Sep 6, 2008

WYD'08 Syd II: Our Daily Journey

A lovely dinner with our host family in Sydney. Thank you all for your hospitality! Standing (left to right): Me, Shawna, Pete. Seated: Sarah (right) and her elder sister, Anne..

Last Monday was a holiday for all Malaysians for the celebration of our Independence Day. Sr. Perpetua, the Franciscan nun who went together with us to WYD invited a friend and I over to her place (convent) to have a catch-up session with each other. We had lunch and at the same time, we shared with each other what we’ve received from WYD08.

When it was my turn, I expressed my worries as to why my testimony was different from others. Most pilgrims who have been to World Youth Day would probably say that WYD is all about the Catechesis by the Bishops, the prayers (i.e. Station of the Cross, Taizé, etc.), fellowship with many other pilgrims from all corners of the world, the exchange of cultures, the journey from one location to another, meeting the Pope, and how these encounters actually touched them but for me, it was rather a different experience. According to Sr. Perpetua, it is more to the spiritual aspect.

From the first day I landed in Melbourne till the last day when I left Sydney, the journey we had was in a hassle. We had to wake up very early in the morning, rushed to the church for Morning Mass and after a fast breakfast, we rushed off to the venue of respective events. Those who were younger and stronger walked in front with faster pace, while the rest were trying to catch up with them. Occasionally, we had to stop just to wait for those who were far behind and because of that, those at the front were not very happy and made some nasty remarks. The whole journey on foot from one place to another was unpleasant, particularly when all of us had to rush and we could barely enjoy the scenery or observe our surroundings. The worst part was when we had to walk up a sloppy road, which left me breathless at one point of time and I was almost left behind by my group! Every night by the time we reached home (of our hosts), it was almost midnight.

Having our group photo snapped for remembrance at St. Joseph Church, Chelsea, Melbourne. Our priest in his (white) cassock is Fr. Simon.

This journey of rushing from east to west made me realize something: Life itself is a journey. Some people travel through life hastily, so fast that they let many beautiful moments pass them by. Some took their sweet time as they savour every moment of life, be it times of sorrow or happiness. Some others, even though they are way ahead, they are still willing to stop and wait, or even go back for their friends who are left behind. Of course, there are also those who refuse to wait and prefer to be Number 1 in everything, and they would do anything to reach their destination.

Someone told me that this is the reality of life; life goes on no matter what happened and it does not wait for anybody. Time and tide wait for no men, as the saying goes. Yes, this is true about our present life. However, I still believe that each of us does not need to follow the crowd and the worldly trend. We are all given the choice of how we want to live our lives. Why do we have to rush through life? Why need to compete with our fellow travellers? Is the final achievement more important than the process or the journey of getting there? At Judgement Day, would we be judged according to our achievement?

Life is short, and it is not easy to live a life we are called to live, especially with the presence of endless temptations and worldly desires that never fail to attack us everyday. Amidst all the difficulties we face, we still ought to live our lives to the fullest possible. One day at a time, one step at a time. We may be behind others in many aspects (e.g. wealth, career, knowledge, health, etc.), but what is more important is to take time to ponder and appreciate what we have gone through at the end of the day, and at the same time eagerly await to witness His glory again in the mystery of tomorrow.