Though I am a practising Catholic, I enjoy reading teachings from various faiths. There is always truth to be found somewhere in these writings, whether or not they are translated/ transliterated accurately.

This is attributed to Imam Ali, the cousin and son-in-law of Prophet Mohammad:

By my 51st year, I have learned that life is NEVER smooth sailing. That is the nature of being alive – nothing stands still for any period of time, like the flow and ebb of waves. Even the best of relationships hit rough seas, because that is the nature of life.

But even if hard times don’t hit, we will inevitably make mistakes that hurt and break our loved one’s heart, simply because we are fallible human beings destined to make mistakes, learn and grow.

And it is during these painful times that the true colours of the person who claims to love you is seen, for it is easy to be a hero and make promises when times are good, but does he/she have the capacity to forgive, the strength to hold you and the love to carry on?

An old wise saying I heard from somewhere goes like this: you never know whether you truly love someone until you have had your first bad fight. It is then you evaluate Do I want this person, how can I forgive?

There is a lot of wisdom in it, because as per the words of Imam Ali, it is in the changing of circumstances that the essence of man/woman is revealed….i.e. who will still be standing there, loving you, when you are at your most unloveable.

Love is not just for the good times, but is shown to you when you are at your worst, when you deserve it least.

I have messed my parents around a lot, especially in my difficult teenage years. But they never turned away from me, my mother especially, was always there with her arms wide open, my biggest champion.

To those who have loved me through my darkest times, I thank you. JA, thank you for staying awake with me when I was ill and so very scared ….. I will always need you, even when I am at my strongest.

The most beautiful thing I have seen, as my mother told me this weekend, is the depth of a man’s heart x

Photo: Stansted House, home of the late Lord Bessborough, taken this weekend.