It took just six words to fulfill the dream of a lifetime. “Ladies and gentlemen,” the flight attendant announced, “welcome to Malta.” No one on the plane clapped or cheered as the midnight arrival taxied to the gate, but inside I was dancing with excitement. All my life I had learned about my Maltese heritage. Although my dad was born in Washington, D.C., both of his parents grew up in the tiny island nation of Malta.
As a child I loved pointing to the speck on the map in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, just south of Sicily, to show others where it is. When asked about my nationality, which was a common question because of my olive skin, ethnic features, and impossible-for-Americans-to-pronounce last name, I proudly announced I was Maltese. I loved hearing my grandma’s stories about swimming in the Mediterranean when she was a girl. When she died in 1999, her ashes were scattered in the deep blue waters of the sea she loved so much.
For years I dreamed, hoped, and wished that I could visit Malta. But life is always full and I couldn’t find room – room in the budget, room in the schedule. Then my husband and I made a bold move. We booked the trip anyway and trusted the budget and schedule would find space to accommodate our decision to go. We booked the trip nine months in advance so we had time to take off work and save money for travel, but we booked it. We didn’t just talk about it; we decided and made it official with plane tickets and a hotel reservation.
Even though I had been dreaming of a trip to Malta for decades (3 ½ decades to be precise), it wasn’t until we made a decision that the dream became reality. In the nine months between booking the trip and boarding the plane that was Malta bound, we worked out the details, like who would babysit our kids and how the cost would fit in the finances. The beautiful thing is that it all worked out. Every piece came together – but not until after we made the decision.
For nine months, whenever we were stressed my husband I would text each other – one word was enough – Malta. It reminded us of the good things coming. It pointed to the decision we made to make room in our lives for this important journey. It helped us count the days, knowing that our trip to Malta was getting closer.
Until we made the decision, my dream of seeing Malta was not getting closer. In fact, the longer I waited for my dream without signs of progress the more distant it felt. It wasn’t until we made a decision that the dream took on flesh and bone.
How many other dreams do I have that are only waiting for me to make a decision before they become reality? Some of it is timing, to be sure. The season was right for the decision to be made. I was ready to do whatever it took to make it happen. But I am learning an important lesson about dreams and decisions. As I write this, poolside in Malta, I am living my dream. I am living my dream not merely because I had a dream – this was a good first step – but the dream has become reality because I made a decision. The decision makes all the difference.
What dreams do you have? How are your decisions moving you closer to dreams?