Brian Bailey Preface to the Revised Edition

Leave It Behind

Fidelity One of the many wonderful presents I received at Christmas was the book, U2 By U2, a history of the band in their own words. I have to say that the photos and stories about each song, album and tour are completely fascinating. In one of my favorite sections, Bono tells the story of Walk On from All That You Can't Leave Behind. If you've ever been curious where the name of this blog comes from and what it means, look no further...

It's a song about nobility and personal sacrifice, about doing what's right, even if your heart is telling you otherwise. The spoken intro gave us the title for our new album: And love is not the easy thing / The only baggage that you can bring / Is all that you can't leave behind. Love, in the highest sense of the word, is the only thing that you can always take with you, in your heart. At some point you are going to have to lose everything else anyway.

There's a passage in Corinthians that uses the image of a house going through a fire, and it seems to suggest that when, in death, we eventually face judgment, all that is made of straw and wood will be burned away, only the eternal things will survive. For me, those things are family and friendship, abstract things, they're not the things that you make. So at the end of the song, there is a litany of ambitions and achievements. You've got to leave it behind / All that you fashion / All that you make / All that you build / All that you break / All that you measure / All that you steal / All this you can leave behind... It is a mantra, really, a bonfire of the vanities, and you can throw anything you want on the fire.

Whatever it is that you want more than love, it has to go. That's a really interesting question to ask: What are the things you want more than love?

That was the inspiration for this site 801 posts ago. Like all good things, though, it can become just one more thing, built of straw and wood, that draws me away from the eternal rather than closer. That's the question I'm asking myself as I approach the third year anniversary of Leave It Behind on April 1.