By Michael J. Kellis, DO, FAOASM, Precision Orthopaedic Specialties, Inc.
I recently had the opportunity to visit the village of Mesta on the island of Chios, Greece. This is the village from where my family originated. It is one of three medieval villages still in existence today. It was built in the 1400’s and still thrives as an agricultural community which produces olive oil, almonds, grapes and a resin known as mastic which is used in numerous natural and therapeutic products.
Even though Mesta has the appearance of a medieval village, many things have changed. There is electricity (not so when I was growing up there), running water and sanitation, and even internet located in the village square. There are some things however that have not changed through the centuries, which continue to strengthen the resolve of the people and have allowed this primitive, little village to not only survive, but to thrive.
The first of these amazing traits is persistence. These people survived the Turkish invaders, pirates and even Hitler’s invasion of Greece. Now they survive through one of Greece’s worst economic disasters in history. They never back down. They still get up before the sun rises, continue to farm their land and go to bed long after the sun goes down. Hard work prevails, even though they make very little. They are happy providing for their family. Persistence maintains their endurance.
The second trait that the villagers have is gratitude. They are grateful for their health, their families and their small farms. There was not a day that went by that I didn’t hear someone say, “Glory to God, I’m doing well.” Even in the bleakest of times, the people are grateful for the little that they have, especially their health. With each trip to the village, I manage to take a suitcase full of medicines and vitamins and to treat as many as are in need. I visited a childhood friend dying of a very painful cancer and gave him a natural pain cream that I developed. He was so grateful to have even a little relief from his excruciating pain. The smile never left his face despite his circumstances and his pain.
The third and probably the most significant characteristic that I witnessed in these villagers is their undying faith in God. They survived the massacre and enslavement of thousands by the Turks, German barbarism, the small pox epidemic, and now the economic devastation of their small country threatening their very livelihoods; yet, each day, they persevere with the most amazing saying, “Glory to God, I’m doing well!” This strengthened my faith in an ever-present God and made me so grateful for all that I have.
During this holiest of seasons, may we as Americans realize how truly blessed we are, learn to persevere through adversity, and to be grateful for everything and everyone. May we learn the basic prayer of simple villagers, “Glory to God, I’m doing well!”