I hate when good things come to an end.
I guess really everyone does though, don’t they?
Leaving Crossroads two weeks ago was hard for me. Not only was I leaving some of my best friends, I was leaving the trip of a lifetime. Getting on the plane in Dallas and flying home was saddening but I knew I’d be back with Crossroads in future summers!
Now that I’m home, people always ask if I enjoyed my trip, if I liked it.
Sometimes, I don’t even know what to say. I mean, how do I even begin to articulate the immense blessing that Crossroads was in my life?
How do I explain to someone, in passing, that I met Christ everyday in the other walkers and the people we met?
When we were in El Paso, I saw a superhero. You see, we were at the abortion clinic there, praying as usual.
Many people came in and out. Most ignored us, some stopped and spoke with the sidewalk counselor there. She offered them post-abortive healing – something they desperately needed. After a while, a woman came out sobbing. She and the sidewalk counselor embraced, then began to talk.
We assumed the woman needed healing – her abortion had obviously left her distraught, so we began to pray for her. She eventually left, and we hoped that she would stay in contact with the sidewalk counselor.
I remember having respect for this woman- it’s not easy to admit that you are suffering, especially after something like an abortion. I mean, aren’t we told it’s “okay” and it’s “no big deal”? So to ask for help, especially from a pro-lifer who is targeted as “the enemy”? That’s almost akin to admitting you were wrong, which takes courage and humility to do.
As we were leaving the abortion clinic though, the sidewalk counselor explained to us what had happened that day. Our assumptions had been wrong – God be praised, the woman wasn’t searching for healing post-abortion. Instead, she had been in the palm of the Enemy, in the abortion clinic itself when she had turned around, walked out the front door, and saved her child’s life.
As I said, I saw a superhero that day. I only wish I could have met her.
It’s easy to say “well she didn’t save a life, she simply didn’t take one”. But surrounded by lies, by people telling her that her child’s death was the only way out, doesn’t it take a superhero to see through these lies? Doesn’t it take a superhero to “no” even under such extreme pressure? Doesn’t it take a superhero to walk away from the “easy path” and choose the unclear one?
I pray for that woman. I pray for her child. For their safety, health, and well-being, but most of all that she always know she made the right choice.
We met so many amazing people at every parish, at every stop. I’ll never forget the doctor we called our “guardian angel”! Two weeks into the walk another walker and I developed bronchitis. Well, technically I developed bronchitis then managed to infect him. But that’s just a detail.
After a trip to urgent care, we hoped that we were on the mend. It wasn’t to be though. After another week of coughing and coughing and coughing, a family at a parish we were speaking at stopped us. The mother of the family had heard me coughing and told me that her husband, who was a doctor, would see me! This amazing family ended up opening their home to me and my sick compatriot. After listening to our cough, our guardian angel doctor prescribed us some antibiotics and sent us on our way. Luckily, they did the trick and eventually the walk was well again.
I wish I could write about every host family we had, every person who really was Christ for us. But this is a blogpost, not a book, so I’ll have to leave it at this: every host family we had was a blessing. Some woke up at 5 am to cook us breakfast, others let us use their pool and warm towels. Still others set up air mattresses and Netflix for us and they all cooked absolutely amazing food. No matter where we went, we had a little family.
(photo by Will Callaghan)
Even now, I keep in touch with the amazing people I walked with. They were all like my older siblings – loving, great role models, and just a little bit weird! I’ll always remember my late night talks with them, and the advice they gave me about all aspects of life.
Through all the people I met this summer, my life was changed. I’ll never be quite the same, and I’ll never look at the world in quite the same way.
Before Crossroads, I thought I had a strong faith. I prayed at the local abortion clinic 4-5 times a year, I went to mass every Sunday and every Thursday, I had even started praying the rosary while I drove. But now I truly understand how much more my faith can grow. I learned how much God truly loved me at Crossroads, and I learned how much I truly love him and my Holy Mother. Now I feel lost without daily mass, I ache to go to adoration and confession, and morning and night prayer are an integral part of my day. I’m already applying to be a volunteer with my local crisis pregnancy center, and I hope to be trained as a sidewalk counselor one day.
I’m not saying this to pat my own back, to say what a good job I’ve done. Because truly, my faith is so little compared to others. I’m still so lost in this world, and I still find myself believing so many of Satan’s lies. But I tell you this to try to explain how much Crossroads and the people I met while walking changed my life.
Before I walked, I was searching for Christ, but I really didn’t quite understand how to find him. Today, I’m still searching, I’m still walking towards him, and I always will be. But this summer I learned what the path I needed to walk looked like and how to truly draw closer to him.
Each person I met this summer was on this path. Really, we all are. And because they chose to share a little part of their journey with me, they pointed me in the right direction, helping me reorient myself every time I got lost.
When I went on Crossroads I said I wanted to change lives, and I guess I started with my own.
by Anneliese “Al”