“One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art in conducting oneself in lower regions by memory of what one has seen higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know.” – Rene Daumal
U2 released the song I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For in 1987 just as I was graduating from high school. The song filled me with a longing that seemed perfectly appropriate for a young woman in the summer before she headed off to college.
In this summer 35 years later, I’ve heard the song probably as many times in close repetition as I did in 1987 because my kids are crazy about the movie Sing 2 in which I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For figures prominently.
And the song hits me just as deeply, filling me with yearning. Which might be chalked up to nostalgia for those carefree days of youth. But it also strikes me that our capacity to yearn is also something that is uniquely human. Our thirst for depth, purpose and God surfaces in some sort of repetition as we traverse our days, and it drives us to look for more or dares us to try to dismiss it.
I have climbed highest mountainI Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For by U2
I have run through the fields
Only to be with you
Only to be with you
But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for
No I still haven’t found what I’m looking for
The poetry of the first verse reminds me that I have experienced much that my young self never saw coming including climbing to the tops of mountains. And indeed, I started climbing because of that deep yearning inside, a God whisper that I told me I needed to look.
When I first heard the song, I thought I would have it all figured out by the time I was 53 years old. Heck, I thought I would have it all figured out by 23. My young idealism and optimism would never have predicted that yearning can last a lifetime through the highs when I’ve wondered, “Is this all?” and the lows when I’ve groveled, “Please let there be more.”
In the moments when I experience the Oneness of all, the yearning quiets. And then the next moment I stub my toe or spill the milk and the desire to restore that unity returns with vigor. I’ve found much of my purpose in the busy and joyful days full with my two precious children and still want more. I get up early in order to find the stillness in which I can hear. I stop the car at the top of the hill to take a picture because the sky speaks to me. I write in order to keep pulling and finding the thread of awe, wonder and Divinity.
All this leaves me saying to my 18-year-old self, “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for” but I have figured out that I’m not meant to because the yearning itself has meaning. I have moments of enlightenment and feel peace. I hear echoes of Universal truth and I know it’s real. Now I know it’ll keep opening my eyes to look for Divine beauty all the way til the very end.
(He will lift you higher and higher)I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For by songwriters: Clayton Adam, Evans David, Mullen Laurence, Hewson Paul David
(He’ll pick you up when you fall) I believe
(He’ll be your shelter from the storm)
I believe in a kingdom come
Then all the colors will bleed into one
Bleed into one
(featured photo is sunrise on Mt. Adams)
Are you a U2 fan or have you seen the movie Sing 2? Have you found what you are looking for?