesota. They were nice but I remember thinking that there was something different about them. What was it? They didn’t resemble the quiet and contained Christians back at school. They were wild and crazy and didn’t need any substances to have fun. The girls in the group didn’t judge us; They were genuinely happy to hear our stories and had no interest in pumping themselves up.