I came to know you from Paul, the Apostle Paul to be exact. Reading the verses that mentioned you in the Book of Acts, there was something that was pulling me to you…
In retrospect, I needed to see you. You gave me the space and time to breathe again. You led me to my refuge amidst my very own shipwreck.
Oftentimes, I’m very good at compartmentalizing between my personal life, work, and my inner thoughts. It’s one of the reasons why it may shock some people when I say that I’ve been feeling anxious, in pain or sad. They don’t see past the smile, where the pain and disappointment like to dwell. But when things got too much, Lisbon taught me that it’s okay to sit in that moment. It’s okay to feel sad because sadness is as real as feeling happy.
Riding around the island on your rubble roads and steep hills, I saw your most protected ruins, vibrant fisherman village of Marsaxlokk, eclectic city centre, and fields of fertile farmland. Everywhere I turned was the crisp blue Mediterranean Sea sparkling and endless. There was always something about water that gave my heart peace. And you, Malta, are surrounded by it in every corner.
Taking a few moments to myself before getting back to the sightseeing bus, I sat cliffside in awe and hope. The kind of hope that I didn’t have much left of before landing at your footsteps. You see, I had a vision of a future life I thought could happen. It wasn’t a life of extravagance or incredible success. In fact, it was a simple life with very ordinary ways, nonetheless I cherished it dearly. Unfortunately, that life disintegrated right before I booked my plane tickets and hotel accommodations. Seeing the vastness of the Mediterranean Sea as I sat down by rocks and overgrown weeds reminded me that I have absolutely no control of my life now, in the past or in the future. Much like how the water has no choice of which beaches its waves crash onto. The water just goes with the flow yet somehow it has the power to move through mountains. How is that?
Malta, you taught me that having no control of my life does not mean that I should lose hope. Quite the opposite actually. You taught me that my life is guided by someone far greater than me. Someone who knows me better than I know myself, and has planned out a life far more fulfilling that I ever could. You led me to my refuge by faith.
I couldn’t fathom how Paul continued to have so much trust and faith despite being shipwrecked in an unknown island. It would have been easy to be persuaded with fears and anxieties. Afterall, he was human. And, I’m not saying that going to Malta has helped me gain a full understanding. Although, I do know this. Hope is not wishful thinking. Truly hoping for a better tomorrow means having the confidence to expect a better tomorrow through faith and trust that God has already created it for us. That’s the refuge He has given all of us.
P.S. For we walk by faith and not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7