Four things I learned from Ed Sheeran

Sarah the Musical Connoisseur introduced me to Ed Sheeran while we were at Pepperdine. It didn’t take long before I found myself listening to Plus every night. He has since become one of my favourite artists ever, despite the fact that he’s a Brit ginger rapper/singer whose music has very little to do with my personal life. Perhaps it’s related to the fact that I am basically a real life version of Hermione Granger, and Sheeran’s doppelgänger is Rupert Grint:

Last week, Sarah called to ask if I could come up to San Jose a bit earlier. “I’m only asking because I won a radio contest…and guess whose concert it is?”

Of course the first person who came to my mind was Ed Sheeran, but I didn’t want to make the concert anticlimactic if it was actually Nickelback or Luke Bryan. “Who?” “ED SHEERAN…it’s a concert and a Meet-and-Greet.”

After I’d recovered from my fainting spell, I called her back and assured her that for Ed Sheeran, I would even be willing to surf my way up to San Jose.

The night of the concert did not go according to plan. Then again, when do things go according to the plan?

  1. We left the house late, got stuck in very foreseeable 5:30pm weekday traffic, and hadn’t even gotten to our exit by the time 6:00 arrived (the time we were supposed to be outside of the box office). “See if there’s a number you can call…what does the slip say?” Sarah urged. There wasn’t really any helpful information on the sheet, but there was a very ominous line in red ink: If you are late you will not be allowed backstage! As I read that line, I relinquished the idea of meeting Ed. Sarah wasn’t so easily dissuaded.
  2. No exaggeration: we circled the entire arena more than once, frantically questioning every security guard on the premises. It was like a real life Dora the Explorer. Each Blue Jacket told us something different, but the general consensus was you are too late. They told us give up. There’s no way. It’s not happening. Impossible.
  3. By 6:40, both of us had accepted our fates. Dejected, sweating, and weary, we began our long walk back around to the box office. As we passed a large metal gate, Sarah decided to try one last time. She asked the security guard about the meet and greet, and he said, “Well, the lady in charge is right there,” and pointed to a thin, fashionable woman standing right behind us. Of course, after walking in circles and questioning everyone, we would find her standing right behind us.
  4. FancyPants was escorting some VIP guests through the gate, but told us she would check for our names and come back. We watched her–our last shred of hope–disappear through the gate. Then she stopped after twenty paces and turned back towards us. She’d found our names on her guest list. “Come with me,” she said. “You were really late and really lucky.”

Shocked by the sudden turn of events, we quickly and quietly followed her and the VIPs through a labyrinth of doors. One of us was almost in tears, overcome with relief and disbelief. Eventually, we approached a door, and Ms. FancyPants adamantly whispered “Okay, be very quiet!” We silently filed in and followed FancyPants’ inaudible instructions to sit on the floor. We were just in time to hear the last 20 seconds of Ed’s last song, and then line up for pictures.

Yes. Flustered, flushed, and smelling like we hadn’t showered in days (because we hadn’t) we were about to meet Ed Sheeran. Sarah went first with her fisheye camera, which seemed to be a bit much for Ed’s capabilities. He can handle a loop pedal fine, but add a fisheye lens to an iPhone and he’s lost. After 10 seconds of trying to explain the devise to him, Sarah offered to snap the picture.

ed sheeran cannedjello 4

Then, she gave him the beanie she’d made for him (she’s made a habit of giving musicians homemade hats). Oh, did you knit it? he asked. In case you didn’t know, the phrase “Knit it,” sounds about 100x more lovely in a British accent. Sarah eventually responded in the affirmative, although his accent + her hearing deficiencies and emotional state rendered her speechless for a few seconds.

At least she was able to formulate words. I was mute. We took our picture together, we smiled at each other, and I walked away. I think I might have said, “Thanks,” possibly. Not “My name is Emma,” or “Can I ha’ yo numba?” or “Will you sign my arm?” or anything. But hey: our picture looks like we are straight up BFFs, so there’s that.

ed sheeran cannedjello 4

Here’s the obligatory list of things I learned from this nearly-failed function:

  1. Leave early—We would have avoided a lot of stress and heard a whole lot more of his performance if we’d just left earlier.
  2. Never give up—It took us 40 minutes, many steps, and a lot of confusing conversations with security guards, but it was totally worth it.
  3. Have something to say—Just be sure it isn’t “Hey, could you perform Shake it Off?” One girl actually asked that. As if he goes around memorizing TSwift songs. N00b.
  4. Ed Sheeran and I make an oddly adorable couple—What would our couple name be? Edma? Sheelo? I guess we’ll never know. Here’s a conversation between Sarah and a mutual friend had about the Edma couple status. I’m still not sure how I feel about the “compliment.”


Sarah is always late, and I am always afraid to push for what I want. We both could benefit from growth in punctuality and pushiness, respectively. If we’d been on time, we wouldn’t have had to endure so much just to see Sheeran. Then again, maybe we wouldn’t have appreciated it as much as we did once we’d finally broken through the bars. Who knows. Either way, I know that I can learn from Sarah’s determination and persistence when she truly wants something. Too often, I’d rather not rock the boat, and instead I settle for giving up or giving in.

Want a spiritual application? I’d say my go-along-get-along mentality stops me from sharing Jesus and standing up for what is right as often as I should. It’s not just that I don’t stand up for myself, I don’t stand up for God. I’m more worried about pleasing other people than I am pleasing Him. I don’t pursue the truth single-mindedly. I need to be trying to get into heaven with the same dogged dedication that Sarah applied to that Meet-and-Greet.

Oh, and after the Meet-and-Greet Sarah tried to get us into the pit. “It never hurts to ask.”


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