Gazing out towards the Aegean Sea, my eyes settled upon a church perched on the cliff edge. The beauty of Greece pierced me with profound clarity. The character of the nation was reflected in the land and its architecture; faded and worn yet proud, warm and truly beautiful to behold.
The monastery emanated an aura of serenity and reverence. Besides the rustling of leaves and the wind dancing amidst the treetops, I was all alone. As the sun hid behind the clouds I gazed upon the facade of the monastery. Forlorn, decaying yet defiant in it’s timeless beauty, it captured my imagination. Looking up at the archaic entrance of the monastery, I read with a sense of reverence the ancient Greek inscriptions, “Let the love of Christ be the light of your life that guides you”. I stood in awe and silence. The words resonated within the depths of my soul and my heart stirred with sheer love for whom I loved most, Christ Jesus. Eventually passing through the doorway I felt an immense sense of tranquility, as though I had stepped from modernity into a bygone era devoid of superficial distractions.
The sun cast its radiant glow over the blue water lapping against the sandstone walls. A lone man selling sea sponges on a boat gently bobbed in the water. From early morning to late afternoon, he would ply his trade. Despite rarely selling his wares, he was blessed with a radiant smile full of joy. I was drawn to this man with whom I struck up a friendship. Our talks revealed a life born of fortitude amidst adversity, yet filled with joy and amazing warmth. Suffering had merely tempered his heart, and in this man I sensed a deep sense of humility and serenity despite hardship. Never before had I experienced such hospitality. One day, in silent awe I looked at this man with love and said “God bless you in all things, and may you always find refuge in Him”. He responded with a sad but warm smile of conviction. “And that’s the greatest gift that one can ever wish for in life”