Their names are Gunnel and Kjell and they are praying for me every day.
I am a choral singer and has been for most of my life. My choir, Kammarkören Sångkraft ( Sångkraft Chamber Choir), is an amateur choir with professional ambitions, and we are actually one of the most sonorous choirs in Sweden. We started out as a youth choir in the seventies and are still going strong.
I was 18 and we were all in our late teens. Our ambitions were high already back then and our concerts a big thing, well visited by a loyal audience. And at the core of the crowd, our parents.
Standing in the choir, singing in one of the churches or high school assembly halls, the sight of our parents in the auditorium was a grounding feeling. There they were, Ingrid and Sven, Gerd and Agnar, Gunborg, Bosse and Edit, Vivianne and Lennart, Elisabet, Arne and Eva, Åke and Inga, Kerstin and Martin (my parents), Harry and Anita, Gunnel and Kjell. And they all came to know each other.
I am still singing together with some of these teenagers, though now a bit older. And although quite a few of the parents aren’t here anymore, some still are. And the feeling spotting them in the audience is to me even now reassuring and warm.
Agneta is one of those teenagers and we are alto colleagues in the choir as well as good friends. Gunnel and Kjell are her parents, sweet sweet people, still as loyal to the choir as always. Further more, Gunnel and my mother studied to nurses together and were acquainted from back then.
Gunnel and Kjell have a special place in my heart because I have a special place in their heart. Since they have been following me they know about my challenges and they care for me. They pray for me every day.
Now, writing that in English it doesn’t really stand out as odd or remarkable, since in the American English language the sentence “you are in our prayers and God bless ” is like an everyday household mantra. At least that’s what we hear on TV, in films and of course in the political debate. But in Swedish it has a different ring to it.
Sweden is one of the most secularized countries in the world. So people who believe in God are a minority. By that I mean not just having a vague feeling of something bigger than themselves out there, but defend themselves to believing in God and are active in that belief.
Gunnel and Kjell go to church most every Sunday and God is a solid foundation for their life. They wake up with Him, He is always present and He watches over them through the night. And they pray to him.
I am sure Thank You is a a big part of their prayers. But I know they are also angels watching out for many people around them, asking God to take care of them. And I am one of those. I am one of the people Gunnel and Kjell everyday is sending their prayer to the God they believe in, asking Him to take care of us. Dear God, take care of Mia.
To know that fills my heart with gratitude and warmth. It is big. Overwhelming.
Last night Agneta, her husband Mats, Agneta’s sister Lena (all my good friends), daughter Agnes (a little bit of a god daughter to me), and Gunnel and Kjell gathered here at my place at the end of the road for a fall dinner together. The yellow, orange and red maple leaves as a carpet outside while the lit candles, the fire in the fire place and the company warming the evening inside. And the food of course.