“But, brothers, when we were torn away from you for a short time (in person, not in thought) out of our intense longing we made every effort to see you. For we wanted to come to you- certainly, I, Paul, did, again and again but Satan stopped us.” “But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you.” “How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you?”
1 Thessalonians 2:17, 3:6 and 3:9
This is how I feel, over 2000 years later. I have brothers and sisters in Thessaloniki, and I have some of them in the United States. I miss them like we were torn away. I have the same intense longing that the Apostle Paul had. I constantly want to go back, as did Paul, but so much stood in the way. Frickin Satan and bad flight prices.
I know the feeling of being town away. I was the first flight out of Thessaloniki on June 6, 2009. My flight left at 6 am, and I was out until 4 crying and attempting to say my goodbyes. That was one of the worst nights in my life.
I felt as though I left my entire heart in Greece. Every time I go back, it gets a little bit easier to leave again. But that first time was brutal. In Thessaloniki, there’s the White Tower– the city’s most famous structure- which is what you see in the banner at the top of this page. The night I left Thessaloniki, I was at a place called Dogs, where many of us frequented. Dogs is on the port and just a few blocks away from the White Tower. The night I left my best friends at Dogs, I passed by the tower in my cab, but I never saw it…my tears were coming too thick.
I was torn from everything I knew for six months. I was torn from the people, the places, the culture and food that I loved. I’ve now been back to Greece twice since 2009 and my love affair still continues. Today, it’s easier though, because I have my very own Timothy’s. I’ve said in past posts that I have two friends living in Thessaloniki now, and they are my messengers. They remind me so much of my fond memories there, and constantly send me love from Greece.
I look back at my time in Thessaloniki like it didn’t actually happen. It was truly a dream to me. Everything I did, everything I saw and everyone I met, I loved…with exception to one crazy girl in our program. I still keep in close contact with my friends in Thessaloniki and around the U.S. that shared in the love Greece gave us.
We’re part of a family that can’t be touched, so similar to the Christian brotherhood Paul built in Thessaloniki. It’s on a day like today I just love that these verses are in 1st Thessalonians. When I have a day that’s hard and I miss Greece like crazy, I always go to Thessalonians and read. It’s a comfort to know that more than just my friends and I felt the same way leaving this perfect place. I constantly think about how I could thank God for what I was given. The opportunity to meet and love so many amazing people. The ability to live on my own and prosper in a country completely foreign to myself. I can’t thank God enough for what he gave me. For the joy I was brought through everyone in Greece.
My joy is in travel. I’m blessed with that calling, and I know so many of my wonderful friends here and there feel the same way. We were given our own family while in Greece, and we’ll do anything to keep it alive. Just like Paul.