I think it is around Thanksgiving time in the States now, am I right?
Sweden doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving.
Is it because we don’t have anything to be thankful for? Of course we do.
Is it because we can’t remember what to be thankful for? Probably.
Sweden is said to be the most secular country in the world. To quote an online Biblical Ministry Organisation:
Sweden relinquished its claim of Lutheranism as its State religion in 2000 and now boasts one of the lowest percentage rates of belief in God in the western world.
Sweden can safely lay claim to being one of Europe’s “least Christian” nations.
A poll from 2006 conducted by Dagens Industri revealed Swedes have far more trust in major Swedish businesses, public television, Swedish universities, and the central bank than in the Swedish Church. As the older generation of Swedes passes away, the percentage of reproducing believers decreases.
Only five percent of the population regularly attends church.
Years ago, I had a relationship with an Italian guy. He was a practising Catholic living in the most holy Catholic center of the world, Rome. I, myself, loved to randomly stroll into the city’s churches and marvel over their beauty and peaceful atmosphere, but I did not feel the presence of a greater force, more there than anywhere else. It wasn’t until I came with Paolo to Sunday mass that I fully understood the influence on people those walls had.
People joined hands, cheek kissed and looked each other in the eyes as they proclaimed their belief. I did just like the others, but I felt completely out of place. As if someone was talking to me in a strange and different language, I nodded and smiled, but didn’t quite comprehend the significance of the words.
I still don’t.
But as I grow older I understand the difference between organized religion and belief. And I realize, I believe in a lot of things.
The power of true gratefulness is one of them.
So before I go to sleep every night, as I usually lie on my acupressure mat,
I whisper thank you’s…
For the comfort and safety that life provides for me
For all the moments that have played out during the day
For the emotions I am able – and choose to feel
For the smiles and for the tears
For the insights and knowledge I gain by experience
For the possibilities that lay like invisible stepping stones around me
For everything’s perfect proceeding
For the unconditional love that is faultlessly rooted in me
And I give thanks to you for being a part of it!