Learning to Breathe

I guess this is a blog worthy topic as well. This past Sunday, our English Congregation pastor announced that he’d be stepping down, effectively Jan 31st. You could tell something was imminent, what with his cryptic email he sent out about people making sure to be there this Sunday, with his message talking about the future of the congregation and his and his wife’s future, and yadada, and his whole message essentially being his life story about journeying from church to church up to the point when he made his announcement within the framework of his message. And sitting in that moment, I felt… absolutely nothing in the departments one would usually expect with such an announcement (in the scope of sadness, anger, hurt, pain, etc). Haha. I mean, I had the inkling that the winds of change were soon to be upon us, but I thought that “soon” was more like June/summer-ish, as opposed to right off the bat with the start of 2013. I think it’s for the best (I’m pretty sure having a wolf in sheep’s clothing is pretty damn detrimental for the sheep), even as most people are wary of having to go through another transitionary period, because the hurts and pains of dealing with the previous ones may not have been healed yet, or something. Perhaps it’s a side effect of having an Eng Cong pastor stay with us for nearly 2 decades, only to have the period following his departure marked by pastors coming in and out, never really fostering a feeling of community we once had before. (I’m a lil upset I can’t quite remember when he left, but I want to say it was my sophomore year of HS, b/c I think I remember his teaching our SS back in the day. It was one of the first times an authority figure had empowered us to teach the class and given us the responsibility usually not handed out to underclassmen. I’m pretty sure a lot of people liked him.) So that’s what’s happening at church. As for me and the church, that relationship between us is still something that’s up in the air. I have posts from xanga dating from Oct 2011 echoing the same exact thoughts, meaning I really haven’t made any progress in that department. Not to mention, that the thoughts and ideas existed long before I took the time to articulate such an entry on that date. It’s been a static thing.

Somewhat relevant, but also a tangent of sorts, is this little speech assignment I’ve got for tmrr, basically explaining the meaning behind our favorite song. And the issue of finding my favorite song actually took a lil longer than I expected, to which I just ended up choosing my ringtone, which I haven’t changed in so many years, even as I’ve switched phones every so often. “Learning to Breathe” by Switchfoot, was a song I heard from watching “A Walk to Remember,” a film that featured quite a number of Switchfoot songs. This band was also one of the first musical groups I ever listened to when I first started listening to Christian music and getting into music in general, seeing as how they had their roots in Christian music making, but also created songs that were able to go mainstream and be relevant and sound good to both demographics.  This song fits great for a ringtone not only because it has an excellent instrumental intro, but also because of the lyrics that make up this song.

With the combined knowledge of self-introspection (that’s redundant, isn’t it?) and the wide expanse that is the internet, there seems to be two prevailing trains of thought to this song. Using the title as a launching point, the general agreement is that the song is a message about rebirth, with the idea of learning being such a process that really belongs only to neophytes in any situation, and that breathing is such a basic function of living that one doesn’t really need to undergo any special training to know how to do so.

Hello, good morning, how ya do?
What makes your rising sun so new?
I could use a fresh beginning too
All of my regrets are nothing new

The first verse presents an image of beginning, with the expressions of “good morning” and “rising sun” depicting the image of a new day, coupled with the explicit showing of “fresh beginning,” one can be pretty sure of where you’re at, in terms of the imagery being presented. But yet, the final line of “all of my regrets are nothing new” alters the scope of this painting by bringing in the fact that one does have a past and regrets, and this baggage that one carries has been around for a while. And so here we are.

That I’m learning to breathe
I’m learning to crawl
I’m finding that You and
You alone can break my fall
I’m living again, awake and alive
I’m dying to breathe in these abundant skies

In looking to the chorus, it begins with the title of the song, and also paints another picture one would usually associate with a baby, at the very beginning stages of her life, before she can walk, she has to start out with crawling. And as she is able to master that, as her legs slowly gather the strength to support her entire body with just the bottom limbs, her first steps will be weak and shaky, and she’s bound to fall down at some point; this is only natural. But. There happens to be a someone, a “You, and You alone” who is able to break the fall. Which is where the two schools of thought seem to spring up, and is something I’ll get to in a second. Finishing up the chorus, the speaker now has new life, and is given the freedom to bask about in the “abundant skies” that await them. The interesting choice of diction where “dying” is juxtaposed against “living again” presents a strong degree of contrast, creating the feeling intensity, showing how far this 360 really has come. Or. One could argue about how the juxtaposition of “abundant skies” in view of a tiny insignificant person can be a suffocating image given the great expanse that lies before someone.

Hello, good morning how ya been?
Yesterday left my head kicked in
I never thought I  could fall like that
Never knew that I could hurt this bad

This second verse echoes the first verse in that the speaker is finally realizing what this gift of new beginnings has allowed, and that their mind is finally catching up to the situation in which they’ve found themselves in. The speaker makes mention of how they were unaware of how deep and far off they’ve gone before reaching this state of epiphany, after seeing how bad it feels to be at such a low. Nothing too much here I guess. Off to the bridge then.

So this is the way
that I say I need You
This is the way
That I say I love You
This is the way
That I say I’m Yours
This is the way
This is the way

Here is where the evidence  most people tend to cite for leaning one way or another. With the indisputable fact  that the speaker is so reliant/dependent on a singular person, the people have come to one of two conclusions. Neither one is necessarily more correct over the other, with both sides offering valid arguments, and I think that’s just awesome on Switchfoot’s part to be able to have such a simple song be able to affect people on different ends of the spectrum. On one hand, people have viewed this song as a rebirth/renewal that comes into play when one gets into a romantic relationship, in that living and life and all these experiences are made anew with this significant other. It’s quite a Romantic notion to bring about the idea that the speaker has cast everything in the past aside and come to lean on this new person in their life as they undertake this journey with them. Quite an awesome thought, but also borderline hopelessly Romantic. The other end of the interpretation gang is that this person is a “born-again” Christian, who’s newfound religion is teaching them to live life in a way they’ve never really experienced before. The entire episode of dependency comes at the idea of leaving everything up to God, a common theme in the Christian community (if not one of the more important ones).

Either way. There’s always a chance and a hope at a new beginning, and while the first baby steps are always the hardest (what with the crawling and falling and instability and uncertainty), I guess the hope for all of us is that there is some light at the end of the tunnel, and once we get there, once we’ve learned how to breathe once again, it’ll all be alright.

(Feels good to complete a blog entry and kill two birds with one stone in the sense that I’ve outlined what I aim to cover in my little spiel tmrr, hehz.)


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