From what I hear (and see in photos) of winter in Crete this year, I’m happy to be in snowy Colorado rather than in the Mediterranean. Violent storms have ripped through Crete and left devastation in various ways across the island. When we lived on Crete, I remember the wild winter weather complete with sideways rain and shutter shaking wind. We even got snow at sea level one year. Just a trace but still a weird phenomenon to wake up to. Now I look at photos like this and wonder how the locals will ever recover.
But recover they will. They always do. Cretans are a tough bunch of survivors (just look at their history of occupation by foreign powers.) Winter is unpredictable on the island- all the more reason to appreciate the beauty born out of a fierce storm as well as the little glimpses of spring that are just now emerging.
Our first winter on the island was challenging and quite frankly – a little depressing mostly because homesickness had set in. But each season has its purpose and we quickly learned to appreciate what winter had to offer. In my book, Uniquely Crete: Life Redefined on a Greek Island, I reflect on the challenge of learning to live in the moment – even if the moment wasn’t so easy:
Theologian Deitrich Bonhoeffer wisely said, “It is in our securing things for tomorrow which makes us so insecure today.” Our biggest challenge was resisting the temptation to look so far ahead that we failed to live in the moment.
Perhaps that is the most valuable lesson I learned from living abroad. Living in the moment taught me to open my eyes, be aware and be sensitive to everything going on around me.
If I spent too much time nursing the “if only’s” or pining about the “what if’s” I would completely miss the breath of God on this one moment in time, the “Wow!” of now.
If it’s true that God inhabits every moment, then there’s always something to smile about in every day. Sometimes you really have to look hard to find it. Other times it’s just around the corner. All the time, it’s there waiting for the observant wanderer with a grateful heart.
Nothing breathes warmth and life into the heart of winter’s discontent like gratitude…and as we soon discovered, a working fireplace.
…But that’s a different story in a different chapter.