Denver, Colorado. 

Upon first thought, the Mile High City doesn’t seem like a place where a five-day Christian church conference would be held. Yet, there I found myself for exactly that event this past June. 

In high school, I attended a club called Cru, which held deep Christian values of love and evangelism. The Christmas prior, I’d heard about this getaway to the state I’d been longing to visit for years. Our leaders told us that we could fundraise money for the trip by selling poinsettias. The trip without fundraising would cost me nearly six paychecks from my job at a local magazine in town, so I sold and sold and sold those poinsettias to every old lady in my neighborhood. 

Six months and 25 poinsettias later, I had my trip half paid for, the rest taken out of my birthday and graduation money. 

So, as you can tell, I was pretty serious about this.

I was also pretty serious about seeing Harry Styles live in concert.

Each day at this conference, breakfast started at 7 a.m. and our first meeting started at 9. These meetings consisted of where we were to go to that day to our “classes”. 

In class, we’d learn Christian values and all that jazz based on what our leaders knew about us. I went the first days and it was fine. I mean, I more looked forward to hiking the beautiful terrain with my friends after class, but I enjoyed it. 

It was day four when the tickets went on sale. 

At 9 a.m., the figurative gates of all beauty and glory would open up to Ticketmaster, and I would have approximately 11 minutes to secure the best seats I could for my friend Natalie and I to see Harry Styles on June 27, 2018. 

And yes, I did the math myself to see how quickly they’d sell out.

I didn’t even think twice about skipping my morning meeting. Like, c’mon, this was sort of what my whole life was leading up to. 

Being a die hard One Direction fan since 7th grade, I went through the tragic dissolve of the band into oblivion, only for each member come out with his own solo career. Duly noted, we all did expect it, but still, I was made for these 11 minutes.

8:57 a.m. I log onto the website. 

I punch in my credit card number into the notes section of my laptop so I could copy and paste it when the time came. There was no way I was going to waste 10 precious seconds typing that in.

8:58 a.m. I sit at the electronic gates, gazing at the timer counting down. 

I say a quick prayer asking God to forgive me for skipping my morning meeting, though I know He understands what is at stake.

8:59 a.m. I am sweating now, feeling queasy. What if I don’t get them? Will Natalie ever forgive me? Will I ever forgive myself? The walls of my tiny, non air conditioned cabin are starting to creep in on me. I see my friends going to the main cabin for their morning meetings, feeling no remorse whatsoever.

Five… Four… Three… Two… One…

I’m in.

As soon as the button says “OPEN”, I click in. 

I waste no time clicking on the closest seats to the stage, the general admission pit on the floor. Thanks to research done prior to tickets going on sale, I know that general admission tickets will be no more than $100 a pop. 

Clammy palms click to select the tickets I want. “Waiting…” the screen says. 

I half expect for floor tickets to already be sold out. At this point I am about 30 seconds into the sale, so I’m living on a prayer here that there are just two more available seats. 

My fingers hover over the trackpad on my laptop, ready to pounce as soon as two tickets pop up. Just when I begin to lose all hope of the possibility of seeing Harry Styles 10 feet from me, a miracle happens: two tickets, general admission pit, $99.

I audibly screech, pretty sure the birds outside heard and mistook me for their long lost relative. 

Shaking, I continue onto the process of payment. Select, copy and paste my debit card info. Just as I do this, I double take at the price on my screen. What ensues next is panic.

I am $40 short.

No time wasted, I call the only person who can decide my fate for me in the six minutes I have a hold on the tickets - Mom.

Ring…. Ring… Ring… 

“Come on, Mom! Please!” I yell, tapping my fingers on the keys of my laptop.

“Hey honey! How is...”

“Mom, no time now. I will tell you all about it in a few. I just need a favor.”

“Yes of course, what type of...”

“A $40 favor,” I cut her off again. Silence on the other side for a few seconds.

“Demi why do you need $40…”

“I don’t have time to explain right now, just please. I will pay you back when I am back in Indy.”

Four minutes on the clock.

“Well okay… When do you need it?”

“Preferably within the next three minutes and 45 seconds.”

“For real? Why...”

“Mom please. Please, I promise I will explain later.” Silence again.

Three minutes and 15 seconds.

“Okay sure, if you need it that quick I will Paypal it to you.”

“Yes please, thank you so much Mom. I will call later today and explain. I love you.” Without giving her a chance to respond, I hung up. 

Two minutes, and I get the Paypal notification. I transfer the money to my debit card, and it instantly comes through by the grace and glory of God himself. Thanks, man.

One minute now. 

I press “Next”, hoping my card goes through. It does. I now have the tickets secured, all mine. No chance of them leaving my grasp. I calmly type in the billing and mailing address, and next thing I know I am at a screen which reads, “Congratulations, Demi! You are seeing Harry Styles!”

I stare at the screen, pinching myself. 

This is real, I did it. The clock read 9:10 a.m. With approximately one minute to spare, I somehow grasped the best seats possible to see Harry Styles live in concert next summer. 

I calmed myself down and got dressed. My first class was half way through, so I decided to just hang out in my room for a little while longer. What would be the point of coming in halfway through? 

I grab my ENO hammock and head for my favorite spot, strapping up to two small trees so I can lay on air and gaze at the mountains in the distance.

The hammock sways back and forth, lullabying me to the sleep that did not come last night due to the anxiety that would come in the morning. 

I chuckle to myself. Why was I so stressed out for that? It really wasn’t too bad, or maybe, I just got lucky. Either way, I did basically the impossible. Call it what you will, but my man upstairs knew what was up and blessed me with some fine odds.

As I sat contemplating the morning’s events, I heard rustling coming up behind me. I positioned myself to investigate, and that’s when my stomach dropped.

My leader, Mark strolls up behind me. I swallow the pit in my throat.

“Hey Demi! We missed you this morning… where were you?”

I file through my head of possible things I could have been doing to miss my mandatory morning meeting. Quick on my feet, I come up with the perfect excuse.

“Oh Mark, ya know I woke up this morning just feeling terrible. I ended up throwing up a few minutes before I headed out the door to go to the morning meeting, so I stayed in bed for a while longer.”

“Oh no! Do we need to take you to the doctor on camp grounds,” he asked.

I jump out of my hammock to my feet, not in a way that a girl who just threw up a few hours ago would.

“No, no, no, no. I’m okay! I feel okay now. Probably just the elevation finally getting to me.” Plastering my best fake smile on at the end, Mark hesitantly agrees and leaves me be, saying he will “see me at lunch”.

Plopping back down into my hammock, I breathe a sigh of relief. I’m surprised I didn’t throw up, quite honestly. 

Buying those tickets was one of the top three most stressful things I’ve ever done, and I’d taken the SAT before. I close my eyes, feel the wind on my cheeks and enjoy the time I have left in beautiful Colorado. 

And remember that a year from now, I’ll be seeing Harry Styles live, which makes it all worth it a million and one times over.