Farewell to Cretan Chronicles


Sunset over Kalathas

Sunset over Kalathas

It seems appropriate that my 100th blog for Cretan Chronicles is also my last. Even as I write this, we have departed the island and are journeying across America to our home in Evergreen, Colorado.

Departing Horafakia - our Greek home village

Departing Horafakia – our Greek home village


 

Hello Colorado

Hello Colorado

 

 

 

 

 

I can’t even express the mixed emotions I feel as I think about our five years living on Crete and the realization that we won’t be returning, except for the few future visits we hope to accomplish.

View of White Mountains from Akrotiri

View of White Mountains from Akrotiri

My last day on Crete I wrote this journal entry:

July 30, 2014  When I look at photos of Kai and the rest of family and friends in Colorado, I know it’s time to return to the States and I am excited to see what God has planned for us there.  But right now, as I look over the calm blue morning sea of Crete and take in the sounds of cicada’s songs and the lilt of Greek conversation around me, I feel a tug at my heart that feels like homesickness.  I realize that in opening my heart to a new culture, I have also opened myself to the vulnerability of heartache.  I have let Crete and the people here get under my skin and it all has become a part of me, shaping and changing me in ways I never imagined.   So, it’s not without an ache of loss that I think about leaving this place.  God has bless us immeasurably in our experience here especially with good friends (many of whom have moved on.)  But I know that He has prepared us, fashioned us, tested us and refined us in this place of extreme harshness and beauty for His purposes.

Winter storm at the harbor

Winter storm at the harbor

What have I learned from my five years living in Crete?  From the simple and curious to the profound and serious:

1.  There is power in simplicity; freedom in the unencumbered; joy in living for each moment; peace in a slower pace.

2.  There’s always time to visit a friend or extend kindness to a stranger.

3.  Eat REAL food – if it’s wrapped in plastic or boxed in cardboard, avoid it.

4.  Organized chaos works as long as everyone knows and abides by the rules.  Case in point – driving the streets of Chania.

5.  Be prepared to laugh a lot at yourself if you’re brave enough to try to converse in Greek.

6.  America is a great country but it could (and should) humble itself and learn from other cultures.

7.  The only true Christian nation is not identified within borders, but rather by the diverse community of rag-tag believers around the world who simply desire to follow Christ and  belong to God’s Kingdom.

8.  There is a reluctant beauty in the hard places.

9.  I’m stronger than I thought I was but the more I learn, I realize, the less I know.

Preveli - South coast

Preveli – South coast

When we accepted this assignment with the US Navy at Souda Bay, Crete, we thought it was a two year stint.  Sure, we thought, two years is just about perfect.  Any longer might be a problem.  So, we ventured ahead with a prayer on our lips for two things in particular…1.  travel adventures and 2.  a deeper faith.  Watch out what you pray for.  Seems we got what we asked for but it took longer than we expected.  Now we look back and realize that two years would have cut us way short of the amazing blessings God had in store for us.  We think about all we would have missed if we had left three years earlier.  But we also think about what we missed back home in America during those last three years.  Bottom line, what we have discovered is that you can’t live your life to the fullest if you are paralyzed by the past or fearful of the future.  All any of us have is this moment right now and we are charged with living in this moment with wisdom and gratitude.  What a pity to miss the beauty of the here and now because we are blinded by the “if only’s” or afraid of the “what if’s.”  So, with that in mind, we forge ahead with great expectations of the next adventure, deep gratitude for the dear friendships left behind and a fresh wonder of the beauty in each moment.   Who knows?  Maybe the next blog will be “Colorado Chronicles??”

Happy trails, Kalo Taxidi and God bless,

Melanie and Richard

Winter afternoon walk in our village

Winter afternoon walk in our village

 

 

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About Melanie A Crane

Quote: "The best journeys ask questions that in the beginning you never thought to ask." (Anon) Here's my journey: Enjoying my short life on this earth one moment at a time by being intentional with God, family, traveling, cooking, gardening, Colorado living and all the perks that come with it, playing guitar, listening more and talking less. I've discovered that both cooking and travel can be messy at times but the risks can have some amazing results. The same goes for life lived with passion.
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4 Responses to Farewell to Cretan Chronicles

  1. Hugh Duffy says:

    Mel and Richard. Thank you thank you thank you for the joy you have brought from your adventures in Crete and Europe to our lives over here and the 9 lessons. Humbling. Hope to see you soon and to go bike riding together. HD

  2. Lynn says:

    Thanks so much for the Cretan Chronicles!!! i sure will miss them and i feel your pain and Joy of this move!!! I am already in dreams that i can return to the amazeing island life next summer for a visit!!! We all Had so much to learn in our life there and it will always hold a part of our hearts. Go well my friends and May you be blessed as you bless others along the way. love Lynn

  3. danikadrotar says:

    Hello ~ my name is Danika and you don’t know me, but I stumbled upon your blog one day because I love reading travel blogs, and I instantly connected with your blog because I’m a fellow believer and also grew up in Colorado! I’ve really enjoyed your blog (intermingled with faith) and love the prayer that you expressed: to travel more and to deepen your faith. That’s pretty much my prayer too. I also really relate to the “vulnerability of heartache” because I’ve been living in South Korea for the past two years. Living in another culture does something to you…it changes your heart and mind forever. May God bless you guys as you go back and probably experience reverse culture shock!

  4. Natassa says:

    Dear Melanie and Richard,
    I also stumbled upon your blog some months ago.

    I loved it: it helped me see my beloved home island, Crete, through a visitor’s/ temporary resident’s eyes.
    Thank you for sharing moments and thoughts with us. I enjoyed the journey so much!
    And your photos are truly amazing.

    I wish you all the best!

    Natasha, Heraclio, Crete

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