Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Inspired By Tragedy

Horatio Spafford
Writers are inspired by so many different things and in my case; Well with My Soul was taken from the hymn “It Is Well With My Soul” written by Horatio Spafford. How someone could write those lyrics after so many traumatic experiences is inspiring in itself.

Spafford was a successful lawyer with a practice in Chicago. His only son died in 1871 at the age of four years old. Spafford invested in much real estate in his town, but became a victim of the great Chicago Fire which wiped him out financially when most of his properties burned. In 1873, he was to travel to Europe with his family on the SS Ville de Havre, but was delayed due to business and his family went without him. That ship sank in the Atlantic and all four of his daughter’s died. His wife sent a telegram to him that read “Saved alone.” As he traveled to meet up with his wife, he penned “It Is Well With My Soul” as he passed the place where his daughters had drowned.    

I love the back story on this man’s life and believe that everyone has a story within them. It is how they choose to deliver it and more importantly – learn from it – that sets them apart. I created a very different type of story in my novel about two brothers raised under the same roof, but grew into very different men. But circumstance upon circumstance continue to pile up on their lives and choices they make affect each of them as they attempt to find that inner peace that miraculously Spafford was able to find when he wrote these lyrics.  

When peach like a river, attendeth my way.
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trails should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
My Sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.
It is well...with my soul.
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

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