#69: U2: I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For: 1987: From The Joshua Tree Album.
Image Credit to: David L Little: Photographer. Mojave Desert, from 14 Feb, 2022. The Joshua Tree (U2’s 5th album). A Bronze memorial set in concrete by some fans on their own accord…
My first job out of high school was as a shop assistant in a family run shoe store. I earned the princely sum of $19.90 a week. My bosses had a daughter in her mid to late 20s who had for the past few years been living the dream overseas; travelling and working. There was great joy when she announced her engagement to an Irish chappie and she was on her way home to plan their wedding. All the arrangements were made, the invitations were sent out and all the staff, along with many others, were invited to the happy event. As the date drew nearer, the groom-to-be had not yet arrived, there was a hold up with Visas, so the wedding date was postponed. As the days drew into weeks and more weeks it became obvious that this wedding was not to be. I am pretty sure there were broken hearts all round, but honesty is always to be applauded and it seems to me that when honesty is applied, the end result is actually the best.
Because you see, living just down the road from our young lady, was a very good man who had for many years admired her from afar. As children they had played together and over the years as they both grew into adulthood, he had followed her with interest as she tripped from one overseas location to another. I expect you can guess what happened, in due course he made his feelings clear and the couple were married in a much simpler but beautiful wedding, to which the staff were not invited. As always the proof is in the pudding and this couple have had a happy almost 5 decades of marriage.
This is the message of U2s’, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, sometimes what we are looking for is right under our noses but our vision is fixed on dreams and sights much further away. These lyrics could refer to the search for love but they can also refer to the spiritual quest. There is a distinct reference to Jesus: I believe in the kingdom… you broke the bonds and you loosed the chains but for U2 the search was still going on.
At the time of compiling the Joshua Tree album, U2 were listening to Gospel music for inspiration and some of the tracks have an almost cathedral music sound. Bono would introduce I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, as “A kind of gospel song with a restless spirit.”https://www.songfacts.com/facts and I guess it is this restless spirit that keeps on searching.
Which brings me to the story behind the Joshua Tree. The Joshua Tree is actually not a tree but a succulent desert plant; it is a member of the yucca family. Early Morman settlers named it the Joshua Tree as a reference to the battle Joshua won because Moses held his arms out -stretched as God had instructed, when Moses became tired Aaron and Hur supported his arms so that Joshua could be victorious. The Joshua Tree is a symbol of the strength, beauty and victory that can come out of adversity. You can read about this in Exodus 17.
My dear friend, David Little, a good bloke and magnificent photographer lives in Cordova, Alaska. Earlier this year he went to the Mojave Desert to find the memorial to U2. He is pictured below at the desert memorial to U2, some items left as a memory, & the Joshua tree in the photo that no longer stands – it was thought to be over 200 years old & collapsed of natural causes… Yours truly surveying the scene.…
Image Credit to: David L Little: Photographer. Mojave Desert
I have had the opportunity to climb the Areopagus (Mars Hill) in Athens and stand where the Apostle Paul stood, with the Mediterranean Sea behind him and the Acropolis before him. He told the Athenians that he noted they were very religious because they had a pagan god for everything and even an inscription to an unknown god. Paul told them this God needs nothing from us for he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. This God wants us to seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ Well, I reckon that is pretty close, right under our noses in fact and I would beg you not to miss Him while your vision is fixed on dreams and sights much further away. You can read about this in Acts 17:16-34
Mars Hill from my own pics.
2 replies to “The Songs We Will Sing.”
True in life. We spend our time searching for what may, in fact, be right under our noses. That’s also true with Photography. People travel far and wide seeking amazing images when amazing things are practically at hand if one will take effort to look closely.
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Hey David. Thank you for your comment. I think it is the big secret of life. To open our eyes and be thankful for what we already have. In some cases it pays to be a little short sighted. Keep your pics coming as they bring so much joy to us all. God bless.