My Daughter, Bono and the power of Gratitude

“I’m the luckiest girl in the world,” my daughter Jenna once told me. She meant it. I don’t think it’s so much that Jenna has a great life–which she would be the first to tell you that she does–but the fact that she appreciates her life. It’s been said that people are not grateful because they’re happy, they’re happy because they’re grateful. I believe this. In my daughter’s case, she’s quick to see the positive in her experiences and express gratitude. And, I believe, it’s precisely this gratitude that attracts more good things to her.

For instance, several years back Jenna confided in me that one of her bucket list items was to see Bono–the lead singer and song writer of the mega successful rock group U2–in concert. She had been a long time Bono fan, even, as a teenager, hunting down his boyhood home in the tough Northside suburb of Finglas in Dublin, Ireland. (Fortunately a concerned Irishman picked her up, warning her that it wasn’t the kind of place that a young American lady should be wandering around.)

So when Jenna found out that U2 was coming in concert to her hometown of Salt Lake City, she could hardly contain herself. “I can’t wait,” she told me. “I just hope I can get tickets before they sell out.”

She didn’t. The concert sold out in a record fifteen minutes. She was disappointed but shrugged it off. “I guess it wasn’t to be this time.”

A few months later, still several weeks before the U2 concert, I was speaking locally for an international company’s Christmas Party when the company owners began giving away prizes to their employees. The company had had an especially lucrative year and I watched in amazement as they gave away hundreds of gifts: everything from ipods to snowmobiles and new cars. One of the prizes was a U2 package featuring a book on U2, a U2 purse and two tickets to the upcoming concert. Noticing that the winner didn’t seem especially excited about what he’d won, I asked him if he would be willing to sell his tickets. “Sure,” he said. “I have no idea who U2 is.”

I purchased the tickets and the next day informed my daughter that I had a surprise for her. As I got ready to give her what I thought would be the surprise of a lifetime I made an awful discovery. The two tickets I’d bought had been purchased at different times. They were not next to each other–they weren’t even close to each other–which meant she would be going to the concert alone. Suddenly my surprise didn’t seem so great.

When I showed Jenna the tickets she was ecstatic, throwing her arms around me. “You’re so good to me,” she said.

“Unfortunately, it’s not as great as it sounds,” I replied. “The tickets aren’t together. I’m sorry.”

Jenna laughed. “You bought me tickets to U2 and you’re apologizing? Are you kidding? You’re the best dad ever! Besides, things will work out.”

Honestly, how could you not love giving to someone so grateful?

Jenna invited her younger sister, Allyson, to go to the concert with her. The night of the concert both my daughters again thanked me for the tickets and left for the show. Several hours later I received a call from Jenna’s phone. I answered to blaring music. “Jenna?”

“Dad,” she shouted. “You’ll never believe where I am. I’m literally three feet from Bono. I can touch him. I just got his sweat on me.”

“Bono’s sweating on you?”

“I’ll tell you about it later,” she said. “Got to go. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

Later that night, Jenna told me what had transpired. As my daughters were entering the concert, handing in their mismatched tickets at the gate, a gigantic, tattoo-covered security guard looked the girls over then said in a thick Irish brogue, “Just a moment, please. I need to  see your tickets.”

Jenna quizzically handed the man her ticket. He ran it through a machine then shook his head. “I’m sorry. This ticket’s no good.”

Jenna’s heart froze. “What? My dad bought them.”

“I’m sorry, it’s no good.” He turned to my other daughter. “Now let me see yours.” Allyson anxiously surrendered her ticket to the man. He frowned. “Just as I thought. This one’s no good either. I’m afraid you’re going to need these.” He handed my daughters two day-glo orange wrist bands. Jenna looked at the guard. “What are these?”

“Like I said, your tickets weren’t any good. So I’m putting you on the stage with the band.”

“Are you serious?”

“As a heart attack. Say hi to Bono for me.”

Jenna squealed. “May I hug you?”

The giant guard smiled. “Sure.” He hugged her with his massive arms.

Life has taught me that there are none so impoverished as those who will not acknowledge the blessings in their lives. But those who remember to be thankful for those blessings seem to attract a whole lot more to be thankful for. Just something to ponder this Thanksgiving Holiday.

Please Share. Richard Paul Evans is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than thirty books. His latest book is, THE MISTLETOE INN. You may order your copies now at Amazon, at a discount, by clicking this link. THE MISTLETOE INN

This Post Has 18 Comments
  1. The Mistletoe Promise, I love this story! While reading the book, I found myself setting the book aside to contemplate the “ups-and-downs” of the story. As in all of Richard’s books, I vicariously lived and felt the emotions of the story. I very much look forward to his next publication. As for the story in his blog this month, it’s a worthwhile read. It will warm your heart like it did mine.

  2. I thought this was amazing. There are some wonderful people in this wold. And by the way, I love all your books.

    Just be nice to everyone. that’s my motto.

  3. I have enjoyed every book you have written. I am now enjoying your blogs. I am 78 years old and your books help me to stay young.
    They are full of uplifting stories. I have a grandson who is inactive. I bought Vol 1 of Michael Vey and he loved it. He said: “Grandmom,
    it looks like there might me more. Will you get me the next copy? Every Christmas this is one of his presents. Keep up the good work.
    Teenagers need books they can read and I don’t have to worry about words or sex or anything like that.

    Love you and love your work. Have a great Thanksgiving. If I had more money than just SS, I could probably get more books but I will
    rely on people giving me your books.

    Take care,
    CArol Hesse

  4. Dear Richard, I love everything you write…and wish I could afford to buy all your books — but I simply cannot afford to on my very limited income (Social Security). I appreciate your weekly blogs and especially reading about your life at every stage…you have a rare gift and you ARE great! (The Boy Who Would Be Great). I love your style of writing…from the heart…which makes the reader feel you are a personal friend. God bless you, your family and loved ones, and have
    a joyful, glorious Thanksgiving Day! Gladys Brayer, Ukiah, CA

  5. I truly love reading your blogs . I also enjoy reading your books! Gratitude is something we all need to have and show more of. Thank you for sharing! I would absolutely love having an autographed copy of “Mistletoe Inn”.

  6. Rick and Jenna…… .I loved this story, thats how I try to live my life, “making lemomaid out of lemons” made me cry!
    HAPPY holidays, love you guys.

  7. I have just finished reading The Mistletoe Inn. Love it. Not only are you a great writer but obviously you are a great Dad—and you have an awesome daughter.

    Happy Thanksgiving

  8. It amazes me how often in my life God’s greatest gifts are disguised as mistakes or disappointments. I have learned to trust Him, because, only in hindsight, can I understand that all things happen for a reason according to His plan. 1 Thes. 5:18 “In everything give thanks for this is the will of God concerning you in Christ Jesus.”

  9. Your books are the best!!! My first rel book to ever read as an adult was The Christmas Box and now I have read all of your book !!! Thank you! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family and the blog is great sound like you have raised some great girls!! May God Continue to Bless You !

  10. DEAR RICHARD,
    THANKS FOR THE BLOG – I SO ENJOY READING THEM AND SEE HOW YOUR FAMILY IS DOING. YOUR MUST BE A GREAT DAD, HUSBAND, ETC. HAVE ENJOYED EVERY BOOK THAT I HAVE READ AND THAT HAS BEEN EVERYTHING THAT I AM AWARE THAT YOU HAVE WRITTEN. GETTING READY NOW TO START ON THE MISTLETOE INN AND THEN ON TO IF ONLY.
    KEEP THEM COMING.
    IF I HAD THE LADY’S ADDRESS THAT LOVES YOUR BOOKS AND CANNOT AFFORD TO BUY THEM I WOULD BE GLAD TO MAIL MY COPY AFTER I HAVE READ IT. PLEASE LET HER KNOW THAT OUR LOCAL LIBRARIES HAVE LOTS OF YOUR BOOKS AVAILABLE ON LOAN.

  11. Am 73 and love your Michael Vey series can,t wait til 2016 for the next one. Also love the Mistletoe series and The Walk Your books are the beast!

  12. For those of you that can not afford to buy Richards books go to the Libary I’ve read 20 so far and looking forward to the rest.

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