Copyright of Debbie Scalise 2008
Paul posted F. W Faber today and it sparked something in my mind. Many years ago, when I was involved in the cult…(23 years ago to be precise)… I made a little encouragement card for myself, using a coloured pencil, a pen, a scrap of card and a poem that I had come across while having temporarly gone AWOL and had found myself in a hostel (before the Cult sucked me back in again) where I had found amongst the small selection of reading material in my room, a book with a wonderful poem in it.
The fact that there were books in my room should tell you that it was one of the nicer hostels. It had books you didn’t wipe your derriere on…oh dear, perhaps i shouldn’t have said that….i’m sure you don’t want to hear about the hostel i stayed in that i shared with about 9 men (i was the only girl) who used to try to kick and punch my door in when I was in my room alone at night. I used to have to wait for them to go out to collect their ‘dole’ money before i would venture to use the filthy communal toilets we were forced to share. And when I did manage to get in there unnoticed, I would find magazines had been used as toilet tissue, blocking the toilet bowl. It comes to something when you have to carry a roll of loo paper with you to the toilet, but i did actually have to do that….though the darned thing wouldn’t ever flush because the landlord couldn’t have cared less that he was renting me a flee pit to live in with impossible sanitary conditions… the security was so bad that i used to drag the wardrobe over the 8 foot of room space to help secure the door so i could sleep (?) on an infested bed without fear of being attacked by anything bigger than the insects sharing the bed with me.
Oh thank God for a wonderful woman named Mary who had befriended me and took me away from there after seeing the squalor I was living in….she even took me in to her home in Leamington Spa for a few months until I got the room at the hostel, a womens refuge, a safe haven to the down and destitute, to the bizarre and insane, to the utterly fascinating individuals who inhabited it.
I’m pretty sure, that somewhere in my house I still have this little card I made, but I have searched high and low every time I have thought of it and still have been unable to discover its whereabouts. I recall reciting it to myself over and over again many years ago…y’see, I was extremely depressed at the time and it gave me great comfort to read the two or three verses I had written on the card and to know that my feelings were understood and expressed so eloquently by the author….now the thing is, I have a feeling ‘my poem’ was written by F. W Faber, but I can’t find out anything online despite numerous searches (I could just be typing the wrong thing in the box!).
I seem to recall that the poem contained the following line….
“There was nought in my life half so dark or (and) so vile as the sin and the bondage that fettered my soul”
And then I seem to remember the words ‘guile’ and ‘satan’s control’…but no more than that 😦
Of course, i could have the author and the words wrong, but my mind won’t rest until I can recite this once more!
Any ideas on my quandry?
I know you’re a jolly- well – read bunch….so can you help me?
Edited to add:
Autumn Rose saved the day! Hoorah and many thanks!
The chains that have bound me are flung to the wind,
By the mercy of God the poor slave is set free;
And the strong grace of heaven breathes fresh o’er the mind,
Like the bright winds of summer that gladden the sea.
There was nought in God’s world half so dark or so vile
As the sin and bondage that fettered my soul;
There was nought half so base as the malice and guile
Of my own sordid passions, or Satan’s control.
For years I have borne about hell in my breast;
When I thought of my God it was nothing but gloom;
Day brought me no pleasure, night gave me no rest,
There was still the grim shadow of horrible doom.
It seemed as if nothing less likely could be
Than that light should break in on a dungeon so deep;
To create a new world were less hard than to free
The slave from his bondage, the soul from its sleep.
But the Word had gone forth, and said, Let there be light,
And it flashed through my soul like a sharp passing smart;
One look to my Savior, and all the dark night,
Like a dream scarce remembered, was gone from my heart.
I cried out for mercy, and fell on my knees,
And confessed, while my heart with keen sorrow was wrung;
‘Twas the labor of minutes, and years of disease
Fell as fast from my soul as the words from my tongue.
And now, blest be God and the sweet Lord who died!
No deer on the mountain, no bird in the sky,
No bright wave that leaps on the dark bounding tide,
Is a creature so free or so happy as I.
All hail, then, all hail, to the dear Precious Blood,
That hath worked these sweet wonders of mercy in me;
May each day countless numbers throng down to its flood,
And God have His glory, and sinners go free.
Faber’s A Good Confession