It’s Sunday evening. I am watching Call the Midwife on BBC one. The intro of the series starts with an opening from diary of a midwife.  “Chapter 1. Why did I even start this?” It’s exactly the thought that I had during the past week. I wasn’t feeling well, didn’t have much energy and didn’t really have any inspiration. But this weekend I also saw some special friends that I hadn’t seen a long while. Most of them I hadn’t seen since I started this blog, but quite a few of them have been following my stories to my surprise. Some asked me how I managed to keep it up. The answer came to me somewhere on the walk through the city. It takes practice. The practice of love and loyalty.

Practice love

In the next few weeks I am going to a few weddings. My grandparents will hopefully celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary. Can you even imagine? Besides that family event I am looking forward to, friends around me are getting married or just got married. But love is so much more than the love between a couple. I am single and felt a whole lot of love over the past few days. Seeing old friends was such a blessing. Seeing ECPYouth flourish brought so much happiness. When I joined in 2014, this political youth organisation was almost non-existing anymore.  I invested my blood, sweat and tears into it for almost two years and I made some friends for life. It wasn’t always easy. That love that to grow, but now I can’t stop smiling when I think about the people that I met over the past years.

Practice loyalty

When I saw it wasn’t always easy, I really mean that. Most of my ECPYouth family doesn’t live close by. On top of that, most of us have family and loved ones across the world. As I am preparing to leave my life in the Netherlands for a longer period this time, it came up in various conversations. In the end, I came to the conclusion again that it comes down to loyalty. Sure, you can’t stay friends with everyone in the same way, but I have enough long-distance relationships to know which ones are real and have long-lasting impact. It starts with loyalty and that loyalty needs time to grow. It takes practice. It takes practicing love.

Practice hope and perseverance

But all good and well, how do you do that? When you just got married, but both get caught up in working to pay the bills. When you spend so much time studying to get that degree that you don’t seem to have time for friends. How do you that if you live half a world away? I can’t say I’ve really figured it out yet. All I know that is that practicing love and loyalty starts with following Jesus. He is my source of love and loyalty. He is the best example there has ever been and ever will be. He is the perfect Love with a capital L, that is also patient, kind, doesn’t envy or isn’t proud. The Love that always protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres. That’s my inspiration. Every single day. That’s the goal I am striving for. Even though I know that I probably will never quite succeed in this life, I will in the next. Then I’ll be singing and dancing with joy for ever with all those loved ones from far away. Then we will never be apart again.

13 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

– 1 Corinthians 13 –

p.s. If you are ever bored and interested in a nice period drama, go watch Call the Midwife. My favourite quote from today’s episode was this one from the old sister with dementia: “I find that two opinions are always better than one, especially if one is mine.”