They have not left me

Sevilla is a city in Southern Spain. They have a motto for the city, which appears on the coat of arms over the entrance to city hall, as well as on their city flag, on the back of city buses, on man hole covers in the street, and many other locations. The motto consists of the capital letters NO, followed by what looks like the figure “8”, followed by the letters DO, in other words – NO8DO. Here is the flag.


While some say the origin of NO8DO can be traced to the 16th century, the widely accepted legend in Spain is that this originated with King Alfonso X. He was king of three regions of Spain, Castile, Leon, and Galicia, from 1252 until his death in 1284. After the death of his oldest son, Alfonso’s second son, Sancho, claimed to be the new heir, but Alfonso wanted to leave his throne to his grandsons. There was a war, and Alfonso took refuge in Sevilla, which was one of a few cities to support him.

Sancho did not attack Sevilla, and Alfonso spent his last days there. To express his gratitude to the city of Sevilla, he gave Sevilla this motto. The 8 is actually a madeja, or a bundle of wool. So if you read the motto, it would be NO MADEJA DO, a phonetic way of saying NO ME HA DEJADO, which in English is THEY HAVE NOT LEFT ME, or THEY HAVE NOT ABANDONED ME.

This is a medallion celebrating Queen Isabel II’s visit on
Sept. 17, 1862 to Sevilla.  It says, “Sevilla joyful for your happy arrival.”  Notice the NO8DO.

Surely it is a sign of Good Love being strengthened into Better Love, when someone gives support and encouragement to another, when others in their place would leave or abandon the other person.

Words have much power, and once spoken you can’t really ever take them back. Have you ever said something to a parent, a spouse, a child, a boss that you later regretted? James 1:19 says Let every person be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger. If there was grace and forgiveness offered in return, perhaps after an apology, wouldn’t NO8DO be appropriate? You have given a person justification to abandon their support of you, but they have NOT abandoned you. That is Better Love.

When someone is unfaithful to a spouse, and causes not only pain, but humiliation to the spouse, legally and some would say biblically they are justified in leaving the unfaithful partner. But when they instead forgive, and stay with the unfaithful spouse, there is the possibility of building Better Love, rebuilding the relationship.

We have all done things to damage relationships, and sometimes we are fortunate enough to be shown love and support in spite of what we have done. I think of Alfonso X and NO8DO when this happens.

About Mark Gredler

I want to move from Good Love to Better Love, share it, and share the Best Love of God. I like ancient and medieval history, especially of Spain. I like photographing Spanish fiestas, and visiting Romanesque churches, from the 11th to 13th centuries. I enjoy traveling, seeing new places, meeting new friends, taking photographs of that, and want to write more about it all.
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6 Responses to They have not left me

  1. Melody McFarland says:

    Mark, I’ve been enjoying your blogs. I like learning about the Spanish culture, history and language. My favorite is the most recent one, “They have not left me.” There is such security in my life knowing that Christ Jesus will never leave me. You’re right, that better love!

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