On this Remembrance Sunday we have been thinking back to old wars and those who fought in them, but for Swedes there is less reminiscing about what parents and grandparents did in the war(s), because we were lucky enough to be spared.
Our Nordic neighbours were less fortunate, and for me it has come to mean ‘borrowing’ someone else as the face for who did their bit in WWII. In Liverpool and at Gustav Adolf we have the gathering at the war memorial at Pier Head every 17 mai.
The face I see is Harry’s, even though he is no longer here. Until the arrival of Lars-Erik and Ulla-Inger Eriksson, I had no idea who anyone at church really was, apart from the few Swedes I spoke to. As far as I was concerned, Harry was an elderly Liverpudlian gent, so imagine my surprise on finding, after a proper introduction had been made, that he was Norwegian.
Harry wasn’t the only one I was introduced to, but he remained the figurehead for my new image of Gustav Adolf and its people. He took an interest in the children, which was nice, and thinking back to what it must have been like in Liverpool all these years has been fascinating.
(I just read and reviewed a new children’s book, about WWII set in Ireland, but with a Liverpool prologue, showing heavy bombing in the summer of 1941. That made a difference too.)
What I am trying to get to, is that we need more introductions. Those who work in our church obviously know everyone who comes. Some of the more gregarius of our larger community also know quite a few people. The rest of us don’t know nearly as many as we would like to. Lars-Erik and Ulla-Inger were very good at that.
So in case there are more unknown heroes hiding among the coffee and the waffles, I’d like to know. Or anyone else, because we can’t all be soldiers. Not everyone reads this blog, but there is room for introductions here. Perhaps we can all slowly find out who is who at Gustav Adolf.
And wouldn’t it be handy to learn who speaks what language? We can all get by with English, but it can be a waste when we might turn out to share another language. I’m in favour of little badges, perhaps showing the flags of what language(s) we know. (Not everybody does what someone I overheard in a Belgian youth hostel once did. He walked up to his intended conversation partner and asked in English ‘Which language do you speak?’ and when the other one said ‘French’ he immediately switched, and off they went.)