A personal story about crying, sadness and healing music

Sofie Sandell

Photographer Asya Barskaya.

In the latest episode of Kropp och Själ (it means body and soul), a Swedish radio programme, they share one of my stories in the end. They were discussing the power of crying, and I shared a story with them over email, which they read out. Here it is in English.

Years back I had a huge need to cry. I had gone through a horrible experience. I felt empty inside and wanted a cry, a good cry, a healing cry, but it was hard to let the tears come.

During this period I was invited to a spring concert to see my friend’s daughter’s choir.

I’ve never been a big crier. Some of my friends cry all the time, and I envy them. I cry when I watch a sad movie or when someone I know has died. Now I was in need of healing tears, tears that would help me to be able to move on.

I sat down in the church and thought to myself that I should get a napkin just in case. I didn’t know anyone except my friend and her daughter. I sat down, and said hi to the person in front of me. I had no idea what to expect.

The sermon started and the minister of the church spoke, and soon it was time for the choir to perform.

They started singing. My whole body resonated with the melody, rhythm and words. They had picked songs about purpose and the complexity that life brings with it. I started to cry and it was as if my tears would never end. All the pain that was inside came spilling out. It was a silent cry.

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Then, the regular church service continued and I stopped crying. I listened to the messages from the minister and they shared some inspiring stories.

Next, it was time for a second performance. As soon as the choir started singing the tears were rolling down my cheeks. I could have stayed there for a good hour just listening, crying and healing.

The minster of the church had seen that I was sad, and when the service finished he asked if I wanted to talk to him. I declined and found it hard to find words, I could only shake my head.

Just after the sermon my friend, who was the choir conductor, came to see me. She gently touched my shoulder but said nothing. No explanation was needed.

I will always remember this gesture, and I appreciate that I didn’t have to clarify and justify my tears. They were just there, and they needed to find a way out.

Thanks to this experience I found a new way to clear my emotions, and I started to go along to my local church to listen to live music. Sometimes there were tears to be released, sometimes I just felt peaceful as I sat there soaking up the music.

I’ve been to many concerts, and live music touches you in a magic way ❤️

A few years ago I went along to a Unitarian church in Notting Hill in London, an open-minded spiritual community that welcomes all faiths, agnostics and atheists. They employ professional musicians, and when you go there on Sundays you are lucky enough to listen to beautiful live music. The acoustics make you feel the music in your bones.

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To listen check for the programme SR P1 Kropp och Själ18th Oct. https://sverigesradio.se/sida/avsnitt/793702?programid=1272

Photographer Asya Barskaya.