As part of CYM’s Lenten Reflection: Crosswalk, we asked a few young people to reflect on Jesus’ journey to the Cross and how it relates to their own lives.
Testimony for the 5th Station of the Cross by Winton Ley
My childhood was spent in a mixture of places including Malaysia, New Zealand and Perth. Even though I was born and raised Catholic, it was not until my teenage years where I started seeking God, gradually helping me find my true identity with God. I began to understand that there will always be a void in me that only God could fill.
As we journey during Lent through the Stations of the Cross, the 5th station of the cross from scripture reads: “They pressed into service, Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross.” Reflecting on the 5th Station of the Cross, I can relate to 2 separate events of my life.
Like Simon, I find myself pressed into situations where I willingly took on the cross, and another which I was called to carry the cross unknowingly.
When I was around 15 years old, my mother, sister and I were in New Zealand. My mother would slave away working long hours from running the café to catering for private functions, simply to send us to a good school and to pay the mortgage. One day, as usual, I slept in, and because of me, my sister and I were late for school and my mother was running late to open up her café. With all the rush whilst driving, mum unknowingly went past the speed limit by 10km as her mind was so focused on getting us to school and rushing to the café. It was good business for the café in the early morning as these were times when people would get their morning coffees. A police officer somehow from the other side of the road makes a U-turn and catches up with mum’s car and pulls her over. The policeman then tells mum why he pulled her over and she did not believe it. She was panicking and was in disbelief. She was so concerned that she would not have the money to pay for the fine, let alone the bills, mortgage and school fees. She started crying and pleading with the policeman who had no concern over her despair. I was shocked and horrified to witness this as I’ve never seen my mother break down like that, and for what – simply a fine. That memory stayed with me for many years to come. I made a promise to myself to never let my mother cry because of financial pressure. Not knowing at that time that I wanted to take up this cross, I persevered. I worked hard and made sure that I did my best to ease the financial pressure she has. I’m still trying to do this and take care of my parents to this day. I’ve gotten to a point where I bought my own home and got my parents to move in with me so that they could pay off their own mortgage by renting out their property. Now I think back, it wasn’t just me taking up the cross, my mother was also carrying a very heavy cross to love and serve her children – that she would go through so much hardship and sacrifice for us.
Through other relationships in my life, I’ve also learnt to love, to be patient and to be tested. I really felt that God had led me to carry a cross to test my virtues and to teach me to love unconditionally. There have been many times I have struggled with personal suffering in various forms. One day I just felt so hopeless with everything and I asked God why? The question WHY kept coming and I cried and prayed – “Why this suffering?” Then Jesus revealed in a vision to me that what he went through on that cross was for love, and love involves suffering which is a cross we must learn to carry. Mother Teresa once said “Pain and suffering have come into your life, but remember pain, sorrow and suffering are but the kiss of Jesus – a sign that you have come so close to Him that He can kiss you.”
People who have come into my life helping me one by one, they are all there to help me bear these crosses. It’s as if my suffering, and the cross I carry, was meant to be shared with those around me. Even simply by listening or praying for me, giving me advice or crying for me.
GOD never leaves us alone.
I believe like Simon of Cyrene, we are all called to carry our crosses and trust that God will help us grow in faith and love on this journey; knowing that these crosses can only bring goodness as an end result. Now I am not afraid in picking up my crosses as I trust that God will help us through it; He will not give us anything we cannot handle.
Finally I’d like to say:
“It is not always in despair that we carry our crosses, but by the grace of God we find peace and joy in this selflessness.”