Learn To Fly
If you pushed me to name my favorite rock band, I might waver a bit before telling you, but ultimately would finally say, "Foo Fighters."
Since I'm being open about things, I would name Foo Fighters my favorite rock band mainly because of the band's lead singer, primary songwriter, and founder, Dave Grohl.
Dave Grohl is just an extraordinary human. Not only is he a great musician and songwriter, but he's also been in two bands inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Nirvana and Foo Fighters.
He's also personal friends with Paul McCartney, has performed in front of Presidents, won Grammy's, and overcame incredible odds, tragedies, and emotional struggles. And he still finds joy and wonder in the world with great humility.
In case you're wondering, I have a man crush on Dave Grohl.
I got to see the Foo Fighters when they performed in Las Vegas in 2019, and it was one of the best shows I've ever seen and one of the great spiritual experiences I've had at a concert.
One of my favorite Foo Fighters songs is "Learn to Fly."
I love the song so much that I decided to emulate Dave Grohl and get a feather tattoo on my arm (he has one on each of his) to remind me of the lyrics from the song that really speak to me:
Now, I'm lookin' to the sky to save meLookin' for a sign of lifeLookin' for somethin' to help me burn out brightAnd I'm lookin' for a complicationLookin' cause I'm tired of lyin'Make my way back home when I learn to fly high
This song was on replay for many road trips I took over the summer and has continued to find its way into my playlists. Those lyrics speak to me of faith, hope, Divine providence, life's purpose, and so much more.
Then I heard Dave Grohl talk about what the lyrics meant to him when he wrote them. In an interview, he stated, "I just always wanted to be a pilot."
I've written and read enough poetry and other stuff to know that there's always something more underneath the artist's stated reasons why they wrote a particular thing.
I suspect the same is true for Grohl and "Learn to Fly" as well. There's more to the story because there's more in the lyrics.
Even in his simple statement about just wanting to be a pilot, there is a lot that Grohl was feeling and expressing when he wrote the song.
You see, when fans like me sing along with "Learn to Fly," we are undoubtedly filled with our sense of how the words land on us, the images they conjure in our imagination, and our unique longing for more.
Because in the end, every one of us longs to fly, to trip the light fantastic, soar high above the brokenness of our lives, and maybe even touch the face of God.
Scripture and other holy texts created by inspired people to express their divinely imprinted longings work this way, too. The words land on us where we are and call us to imagine something more.
Despite how or when they were written, those words have the power to inspire us, fill us with dreams, and keep us wanting to learn to fly if we are willing to let them.
The 13th-century poet Rumi put it like this:
God has createdyour wings not to be dormant
as long as you are alive
you must try more and more
to lift your wings to show you're alive.
May you lift your wings today and every day, inspired by the words you read and hear from saints of yesteryear and poets of today. May you learn to fly in your faith and in your life.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and forever. Amen.