I discovered these lines from Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage by Lord Byron while I was near the end my career at Fundy U and they struck a chord with me as I looked around and saw the false piety and hypocrisy of fundamentalism in the “world” in which was living at the time. Since then I have read them again from time to time when feelings of helplessness and weariness in pursuing the struggle against such an incorrigible system have again overwhelmed me.
I hope that if you too have ever sensed that you are alone in your struggle against whatever part of Fundistan you inhabited that these lines might give voice to a muffled cry that has sounded in your heart as well.
I have not loved the world, nor the world me;
I have not flattered its rank breath, nor bowed
To its idolatries a patient knee, –
Nor coined my cheek to smiles, nor cried aloud
In worship of an echo; in the crowd
They could not deem me one of such; I stood
Among them, but not of them; in a shroud
Of thoughts which were not their thoughts, and still could,
Had I not filed my mind, which thus itself subdued.
I have not loved the world, nor the world me, –
But let us part fair foes; I do believe,
Though I have found them not, that there may be
Words which are things,–hopes which will not deceive,
And virtues which are merciful, nor weave
Snares for the falling: I would also deem
O’er others’ griefs that some sincerely grieve;
That two, or one, are almost what they seem, –
That goodness is no name, and happiness no dream.
It’s a good thing that I have faith that in the end of it all Jesus wins. My hope can be built on nothing less.