Why do we need sad songs?

On the way home from WV last week, I put in my “Best of Fleetwood Mac” cd after Joseph woke up. He just turned 2, mind you. On disc one, tracks #14 and 15 played “Landslide” and “Songbird” respectively. As Christine McVie began to sing “Songbird”, Joseph commented, “. . . sad song . . .” Even a two-year old can hear the difference between happiness and sadness – his life already contains both. Here are the two songs that we listened to and they both speak about getting old and dying, and losing someone you dearly love, and the sadness of it all. After the songs, I have a few things to say.


Here are a few reasons why we need these songs:

1. Because we need others to know when we’re sad. When someone writes a sad song we are comforted by their empathy – they also know the dark days and they know that you have them too.

2. Because it’s ok to be sad. If you are never sad it’s because you refuse to take an honest look at life. So much of our culture does not permit deep sadness, but fills up the days with more and more silliness as a distraction. This is not healthy for us.

3. Because we need to cry. It’s good for the body and the spirit. It’s part of what it means to be human and it’s part of what it means to be an emotionally, healthy person.

4. Because we know that happiness has an opposite. When someone is hurting you do not laugh. You cannot eat popcorn at the side of a hospital bed. Tears are the only appropriate response to many things in this life, and it is dishonest and unloving to rejoice with those who weep.

5. Because we instinctively know there is something seriously wrong with our world. Sadness works like a billboard for our minds – it tells us that this is not the way it’s supposed to be.

6. Because we long for a time and a place where there will never be things that draw out tears again. Which is why I’m not going to trust anyone else other than Jesus when it comes to my future happiness and joy. I don’t trust Charles Taze Russell or Mary Baker Eddy or Confucius or Joseph Smith or Tom Cruise or Dr. Phil or Dick Clark or Johnny Carson or Joel Osteen. Christ alone and those who faithfully represent Christ have the only answer for my sadness (Psalm 42 and Revelation 21:4)

I am very thankful that this sad song has been mercifully postponed by the Lord, for now.

I love you dad!

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