Every person who has truly turned their life around can point to a moment when everything changed. It's a pivot point, a change in perspective. We all have many, but Glenn has been keeping one hidden for the past four and a half years - until tonight. What changed Glenn from a guy talking about politics and news to love and culture? Where did the "new Glenn Beck" come from?
For over four years, Glenn struggled with serious health issues. Stabbing pain in his hands and feet. Seizures. Ongoing issues with his vocal chords and eyesight. For years, the doctors couldn't explain exactly what was wrong or how to fix it. He had to make drastic changes to his life and his work. After a miraculous treatment he now has a clear bill of health, and with it a new perspective on his purpose in life. It's a long story, one he had kept hidden from all but a few of his closest confidants. But tonight, he told the full story to the audience and what has planned for the future.
Around the time of Restoring Honor, Glenn began to experience extreme pain in his extremities, as well as slight paralysis in his vocal chords and issues with his eyes. The doctors thought it was a painful form of neuropathy, but couldn't figure out how to solve the problem.
"My hands, feet, arms and legs feel like someone had just crushed them, or pushed broken glass into my feet," Glenn explained. "While I was at Fox the pain would get so bad that the crew worked out hand signals so they would know when to take the camera off of me."
"I went to doctor after doctor, each with a new finding and leaving me with more questions. I tried different diets, medications, and even moved to a warmer climate," he said. During a TBI test a year and a half ago, the results showed him functioning at a level that was below 10%. Doctors said if nothing changed, he would likely end up in a physical state comparable to Muhammed Ali.
The physical deterioration impacted all areas of his life. At work, Pat and Stu would have to carry on the radio show with no notice if he experienced an attack. In his personal life, Tania would have to help tie his shoes and button his shirt. Flying exacerbated the pain, and after one particularly bad episode Tania and Glenn's friends had to carry him into the hotel
"Out of it all, the worst part is what my wife went through," Glenn said. "It has taught me a ton and made our marriage amazing."
"My pivot point came one night shortly after returning home. We were all in the kitchen as a family and I had an attack. it put me on the ground with my family all around me. I saw their faces and the idea that I would someday not remember them nor would I remember my soon to be born grandchild hit me like I bag of bricks," Glenn said.
He found himself torn between a desire to dedicate what could be his final years of clarity to his family and the fact that the Lord hadn't told him to give up and stop. He always heard a quiet voice saying there was hope, that there could be a cure out there.
That hope became a reality at the Carrick Brain Center in Dallas, TX. After a few visits, the doctors found that Glenn was suffering from an auto immune disorder and adrenal fatigue. But they did more than diagnose the problem, they believed they could fix it. Glenn underwent a series of unconventional and experimental treatments. The tests were brutal and exhausting, but in the end Glenn took another TBI test and tested in 90% percentile.
"I have received a clean bill of health," Glenn said. For the past several years Glenn has been operating with essentially half a brain, but now "it is all back online."
Why does this matter? Why would Glenn reveal this intensely personal experience that his put his family, his friends, and his coworkers through incredible stress?
Many longterm viewers have noticed changes to the production of the show, but even more have noticed changes to the content of the show and to Glenn himself. Reaching out to those with different political viewpoints, bringing soccer balls and food to illegal immigrant children on the border, talking on and on about "culture" and "love" - several people in the audience have objected to some or all of these things over the past year. But these changes are a direct result of Glenn's health scare and his pivot point.
"When people were mad at me for thinking I didn't care anymore, I can't blame them. They expected me to be honest with them. For those who question why I have been saying we need to love one another, they didn't know that when you are faced with a real timeline of life, you begin to measure everything and its worth," Glenn said.
Glenn has come out the other end of this experience with a new perspective, a new message, and a new mission.
In the worst days of his health scare, Glenn looked for people who could replace him if the worst were to happen. Pat and Stu on radio, Dana and Buck Sexton on TV. But the hardest "role" to fill was that of the creative storyteller. Glenn has always been a creative force and a fountain of ideas and stories, and he needed to download those stories to someone who could take them and tell them in new and exciting ways if he couldn't do it.
During Restoring Love, he came across Ben McPherson, an artist and filmmaker who was managing one of the singers at the event. The two hit it off, and Glenn recruited him to come work at Mercury and head up the American Dream Labs. Ben agreed, and behind-the-scenes the two of them have been developing several film and television projects that embody the eternal theme of "love each other", but will be told in new and exciting ways.
"Maybe you didn't even notice, but I have been gone. And I am happy to say, I am back. But with all of this time - what do I spend it on? I have pivoted. I know what my life is about now and it isn't about money, fame, or division. It isn't about politics or a 5pm TV show that continues to highlight problems," Glenn said.
"I want to tell you what it is I need to accomplish in my lifetime," Glenn said. "We need to tell the stories of love and courage where the good guys win."
Over the three nights, Glenn will reveal more about the projects the American Dream Labs have been developing. They range from true history like the battle between Tesla and Edison, to new stories of Santa and "the greatest story ever told."
"What would you do tonight if you knew you wouldn't wake up in the morning?" Glenn asked. He charged the audience to unite on hope and courage, and he promised not to waste a moment of his second chance on life.