To search and (not) to find : I still haven’t found what I’m looking for – U2

Last week I went to a convention of the Protestant Church in Germany called „Churchday“. It was actually a really big happening of 5 days with prayers and services, concerts of all kinds, workshops and discussions including some prominent political leaders like the Chancellor Angela Merkel. The age of the attendants varied from baby to seniors, everyone was in a good mood and the sun lit up the wonderfully rebuilt city of Dresden in Germany’s east. People of all denominations and beliefs talked to each other and discussed questions such as: who are we, where do we come from, where do we go and what should we do with our lives?

It was actually more about the questions than about the answers, because they are indeed hard to find. But the search is what matters, talking to each other and trying to understand the other’s points of view.

The song “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for” from the album “The Joshua Tree” (1988) by the Irish rock band U2 (you may read the lyrics here and watch a video here ) is also about searching and (not yet) finding:

I have climbed the highest mountains, I have run through the fields… I have run, I have crawled,I have scaled these city walls”.

It is not quite clear what they have been looking for. „Only to be with you” – sounds like a love song, doesn’t it? The further course of the lyrics reinforces this idea: „I have kissed honey lips, felt the healing in her finger tips, it burned like fire this burning desire”. Being with the one you love is the aim of any love song, but also the disappointment which often comes with this experience – here, too: „But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for“. It looks like the love for another person wasn’t able to fill the void.

Trying out the good and the evil – “I have spoken with the tongue of angels, I have held the hand of a devil” – hasn’t done the job either: „It was warm in the night, I was cold as a stone“. It doesn’t feel right, something is missing and again: „But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.

What follows is a creed of Christian essentials –„ I believe in the Kingdom come… You broke the bonds and you loosened the chains, carried the cross of all my shame”. The band U2 is known for their Christian orientation which also leads to their social and political commitment. In the end all the questions and possible answered that now divide humanity will come together : „Then all the colors will bleed into one, bleed into one” – what a beautiful picture.

And yet: although they state “you know I believe it” there are still doubts. The song ends with the words „I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.

I like that. Even being a Christian you can have your doubts. The dialogue is more important to me than insisting on your own opinion. To me this is more convincing than the conviction of those who always have the right answers and no doubts. How would they know?

 

 

 

What is it with America? Hollywood Hills – Sunrise Avenue

Sunrise Avenue – Hollywood Hills from Anorak Agency on Vimeo.

I have to admit: I like America. This is rather unusual for people of my political opinion in Germany. Since I travelled to the US for the first time as a 13-year-old girl I have been fascinated by this beautiful country – and every following visit has increased my enthusiasm. It’s the breathtaking landscapes: Grand Canyon, the Rockies, Great Lakes, the deserts but also vibrant cities such as San Francisco or especially New York.

As I have only been there for holidays, the American people are still somewhat of a mystery for me as a German. They definitely seem to “be wired differently”, which is completely understandable as we have made quite different experiences in our past. This has become obvious once again during the last week when the news about Osama Bin Laden’s death spread around the world. While Americans cheered and celebrated, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel was heavily criticized for using the word “joy” in this context. Well, I don’t want to go into this matter any deeper for the moment…

The song “Hollywood Hills” (song lyrics can be read here) by the Finnish rock band Sunrise Avenue is very popular in Germany at the moment. It deals with memories of a good time in the Californian city of Los Angeles. Not that I think that this is one of the most beautiful places in the US – but of course it is famous for its music and film industry and all the hype around its stars and celebrities. It seems to be a place full of  sun, fun, love: “Now this is not the time or the place for a broken-hearted, ’cause this is the end of the rainbow where no one can be too sadThank you for the morning walks on the sweet Sunset and for the hot night moments, for the fantasy in my bed”.

What I can definitely understand is  missing a place, dreaming of it, hoping to come back one day: „Bye bye, Hollywood Hills, I’m gonna miss you, where ever I go, I’m gonna come back to walk these streets again. Bye bye, Hollywood Hills forever.”

Sunrise Avenue seem to have enjoyed their stay, but Europe, their home country, is calling them back: No I don’t wanna leave but I must keep moving ahead ’cause my life belongs to the other side behind the great ocean’s waves.” There might even be a love story involved but life has taught them: „Long distance love doesn’t work … No I don’t wanna go, I don’t wanna go.”

Anyway, they have to leave – but:I take part of you with me now and you won’t get it back and a part of me will stay here, you can keep it forever, dear.”

Having lived for 7 years abroad in Australia, I know what this feels like: you leave something behind, you take something with you, you lose a bit of yourself and you change as a person.

Now what is it with America and the American Dream? As I said: for me it’s the natural beauty, the open spaces, the many possibilities – and this includes some colorful, crazy variety, the extremes that fascinate and challenge me. Yes, I guess I could say: America is one of my dream countries.

Which one is yours?