O Love That Will Not Let Me Go

Blog 2632 – 01.12.2023

O Love That Will Not Let Me Go

In the beginning of the 1966 movie Hawaii, based on the best selling novel by James A. Michener, the narrator tells the story of how the Pacific Island people came to settle on the Hawaiian Islands. According to legend they fled their home on Bora Bora to get as far away as they could from the angry god they had worshipped and took a rock with them that symbolized a lesser loving god that they never wanted to leave behind.

The Christian Missionaries who came in the early eighteen hundreds from New England to convert the Hawaiian natives were followers of John Calvin and products of the the First and Second Great Religious Awakenings in this country that were lead primarily by preachers like Jonathan’s Edwards in the First, circa 1740, and the Second, in the early 1800’s, by preachers like Charles G. Finney. These preacher were what we refer to as revivalists and “hell fire and brimstone preachers.” Their messages were mostly about an angry God that in many ways must have resembled the god that the Hawaiians had fled Bora Bra to escape.

In 1740 Jonathan Edwards had preached his famous sermon, “Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God.” Though I tried to serve that god for the first forty or so years of my life I confess that the angry Jewish and Christian god has never appealed that much to me for I prefer a more loving and kinder deity that I have for the last decade or so come to think of as my true higher power and best self. The Hawaiians were a happy people with their kind and loving god. If one’s religion does not make them happy the they are like a poor salesman pushing an inferior product. Preachers and politicians who must resort to pedaling fear to seal the deal are in my humble estimation worse than drug dealers, legal or illicit, for they at least offer a brief respite from an angry and vengeful god and his burning hell.

I would like to spend the second half of this piece expanding on the line from the hymn that my title comes from: “O Love that will not let me go, I rest my soul in thee.”

When my mother first met my Linda Lee she took me aside and said, “David, that woman is never going to let you go.” For years I mistook my mother’s meaning as a warning, but have come to see it as a mother’s answered prayer. Mom was saying that the lovely and loving Linda Lee was the woman she had prayed all my life that I would find – a woman that would never let me go. Linda has held on just as tight as she did in this picture that was taken at the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas where and when my mom had made her statement regarding her intuition that Linda would never ever let me go.

O Love, that will not let me go, I rest my soul in thee.” Linda has been my rock lo these many years and like those wise Hawaiian I never want to leave her behind nor ever let her go.

Your friend and fellow traveler,

David White


What Makes You Stay

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