Paintings, Pictures, and Pebbles

I am struggling to take the Greece out of my diet.

As all of us know by now, Greece tastes good! Even though I got deep fried in the intense Mediterranean sun, I had a fantastic time frolicking in the ancient ruins, eating pork gyros (yee-rows), and splashing around in the bright blue Aegean sea. It has been over a week since our return, and the taste of Greece is fading, but I will always have the pictures and the memories with me (unless I lose the pictures or get dementia).

To even begin to describe my experience in Greece is still difficult. The worst part of doing something fun is trying to explain your experience to others. Just as I expected, everyone that I have encountered since my trip has asked me the same question… “How was Greece?” Each time I start out by saying, “great!” And if they want to hear more, they usually will ask me something more specific. It seems impossible to put all three incredible weeks into a convenient answer that satisfies this good-natured question. If I’m being honest, I never really left Greece entirely.

I still carry with me the paintings, pictures and pebbles to remember each moment and monument that I encountered.

One of my biggest highlights of the trip was getting to see the workshop of one of the most famous iconographers in Greece. He created icons, which are paintings that are used in the Greek Orthodox Church. These paintings are holy works of art and are used as visual aids for worship in both liturgy and private devotion. Watching him paint was a beautiful and inspiring moment that I will always carry with me. I even was able to buy one of his icons, and he signed the back of it for me.

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This is the icon of Jesus that I purchased.


The paints he uses are very fine powders that he mixes with egg yolk. This creates a very thin, yet effective paint that he layers onto a handmade cloth canvas. It takes many layers to bring out the image. First you lay the darker colors, then lift the light from them. It is a delicate process that hasn’t changed since the Byzantine era.


Here he is at work! The staff that he holds is used for stability as he paints, and it helps prevent his hand from growing tired.

This wasn’t the only experience I had with paintings while I was in Greece. As I walked around in Rhodes, I found a painting that piqued my interest. It reminded me of Jazz and creativity, so I bought it for only 27 euros. It will soon be hanging up proudly in my dorm room, and it will inspire me as I continue to write music. I will always have this painting as a memory of one of the most gorgeous cities I have ever visited.


The painting I bought in Rhodes.

Besides the beautiful paintings that I carry with me, I have over 1000 photos from our stay in Greece. As a kid, my mom used to take so many photos. I never liked it, but she always told me that she wanted to remember what was happening. Now I understand what she means. Because I have so many photos, I was able to come home to my family and tell the story of Greece in great detail. They said that they felt like they were there with me, and it was because of the images that I have to remember my experience.

Lastly, I have taken with me a pebble from every city that we visited. I hope to create my own ebenezer out of these pebbles, because they are stones that help me remember where God has taken me. This trip was very expensive for me, and I took a big leap of faith by going, but God has supported me through every moment. Upon my return from Greece, I found out that I was receiving a church scholarship and an anonymous donation that combined to fulfill the exactly the amount of money that I paid for the trip… to the dollar! I know this is God’s hand in my life, and I am thankful that He has gone with me in every moment. If you respond the opportunities that God places in front of you, amazing things will happen. These rocks not only remind me of the places I have traveled, but they remind me of God’s love, faithfulness, and protection.

Although it has been difficult to leave Greece, there will always be a little Greece in my diet. Every painting, picture, and pebble will remind me of where I have been, and each will go with me on the many journeys to come.

ο Θεός να σε ευλογεί,

Austin White







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