The theme of this year's 4 Corners Festival is Breathe... In the intensity of the times we are inviting everyone to take a deep breath and join us in our explorations of mental health, prayer and embodied breath, racism, abuse, creation care, and more. Help us breathe out hope in troubling times.

This song came to mind as I pondered the festival's theme. We had the privilege last year of having a Gary Lightbody interview as part of the Festival. This Snow Patrol song uses breathing as a way to find equilibrium in difficult moments.

I think that this is one of Belfast band’s most complete song. The stripped down version on BBC Radio 2: The Piano Room reeks out even more poignancy. It takes the emotional tenderness of Run and Crashing Cars, gives it that Snow Patrol anthemic swell and then adds the ingredients that make it a song for a healthy soul.

It is very much a pastoral song in my idea of that entity. That first listen came at a time when a good friend was going through a dark night of the soul and all I could think about was that this was everything I wanted to tell her. I immediately linked it with U2’s Stuck In A Moment but felt that it went further and deeper.

Keeping it in my friend’s scenario, Bono speaks about the situation itself and asks my friend to look beyond the moment, see beyond the horizontal walls pressing in and rise above the moment to see a more hopeful future. I think that that can be good advice, and I have used it, but Gary Lightbody’s lyric hits a deeper spot.

Lightbody targets my friend’s life itself and asks her to look not at a wider perspective of time beyond the moment but at a wider perspective within herself right now. She is more than this one dimension of her soul that is being oppressed. This heartache, deep and damaging as it is, is only part of who she is. Focusing on the other aspects of her life might be that which keeps her on her feet to find that happier day: -

“Then in one little moment

It all implodes

This isn't everything you are

Breathe deeply in the silence

No sudden moves

This isn't everything you are

Just take the hand that’s offered

And hold on tight

This isn't everything you are

There's joy not far from here

I know there is

This isn't everything you are.”

There is that practical advice that gives a nod to this year's 4 Corners Festival theme.  In the midst of whatever is sweeping over us there is a warning to not to do anything rash. I have used this with people in the midst of dilemmas that are straining the relationship between their head and heart. "Breathe deep... No sudden moves". Breathe in... breathe out... feel the breathe of God... find calm and ease your way through whatever it is with prayer and reflection until you find all those other more wonderful things that you are.


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