the soundtrack of sorrow

sountrack of sorrow

There’s a mysterious power in tones and rhythms; a sort of shortcut to the soul.

Sometimes, music can take us to places that words alone never could.

Often, I need a Soundtrack of Sorrow to more fully feel. Grief and loss can stay bound up behind to-dos and busyness and noise. But music suspends the shoulds and lets me grieve. It gives a whole rest.

The Bible itself contains these types of soundtracks: Psalms of Sorrow and expressive Laments. They are powerful, emotive, and not to be dismissed.

Mourning is a deeply human, soul-level response to The Fall and its repercussions: death, separation, loneliness. And sometimes, to deal with all that, I need music.

What’s on your Soundtrack of Sorrow? Here are a few of the tracks on mine…

These choices might  not make sense to you. That’s ok, ’cause they’re on my Soundtrack of Sorrow, not yours. These songs remind me of my mother, and when I listen to these tracks, I see her at the piano, or sitting on the couch with her worn-out guitar. I see her crying in the kitchen after the death of her third baby.

These tracks remind me of my dad. Of happy times long since gone, and lazy Saturdays with grass and baseball; they remind me of Casey’s cookies and how he always bought a Butterfinger and a Diet Coke.


Over time, I’ve added songs to the list. Songs unknown to my parents but deeply known to me:

This last one was sort of my mom’s cancer anthem. As I drove her back and forth from oncology appointments, we listened to Fernando Ortega. My dying mother in the front seat next to me, my baby brother in his car seat in the back. Not your normal teen experience, but it was mine.

Do you have a Soundtrack of Sorrow? What’s on it?

3 thoughts on “the soundtrack of sorrow

  1. Wow. Powerful words. Fernando is still one of my favorites. Music moves and speaks to our hearts when there are no words to reach the depth of pain.

  2. Thanks for this post Jonathan. Here are a few from my Soundtrack of Sorrow. Again, they won’t make sense to everyone…

    Autumn Leaves- Eva Cassidy
    Make you feel my love- Adele
    Feeling Good- Nina Simone
    There is a hope- Stuart Townend
    My troubled soul- Robert Critchley
    My hope rests firm- Kingsway Music
    Be strong and courageous- Colin Buchanan
    The Lord is King- Colin Buchanan

    Also, this poem by Sarah Teasdale

    I thought of you and how you love this beauty,
    And walking up the long beach all alone
    I heard the waves breaking in measured thunder
    As you and I once heard their monotone.

    Around me were the echoing dunes, beyond me
    The cold and sparkling silver of the sea —
    We two will pass through death and ages lengthen
    Before you hear that sound again with me.

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