“Crossroads”: Immediately there comes to mind the name of a certain store that sells the latest trends and fashions in women’s clothing. For me, it is also the name of a pro-life group whose aim is to walk across the country in order to promote the dignity of all human life from the moment of conception to natural death.
By walking through the many cities and towns along the coast of Australia we hope to touch hearts and change minds in today’s society where the right to life is based on an arbitrary criteria, such as mental illness, disability, age, and in the case of the unborn child, time and size.
Crossroads began about 20 years ago in the US when Pope John Paul II preached to the youth at World Youth Day to “go out and preach the Gospel of Life into the streets.” In response to his words, a team of 12 people took this literally and started to walk across the US as a peaceful witness to the unborn. Today, Crossroads has grown to a large organization which spans across several countries including Australia. At the beginning of this year, I signed up for the fifth annual Australian walk from Brisbane to Melbourne in one of the hardest and yet most rewarding months I have ever had.
As we walked each day, we wore bright fluorescent yellow t-shirts with the words, “Pro-Life” across the front. It is often these shirts that would spark up conversations with people along the way. It is our silent, yet powerful presence as a pro-life force that speaks to the people. It tells them we believe in life, and not only believe, but are prepared to walk across the coast of Australia in the heat for this belief.
A typical day at crossroads ran thus; wake up, morning prayers, local mass, then we’re off, smearing ourselves all over in sunscreen, don our hats and start walking. It was both a spiritual and a physical battle. Every day, taking it step by step with aching muscles, blisters, sweat, and short tempers by the day’s end. Time and time again, what kept me going was the reminder of why I was doing this walk. Aside from the pains and aches, there is a lot of laughter, jokes, and fun and many memories were made in that month with our “fam” of twelve people.
Would I recommend spending your summer holidays doing this walk for all those unborn babies and their mothers in the heat? Yes! We can go out of our comfort zones for the babies that are being atrociously killed and for those lives that are weighed in the balance. A quote from Martin Luther King Jnr comes to mind, “our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.” For me, Crossroads was about finding out why I believe in pro-life, what it meant to say I’m pro-life, and why standing up for the unborn is so important. It was about finding that knowledge from within and coming to that realization that our very identity is undermined when we don’t stand up for our basic human rights.
Felicity Yeo is a committed young pro-lifer and student at Campion College studying liberal arts.