Greece…and a Very Special Place

The Path to Faith
On Our Way Down – Photo by Mary Jamis

In an ever changing sequence of events, my mom’s recovery saga took yet another turn last week. After a few days in outpatient rehab mom was back in the hospital, tired and exhausted, and apparently in need of a good rest. At first we panicked, thinking it was a turn for the worse. Finally she woke up from snoring sleep sessions to tell us she was fine. She has a couple more hurdles to clear, but thankfully she is growing stronger every day.

When this latest challenge presented itself last week my mind and body had a few bad days. I was worrying constantly and having trouble sleeping; all the usual reactions to stress. In a moment of clarity, I remembered a special place from our trip to Greece five years ago. During that divine excursion my mom, sisters and I were privileged to witness something that still stays with me to this day.

We were all in a rental car with our native cousin Stavros. He took us for a ride up a mountainside, parking along the berm of a twisty road. I got out of the car and could only see trees, rocks and gorgeous sky. Stavros told us to follow him. My mom held onto us as we descended downward on a simple path of stones. I remember the dirt ground was littered with olive pits. I silently wondered if the birds ate lunch there.

Church in the Hillside-Photo by Cally Jamis Vennare
Church in the Hillside-
Photo by Cally Jamis Vennare

A small white washed church came into view at the bottom of the stone path. It was so beautifully unexpected, so hidden, so precious. We stood in awe while Starvros retrieved the key and opened the small wooden door.

Inside it was tiny, simple and just as special. There was a small altar with icons. We lit candles and Starvros said a prayer. We stayed awhile to bask in the glow of being in such a holy place.

Can you imagine how this memory grounds me? Perhaps it was the beauty, or maybe it was the sacred holiness of such a special place. All I know is it was a huge gift. In my mind, I can run back to that little church any time I want and light a candle for me, my mom, anyone.

I leaned on that little church last week when every last bone in my body was tired and weary. Having a special place where we can go, even if only in our mind, can sometimes make all the difference in the world.

Hear ye!
Beautiful Bell – Photo by Cally Jamis Vennare

Do you have a special memory or place that grounds you? Tell me about it!

Join me on my graceful journey.

13 Replies to “Greece…and a Very Special Place”

  1. What a beautiful memory to hold on to! No I don’t have one, but I desperately need one! Maybe a cabin in the woods with no one around. I need to ‘build’ that place in my mind! Thank you for sharing! I will say an extra prayer for your mom!

  2. Dear Joanne, Thank you for the good news that your Mom is doing better and for such a lovely post. It is truly a blessing to have a sanctuary such as this to which you can return in times of trouble (of course for me it is the desert!) Fondly, Vivian

  3. What a cherished memory, Joanne. Yes, the Lord promises to take our weariness and to renew us.

    Isaiah 40:30-31
    30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
    31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
    They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

    My special place most recently is my grandmother’s home. When I lay down for a rest and close my eyes, I am there with her, in the peace and quiet and security of her house. Recently I laid down to rest, yet my thoughts were chattering within me and I couldn’t seem to calm them. Then I heard a dove cooing. I focused my attention on it with my eyes closed, and noticed how many breathes between its vocal prayer, and I suddenly realized that my thoughts had calmed within me, and I was meditating on the praises of the dove.

    May your mother joyfully recover, and may you find rest and solace in your little church.

    Marianne xo

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