This is NOT a religious post.


This Sunday, I dashed from the Russian Orthodox Church in Knightsbridge for Divine Liturgy to Westminster Cathedral down the road for the midday Mass. The homily today was about behaving “reasonably spiritually” in difficult times. Because it is easy to be magnanimous, to be the hero, when life is going well. But it is only in the change that in difficult times you know what love is.

“When someone slaps you, do you turn your face and give him the other cheek?” The priest asked.

Or do you fight back?

I thought about my mother who absorbed all my anger, bore it all with grace, especially during my difficult teenager years. This was her way of showing me unconditional love. She never once raised her voice or her hand at me in all the years, but turned the other cheek in the hope that I will learn.

I guess that’s what you do when you truly love somebody. There is no need to fight back, because their hurt would hurt you more than your own. You smile through your tears because you believe in the love, come what may.

And with love comes faith and hope. There’s a story I was told by my mum years ago: once upon a time, there was a civilisation that was completely destroyed by an apocalypse. Not a single tree survived, no human beings, nothing. Even the smallest insects perished. The whole world became cold, silent and dead.

But locked in a small box, Hope managed to escape death miraculously. Its fragile wings beat strongly against the box until against all odds, the lid fell open. Hope then flew out of the box, flying on tentative wings at first, and slowly, it grew in strength.

And then life began once more, flowers bloomed again, because Hope survived.

To he who stood by me in my darkest moments, dankie for being my Hope all these years. In your words, Wat je geloofd, wordt waarheid, xxx