Hear the Song


Listen with your heart, and you’ll hear more than merely music when Säde plays her song.

In the hallways at the Finnish high school, students rushed from one class to another, their chatter and laughter filling the air.

But here in the recital room, with its gilded trim and arching windows, the noise was distant and muffled. Here, where fifteen-year-old Säde (pronounced saw-day) Metsätähti was about to play the piano, there was peace.

Säde could have played many things—classical or popular. But right now, she had time to play and sing only one song. And so she played her favorite. The tune was simple, but memorable. Saria Karhunen, sixteen, joined Säde on the chorus. They’ve been friends since they were children, and somehow that friendship showed as the harmony of their voices built power in the song.

The girls finished. “Singing that,” Saria said, “is like singing a prayer.” Säde nodded her agreement.

In English the song, written by Latter-day Saints, is titled “Look Inside.” But the Finnish version, translated by Säde’s mother, Virpi, expresses the idea even more strongly. “Sydämees kun katsot, ”it says, “When You Look to Your Heart.”

“I know other people wrote the words and music,” said Säde. “But every time I play it, I feel like it’s my song. I think everybody—everything—has a song of its own, if you just listen close enough to hear it.”

The second bell rang, and that meant the brief performance was over. Säde and Saria are on a strict schedule at the Puolalanmaen Koulu, a school for students with musical aptitude. In addition to music, Säde has classes in Swedish, math, Finnish, gymnastics, English, biology, geography, and French.

She and Saria also study seminary every day and meet once a week with the other seminary students in their ward.

That evening was activity night at the chapel, and seminary students, institute students, Scouts, family history workers, and other ward members had gathered for various purposes—but all as brothers and sisters.

“How can you get closer to Jesus Christ?” asked Auli Haikkola, the seminary teacher.

“Study the scriptures,” said Aki Keskinen.

“Pray,” said Todd Katschke. “Go to church.”

“Talk about the Savior with your family,” said Jukka Merenluoto.

“Do good for someone else,” said Joni Mikkonen.

After class, several of the seminary students lingered to visit. They talked about how seminary helps prepare young people for missions, about getting up early to study the scriptures, about prayer and families and priesthood and the Spirit and a dozen other things youth all over the Church have in common.

“Most people in Finland don’t talk about religion,” Maria Sokoli said. “They go to church once or twice a year. They don’t understand how it can be such a big part of my life.”

“My nonmember friends respect me,” said Heidi Hankiala. “But it still gets tough when they all drink and do other things I won’t do.”

“Maria, Heidi, Saria, and I all grew up in the Church,” Säde explained. “Most of the people in this ward have grown up with the gospel. But now the Church is growing fast, and I see the day when it will grow faster and faster, when there will be lots of young people joining, not only in Finland, but in Russia, in Eastern Europe—all over the world. The Church is the hope of the future, and the youth are the hope of the Church.”

Too soon, the conversations were over. The youth said good-bye and departed. The seminary room was deserted, and the building was almost empty.

That was when the song began again.

Waiting for her mother, Säde had found a piano. Not an elegant one like the black enamel grand piano in the recital room at school. This was a brown upright, with a key or two chipped and a scratch in the finish. But the melody she played was the same: “When You Look to Your Heart.”

The song of faith continued.

[photos] Photography by Richard M. Romney

[photo] Hear the song that Säde, her brother Vesa, and best friend Saria hear—the song of faith and love.

[photos] “With the gospel in your heart, you see and hear the Savior in everything,” says Säde, whether it be in a school language class, in flowers, or in friendships.