Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Value of Sad Music

Tear-soaked eyes, or certainly a soul tending that way, usher a time for the spirit to bathe in the sublimely sorrowful pleasure of the saddest music one can find – to simply play and cry to. For in this we somehow know our souls are ministered to, healed; set free.

I had a grandfather who I’m told simply loved to listen to classical music—even the instruments like the violin—and just weep. I’m sure it was a deeply spiritual experience for him, beyond even simple emotion.

Music that drags us out of the sullenness of anger and just reveals us for who we are, hurting for whatever reason, has a fervent solemnity about it. It is forever cherished in our hearts. It augments surrender, which is what we need—to surrender to our sense of bullish though proudly foolish courage to resist the healing we could otherwise have.

Some songs and music that currently take me to the emotional edge, where I can enter a vitally-healing spirituality, are:

1. Love is Blindness – U2.

2. The Lonely Shepherd – Zamfir & Last.

3. Annie’s Song – John Denver.

4. Brothers in Arms – Dire Straits.

5. I’m With You – Avril Lavigne.

There are many gospel songs that take me there too.

The point is, when we feel askew of life and hope there’s usually some simple things right there in our grasp that will help us restore our emotional equilibrium. It’s what we want. We don’t like being angry, lonely, anxious or depressed. We want to feel better.

And music can take us there, but it’s not by listening to happy songs, for we require empathy regarding our struggle. If it’s not a trusted other we can or want to call upon, music can fill the void. Indeed, when we feel lonely we often want to wallow in our loneliness, and this is far from pitiable.

Then Healing Occurs... Somehow

As we listen and we weep our tears in congruence with the solemn mood of the music, something occurs very deeply inside of us.

Christians liken this to the healing power of God—our Eternal Father and Friend—who heals us of these tribulations inexplicably. We cannot understand how it occurs, but it is God, just for that reason—it can’t be explained. It reaches the realm of the miraculous.

When we’re in pain we have the distinct need to be identified with. Often times this is all we need at the time... for our music to ‘sit shivah’ with us, the sweetly silent ‘words’ making their way to our core, to make it all better for us.

The weird thing is we can’t explain this process when we’re feeling good about ourselves, everything and our entire world. But, dark and melancholic music does have its role.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.


  1. I love to listen to sad music too, especially from when my mother was still alive, or from right after she died, the stuff my dad listened helps me through the grief....I just cannot listen to too much secular, the enemy has a way of sucking me under thru music.

    I LOVE U2 tho....their music has a good message and either makes you serious and think or it is feel good music....

    Thank you for all you do!!

  2. Thank you, Kimmy Lou, and I agree with you. Sad music is good but we need to measure our use of it with wisdom too.
    Thanks to for your encouragement.
    God bless you,


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