A Haven for Vee

Sunday, November 11, 2007

O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go

Isn't this golden library beautiful? I'm definitely hanging out here today; although, something may have to be done about the sofa. I'm thinking a leather sofa would be nice.

Why am I thinking of libraries today? Because George Matheson wrote his famous hymn "O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go" in a library away back in 1882. Yup, that's why.

Truth is, I haven't been doing very well. My emotions are all over the place. I have been angry and resentful, sad and pitiful, self-pitying and mean-spirited. I'm definitely not in a happy place. (My poor friend Claudi has dealt with the worst of it; she's probably nodding her head as she reads this.)

Yesterday was particularly rough. The garden needed to be put to bed, the lawn needed one last mowing, the leaves needed raking and mulching, so many things. And, as I was busy going about all that, I remembered something E.B. White once said while watching his aging wife tend her fall garden. It went a little like this: One has to admire the courage of a person who tends her garden in autumn knowing that she will not see the flowers bloom in spring. Well, that did it! I began to cry and could barely mow the lawn in tidy rows. Wait! I never mow my lawn in tidy rows. Anyway, if that wasn't the most self-pitying moment I've experienced yet... I'm not "aged" and I'm not "dying." It just feels as if I am.

Then, in the afternoon, I had to attend my mother's birthday gathering with all the clan and pretend to be cheerful. Bother! What a difficult thing it is this pretending.

Last evening, I found myself alone at home. Nothing new. I kind of prefer it that way truth to tell. I puttered at this and that and then decided to play the piano for a bit. That's when the hymn book fell open to Matheson's hymn. I hadn't played it for years...decades...but I played it last night. It was as if I were covered in gooey warm honey for about fifteen minutes there. Gooey warm honey and hot wet tears. The words resonated powerfully with me.

Later, when I had regained some composure, I remembered a book long forgotten. It's called 101 Hymn Stories by Kenneth W. Osbeck and it happened to be hiding on the bookshelf behind the first row of books. What I read there absolutely floored me. I was completely gobsmacked, I'm telling you. It proved to me once and for all that there are no coincidences. None.

I'll just quote it so that you will see what I mean:

"My hymn was composed in the manse of Innellan... I was at that time alone. It was the day of my sister's marriage... Something happened to me, which was known only to myself, and which caused me the most severe mental suffering. The hymn was the fruit of that suffering. It was the quickest bit of work I ever did in my life. I had the impression rather of having it dictated to me by some inward voice than of working it out myself. I am quite sure that the whole work was completed in five minutes, and equally sure it never received at my hands any retouching or correction. I have no natural gift of rhythm..."

You see, George Matheson was blind and the pastor of a 2000-member church in Edinburgh, Scotland. He was a popular and powerful preacher in his day. And, he depended upon his sister who was his helper to the point of learning Greek, Latin, and Hebrew herself so that she could better assist him.

Although I am far removed from George Matheson's station in life, I certainly understand being dependant upon a sister and the anguish that comes of change.

O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

O Light that foll’west all my way,
I yield my flick’ring torch to thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.

O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.

O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.

Clicking on the words will take you to You Tube where David Phelps sings "O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go."

Picture Source


  1. What great words...and how wonderful to know that God's love will NEVER leave us! I was going to give you a verse, but my memory has left me. I think it is Isaiah 41:10 and goes something like:
    So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my powerful right hand. It was my reassurance when I went through dark days. May you feel His presence today.

    We went to a neat little Mexican restaurant last night & totally enjoyed their fabulous & gigantic dinners. We were totally stuffed, but I figured I had to try your 'sopapillas', so we ordered those to take home. They were a great dessert...reminded me of 'rollkuchen' that I make to eat with watermelon.

  2. Oh Hon, I wish I could give you a hug... And I can't, for real.

    So I give you a Cyber Hug... {{{{{{{{Vee}}}}}}}}


  3. I was sorry to read that you are feeling so low today. Ilike the way you are dealing with it though. God always comes through in the darkest hours.

    You asked how I put my garden to bed for the winter. Prune things that don't getdone in the Spring. Cut back and tidy, spread some compost, nothing special but pruning is one job I like.

    Blessings to you and hugs.

  4. Here is a big HUG for you and a prayer for perspective and strength to face each day. Whenever I start to feel like that I imagine my tiny hand being held in His big hand and I let him lead the way. You are safe with Him even in the darkest of days.
    Lovely post.

  5. Hi - this is so beautiful! Your blog is very inspiring. Thank you so much for visiting mine and leaving me a comment!


  6. And love your new Header!


  7. I hope my words bring a bit of cheer to you, since your blog was such a delightful discovery for me. You are a gifted writer with great insight and wisdom. I also love that wonderful hymn. It warms my heart to know that God will not ever let me go. May the Lord bless you today with the warmth of His forever love.

    Warm pie, Happy home

  8. What a beautiful library - I also enjoyed these beautiful words. Thank you for being so smart and sharing this smart stuff with me! See ya.

  9. Thank you for lifting our sprirts with those beautiful words. Hopefully, yours are lifted as well!

    kari & kijsa

  10. "Truth is, I haven't been doing very well. My emotions are all over the place. I have been angry and resentful, sad and pitiful, self-pitying and mean-spirited. I'm definitely not in a happy place."

    BOY! We are kindred spirits this weekend then! I, too, am having problems being upbeat and happy...but I've had to "act" happy for the kids. My emotions are all over the place and have been for the last couple of days. My husband and I had a disagreeent over something and it just crushed me...all that Christmas cheer I was building up inside has kind of faded away. I only ended up decorating my living room and then packed all the rest of the Christmas stuff back up and put it in the attic. (I start way too early, I guess - maybe that's part of the problem, who knows?) It just seems like too much trouble right now. And here I am rambling on and on to a virtual stranger. Geez. It's late...I'd better get to bed before I get so wound up I decide to blog about this. lol
    Hope you're feeling better soon, though. This "unsettled" feeling just plain sucks, if you ask me.

  11. Awwww, Kari, if it helps any, I can be just a figment of your imagination until you feel more comfortable. ;) I know what you mean, though. Isn't it easier to talk to a "stranger" than it is to the one whom we really need to speak with? Thus it has ever been, I am sure. Don't worry, the Christmas spirit will return and this upset will be resolved and everything will be all right again.

    I want to thank all of you beautiful women for your kind thoughts and tender ministrations. The hugs were so warm, too! It means a lot and I am sure that I will read and reread your comments over the next weeks. Bless you from the bottom of my heart!

  12. Okay, if I hadn't been moved to tears before, Pastor Matheson's words certainly dragged them out of me...cook books and hymnals...they are such treasures we have laid up...I'm thinking about you right now, hoping you are feeling more UP then d
    Please, feel better
    Sandi (Holding Patterns)


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