by Aaron Ching, 27 years old
Before coming to the School of Witness, I always sought validation from others. This is especially so at work where I sought to gain the validation of my bosses and seniors by portraying myself as a “hard worker”. I also chose to bottle up all my frustrations and anxieties, not revealing it to anyone as I did not want to appear weak and be labelled as a “strawberry” (someone who is easily bruised by challenges). Amidst all of this, I was angry with Jesus. He never seemed to respond to my cry for help when I called to Him in prayer. Over time, I gave up on what Jesus could do for me. I started observing my Catholic obligations out of duty, rather than my love for Jesus. It was only after having a conversation with an OYP staff and my girlfriend that I realised how far from Jesus I was. I was striving, but I was far from thriving. I could see Jesus knocking the doors of my heart and wanting me to be whole in my life again. Taking a leap of faith, I responded to His invitation by coming for the School of Witness.
At one of the first sessions in SOW, we were invited to confront the various misconceptions we may have of God. God to me was like a watchmaker – someone who created me and abandoned me to myself. However, as I reflected, I learnt that God does not abandon His creation (CCC #301). With this in mind, I decided to give God a chance.
During SOW, I could see how Jesus was slowly breaking down the walls that I had built myself between Him and me. My turning point came during inner healing week, where Jesus revealed to me two memories when I was about 11/12 years old. Firstly, I recalled being angry at my late grandfather and being scolded by my family for making my grandfather worried. Secondly, I recalled how I was still angry at my grandfather right before he passed away. I realized that these incidences have shaped me to become silent as my existence seemed to cause nothing but trouble. When I was invited to see where Jesus was in the memories, I saw Him sitting beside me in my anger, and also when I saw my grandfather in the mortuary.
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As I approached Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, I asked to be healed of this guilt and shame of how I never got to reconcile with my late grandfather before his death. I screamed and cried, releasing all those years of pain that I had unknowingly swept under the carpet. As I rested in the Spirit, I felt my body being carried as I heard the sound of waves by the seashore. I was like an injured lamb that Jesus the Good Shepherd was carrying in His arms as He nursed me back to health. Through this experience, I claim the security and safety of being in the hands of my Lord as He continues to heal me of my wounds.
As I journey deeper into my life with Jesus, I must confess that it is not a bed of roses. I can see how He is still inviting me to surrender the discomfort of not having answers. An image that I received was of me being a little child holding a small teddy bear and Jesus is asking me to surrender this small teddy bear in exchange for a larger teddy bear. Through this vision, I am affirmed that Jesus calls me to live not a life of mediocrity, but of wholeness and with a purpose.
In Matthew 6:33, Jesus says “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and everything else shall be added unto you.” I proclaim with conviction that my time at SOW 2020 was a result of Jesus’ relentless pursuit of my heart, to drag me out from my darkness and into His light. I know that wherever you are now in your life journey, God is there with you and is pursuing your heart relentlessly too. Will you let Him love you too, and experience this wholeness and freedom in your life?
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