The Banks for Your River

The banks of a river or the shores of a sea are often the backdrop where desperate people find unexpected rescue from a threatening, watery grave.

You can imagine the suspenseful music as every strained muscle of their arms and legs fight through the water, until the triumphant grasp of their hand touches grass, a branch, mud or sand.

Sometimes, there can also be strong arms waiting to pull them out the rest of the way.

Whether this life-threatening moment is portrayed in the cinema, a literary work, or in real-life, we all know the anxious moments that follow will be waiting to hear their deep gasps for air as the weary body finally reaches solid ground.

There is a frantic need to breathe…

The exhaustion of their battle has been overwhelming and every inch of their being has been stretched beyond the limits previously unfathomable.


As I stood on the banks of a great river two years ago, I was amazed at how swift and strong the current was, even close to the banks. This was no leisurely flow of water, but a force of nature that would show no mercy to anything or anyone caught in its spinning tunnels below the surface.

March 2019

The liquid, foamy swirls and rapid changes in water direction convinced me to take a few steps back. I knew I was perfectly safe, but my heart still fluttered at the thought of leaning in too close for a photo.

This quickly moving water reminded me of an occasional dream (or nightmare) I’ve had that always involves rising flood water, drowning, or a giant wave I will never outrun.


So, river banks…how did we end up here? Most bodies of water I mention are next to a sandy beach.

I keep screenshots of all the songs I’d like to write about. When I hear the lyrics, the best trick for my fading memory is to grab a snapshot on my phone, so I can come back to it later.

A few weeks ago, I happened upon the song, Banks. Before I knew it, I was exploring years of albums and realizing I’ve been missing out on so many great songs by Needtobreathe.

Banks…

I wanna be there when the darkness closes in

To make the truth a little clearer

I wanna hold you close but never hold you back

I’ll be the banks for your river

needtobreathe

The lyrics made my heart ache for an emotional and spiritual boundary for my river of emotions, just like the steady ground had provided a safe place to stand while I walked beside the river.

I began to work on a music playlist titled, “A Friend in Need.”

That same day, a random text message exchange reconnected me to long-time and precious friend. She’s really one-of-a-kind and I found myself confiding in her about things that I had not revealed to many other people.

To my surprise, I was not alone in my anxious sorrow, as the personal story she recounted was similar to my own struggles. I had no idea of the mountain she was climbing. There were jagged rocks, uneven terrain and the fear of the unknown as she pressed on through her journey.

I promised to share my playlist, which would include the song, Banks.


I’ve treaded in invisible water for a long time now. I know how it feels to have strong arms lift you by their secure grip.

I know the stability of an embrace which can diminish all fear from that raging water.

I also know what it’s like to wash upon the shoreline, coughing out water to catch your breath, only to find no one is there to help.

There’s nothing particularly deep and inspirational about this song. It’s just one that earned a spot on the soundtrack of my stories because a few of the lyrics remind me…of me.

Listen here:

BANKS

NEEDTOBREATHE

🎶 Lyrics

I wanna be there when the voices in your head
Are loud enough to make you lose your mind
Just the same when you’re dominating the day
I wanna be the one who’s by your side

You know my love is not the jealous type
It doesn’t matter if we win or lose
Oh, I could stay or I could come no matter where you’re coming from
I can be the one to let you choose

I wanna hold you close but never hold you back
Just like the banks to the river
And if you ever feel like you are not enough
I’m gonna break all your mirrors

I wanna be there when the darkness closes in
To make the truth a little clearer
I wanna hold you close but never hold you back
I’ll be the banks for your river, I’ll be the banks for your river
(Oh, ooh) I’ll be the banks for your river

You are beautiful and wild at every turn
Who am I to take control of that
But everybody needs a voice they can follow
When the water and the winds get bad

You know my love is not the jealous type
And it don’t matter if we win or lose
Oh, I could push or I could pull
No matter what you’re trying to do
As long as I can flow along with you

(Oh) I wanna be there when the darkness closes in
To make the truth a little clearer
(Oh) I wanna hold you close but never hold you back
I’ll be the banks for your river

Baby, I ain’t saying that you need my help
But you don’t have to do it all by yourself
So baby when the current gets strong
And you need somewhere to rest your bones
I wanna be there for you
I wanna be strong for you

I wanna be there when the darkness closes in
To make the truth a little clearer
I wanna hold you close but never hold you back
I’ll be the banks for your river


Songwriters: Nathaniel Rinehart / Trent Dabbs / William RinehartBanks lyrics © Downtown Music Publishing, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.


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