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?