"I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For"

Hank Mattimore
Dec. 15, 2006
Reproduced with Permission

"I have run, I have crawled, I have scaled these city wallsÉ But I still haven't found what I'm looking for." --Lyrics from a U-2 song

The popular Irish Rock group has contributed some beautiful music to this generation but no song more hauntingly beautiful than this one, "But I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For." The refrain speaks to our human condition, our yearning to be more than we are, to fulfill our longing for happiness while, at the same time, acknowledging that we are not there yet and perhaps will never realize the dreams that lie buried within us.

In that sense, it is a sad song, asking us to accept a difficult truth about ourselves. Despite our best efforts, we will never arrive at perfect contentment in our lives. St.Augustine, approaching this longing in our souls from the perspective of a man of God, spoke to this same human restlessness in his Confessions when he said, "Our hearts were made for Thee, O Lord, and will never rest until they rest in Thee."

But this yearning in our soul is not necessarily connected with any religious belief at all. It springs from the deepest recesses of our hearts, be we monk or atheist. Our longing is an integral part of what makes us human.

While those of us in the autumn of our lives may respond most readily to the search for meaning in our lives, we are not the only ones who experience that we "still haven't found what we're looking for." Younger generations also know what it is to realize that despite their best efforts, there is always something missing in their lives. Far from being immune to our human angst, youth is more vulnerable than older people are. We oldsters have at least the benefit of life experience to know there are peaks and valleys in our journey through life, that light the does follow the darkness, a knowledge hidden to the young and inexperienced.

The poet Robert Browning saw in our unfulfilled yearning for happiness in this life, a harbinger of a better life to come. "Ah, a man's reach should exceed his grasp or what's a heaven for." Believers have always held out this hope for a peace that is attainable in another life, a life that transcends anything we have ever experienced on earth.

Most of us do believe or try to believe in some kind of afterlife even though we are pretty hazy over what it will be like, but meanwhile all we can do is make the most of the life we have. Because, you know something? What we have is pretty darn precious. No, we will never have ALL we are searching for in this life but one of life's great secrets is using our brain and our heart to appreciate what we do have.

The aroma of fresh popcorn, the taste of hot apple pie, the sound of good music, the warm fuzzy feeling you get from watching two young people in love, the glow you receive when you know you have done something right, the thrill you experience at your grandbaby's first smile, feeling the soft spring rain upon your face, a hug from an understanding friend. These are pretty cool things. And they are part of our here and now.

It would be a shame if in yearning for what we don't have, we forget to enjoy what we have. Don't you think?