I am so proud to be invited to write for the magazine published by the Swedish Church – both excited and proud! My faith is very important to me, has been part of my life since as far back as I can remember and the earliest memories of which were Ivar breaking off a straw of grass and holding it up for me to observe, asking me how anything so perfect could possibly be put down to chance. I couldn’t find an answer back then, and I still can’t. I can’t look at a rose or into my son’s sparkling blue eyes and believe we’re just here by chance. There just HAS to be a greater design.
Ivar, of course, was one of the greatest influences on my life and of who I am today. Somehow, he loved me like his own, treated me as such and always included me in his prayers. He was at one point the centre of my universe. When no other person heard or saw me, Ivar did. He taught me all the names for all the butterflies and birds, and he picked up that straw of grass to show me the greatness of the God he taught me to believe in. And I still do.
So when I consider the concept of ‘neighbours’ the first thing that springs to mind is how the ten commandments are translated. In the Swedish bible, “love thy neighbour” literally translates to “love your next”, i.e. the next person, whoever they are. This is indeed difficult at times, if anything, B’s divorce has emphasised for me how hard it is to “love your next” when that person is behaving in a way you find hard to fathom. But somehow you have to, and somehow you need to find that place in your heart where you have the capacity to “love thy neighbour”. Otherwise, you’d go under.
I am so excited about this piece, and I have so many ideas already! Most of all, what excites me, is how the very concept helps me understand and accept where we currently find ourselves at – we may not have much, but we have each other.