Power In Phrasing
Several of my posts this week have included excerpts from classic works. I would like to share one more as I close this week in posts. You’ll recognize the title it originates from.
Following is an excerpt from a memoirs written in 1853 by Solomon Northrup. The book: 12 Years A Slave, is one man’s true account of kidnap, enslavement and most often brutal treatment. I say true account because his story was verified after his return to freedom, though few were ever brought to justice for their crimes.
This excerpt takes place after Solomon has defended himself from the hands of his murderous owner. For a slave to strike his owner was punishable by hanging.
I was desolate, but thankful. Thankful that my life was spared,- desolate and discouraged with the prospect before me. What would become of me? Who would befriend me? Whither should I fly? Oh, God! Thou who gavest me life, and implanted in my bosom the love of life – who filled it with emotions such as other men, thy creatures, have, do not forsake me. Have a pity on the poor slave – let me not parish. If thou dost not protect me, I am lost – lost!
Such supplications, silent and unuttered, ascended from my inmost heart to Heaven. But there was no answering voice – no sweet, low tone, coming down from on high, whispering to my soul, “It is I, be not afraid.” I was forsaken of God, it seemed – the despised and hated of men!
There is tremendous power in Northrup’s phrasing as he very simply conveys what he felt. Honestly, this passage brought me to tears as I experienced, through his words, the desperation and the utter hopelessness in his heart when his plea to God seemed unanswered.
~K. L. Parry