[Warning: Unusual amount of self-reflection and navel-gazing is about to follow. Feel free to click to the next blog in your feed reader.]
It’s been probably 20 years since I could say that I liked U2’s song “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” The version with the choir from Rattle and Hum was way overplayed, and I basically became apathetic toward the song at that time and have stayed that way ever since. Before seeing any of the shows on U2’s current tour, I was talking with a friend named Donna and we both agreed that “I Still Haven’t Found…” is a song we’d just as soon not hear again, even though we both knew that U2 has been playing it at every show.
I’ve now seen three shows on this tour, and guess what song has brought me to tears at each one?
Yep. That one.
Now, it’s not at all unusual for me to cry at a U2 show. I can count on one hand the number of shows that didn’t bring me to tears. (Look, I’ve got almost 30 years of my life invested in this band and these songs. I’ve been loyal to them since 1983 and no other band has even come close to having the same meaning for me. This is the soundtrack of my life.)
It is unusual for me to get hit hard by this song, though. It seems to happen at the same point each time: When Bono sings the line “Yes, I’m still running”:
I believe in the kingdom come
Then all the colors will bleed into one
Bleed into one
Well, yes, I’m still running
You broke the bonds and you
Loosed the chains
Carried the cross
And my shame
All my shame
You know I believe it
For some reason, that line is packed with all kinds of emotion for this 41-year-old. I keep thinking about it, and I think that line says a lot about where I am right now: trying to be a great husband, trying to be a great dad, trying to be a great friend, trying to be a great Christian. Trying to set the right examples for my kids, my friends (the ones who need it), my sisters, relatives, peers, and so forth.
Realizing that your life is probably more than half over seems to refocus everything. I cherish the Good Things more than ever. I have less and less patience for pettiness, silliness, and stupidity.
Those lyrics remind me about how blessed I am. They remind me of the sacrifice of the cross. He did that for me. Me! (And you, too, by the way.) They remind me how great life is, especially the past four years. I get to work from home. I get to see my kids and my wife every day. I get to do what I love for a living. I get to run a U2 web site that reaches people on every populated continent and I get to do it with some of my best friends. Every so often I get to hear — face-to-face, fan to fan — how much that site means to other U2 fans, and it’s the most amazingly humbling thing imaginable. I got to hear that last weekend in Raleigh. I also got to hear those lyrics again, during one of the best U2 concerts I’ve ever been to — a night that was filled with unexpected blessings that no one deserves, certainly not me.
But those lyrics also remind me that, in the grand scheme of things, there’s still so much ahead. I’m going to send my son off to college in 7 years, and my daughter four years later. Then it’s me and Cari time again. We’ll work. Will we move? Will we travel? I hope. Will we be healthy? I really hope! The kids will get married. We’ll have grandkids, and then it all starts again … this time trying to be a great grandparent.
Yes, I’m still running. Probably always will be. You know I believe it.