Monday, February 16, 2009

A Story For Robyn Hanson

This story, the kind of thing that happens a lot around here, is in response to a comment that Robyn made to a prior blog post.

One morning whilst in the north, I occasioned to find myself taking a 30 mile ride into the bush on the back of a flatbed truck laden with cargo and locals who had been shopping in town. We sat or stood packed between crates, jugs of cooking oil, chickens, and a very valuable solar panel.

My traveling companions had found it funny to highlight to the locals how different I was, my being the first white person they had ridden in the back of a truck with. 'He does not eat with his hands', 'Without lotion his skin will turn bright red in the sun', 'He has never taken a wife', and the final, most shocking one, 'He does not know the lord and does not believe in god'. The Ugandans in the truck gasped and looked at me like a devil worshipper. The friendly woman beside me looked at me with pity. The children hid their chickens from my gaze.

Satisfied that she had alienated me, my companion started singing a gospel song and many of the travelers joined in. I, of course, didn't know the words. After a while the song was finished and my companion decided to twist the knife; "Adams, surely you know ONE gospel song. Why don't you sing it with us?"

In that moment of clarity I started singing 'I Still Haven't Found What I Am Looking For' by U2. Though I didn't know all the versus, and I mixed up the ones I did, I knew enough to lead everyone, church choir style, through the song. We sped through the savannah, under fluffy clouds and the bright equitorial sun, barely interrupted by the huge bumps in the road, whole-heartedly blasting the words of Bono to the countryside.

When we finished, the woman beside me, who had been so cold only moments earlier, turned beaming and said "Adams, I cannot believe that you do not know de lawd, your spirit, it is so whole! I can tell"!



  1. Ah, I love it! What a great little scene; this has had me smiling for the last 30 minutes. 'And the chickens were hid from his gaze', LOL...Of course, Adam, there is actually a Church of Bono somewhere in the north-east USA, where they worship every sunday to the sound of U2...

    Of course she could tell that your spirit is whole, insightful woman!

    (By the way, hi Robyn)

  2. So you did, in the end, experience a fraction of that musical joy. Well done! That is truly one of the best mental images I have from your blog so far, and there have indeed been many.

    (By the way, hi Sharon!)

  3. I have run I have crawled
    I have scaled these city walls, these city walls...
    But I still haven't found what I'm looking for
    But I still haven't found what I'm looking for
    I have kissed honey lips
    Felt the healing fingertips
    It burned like fire, this burning desire
    I have spoke with the tongue of angels
    I have held the hand of a devil
    It was warm in the night, I was cold as a stone
    But I still haven't found what I'm looking for
    But I still haven't found What I'm looking for
    I believe in the Kingdom Come
    then all the colors will bleed into one
    bleed into one
    But yes I'm still running.
    You broke the bonds
    And you loosened the chains
    Carried the cross
    And my shame