Naaah, this is not about the movie adapted from a Nicholas Sparks novel.
I was able to visit the Walkway at the High Street twice; first with my mom on Maundy Thursday, and second with a friend who went to the Bonifacio Global City for the first time on Black Saturday.
Set up at the lawns of the Bonifacio High Street in observance of the Holy Week (April 1, Palm Sunday – April 8, Easter Sunday), the Walkway is a creative and interactive exhibit which shows the scenes on the Passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. For Catholics, it is a creative version of the Stations of the Cross, where people need not pray on every Station, as most of us usually do. One can instead read and reflect upon the messages written on huge black or white boards, which were based from Bible passages primarily discussing how Jesus went through this chapter in His life, from historical accounts, and from the book He Chose the Nails by Max Lucado. He can also participate in interactive activities which imply the said messages and reflections.
Mama and I were supposed to hike to Via Dolorosa at Pinagmisahan Hill in Antipolo for the Stations which we used to do before, until I sort of forced her to go to High Street instead. She was doubtful at first for aside from the travel time we would take going there, how come this kind of religious activity would be set up in a public and commercial place like the High Street? Well, I convinced her it’s not about the location but the reflections we can learn and gain there. (Naks.)
The crowd we saw there was unexpected as we arrived there, for we thought most living in Metro Manila would spend the Holy Week in the provinces and only a handful would be left in Manila. Yet, we took time to see and experience the walkway. And I could say he whole experience was pleasantly, and more of heart-strikingly, surprising.
True enough, the reflections written on the boards would indirectly ask the readers how his life, his relationship with God and the people closest to him went. Some of them would even bother you to the point that you would feel your heart being pounded so hard and burst into tears without knowing. [Yeah, I went through that. In 4 Stations. I actually couldn’t help but cry (hagulgol must be the right term) on Mama’s shoulder in the Station where Mary was entrusted by Jesus to John. Come on, who would not be vulnerable when you were told straight on your face how much your mother had sacrificed for you to live in this world full of harsh atrocities? I was able to tell her that I love her so much, and I felt sorry for her. She asked my, “Why say sorry?” I did not answer her back.
Those tears were bitter reminders of the fact that I don’t tell Mama what I am going through, and that would be the greatest sin I made.] Here were some messages Lucado shared in the Walkway:
If [Jesus] could, He would have turned His head back on the whole mess. But He didn’t. He didn’t because He saw you. Right in the middle of a world that isn’t fair. He saw you being betrayed by the ones you love – in your own garden of gnarled trees and sleeping friends. He saw you because He didn’t want you to be alone. He had made His decision. He would rather go to Hell for you than go to Heaven without you. (Station 1)
Oftentimes, the things we pursue the most are also tied to our greatest fears – what we love the most is what we fear losing the most. (Station 2)
Why let [God’s] Son suffer what might be the most gruesome punishment in all of History? For moral duty? A heavenly obligation? None of these. He just LOVED the world. John 3:16 mentioned, “For God so LOVED the world He GAVE His only Son.” His motivation was love. His motivation was you. (Station 9, not the exact words)
I also got to participate in interactive activities there, like carrying a replica of the cross, nailing my ‘sins’ on another cross, writing my prayers for everyone I love and praying for other visitors in the Walkway, and enjoying the bread and wine the organizers prepared.
As mentioned, I also brought a friend here before his flight to Japan, and I was happy to know that he also experienced the same thing I did, and told me that was such he would always remember.
This space here might not be enough to encode everything I learned there. But walking through that garden in the middle of a mall turned into a spiritual sanctuary, I had realized a lot about my life and my relationships with God and other people. Amidst all the hassles of the city life caused by overwhelming stresses and pressures in almost all its aspects, I had found God again telling me how much He loved all of us to the point that He gave up something so important to Him. Despite all the bad stuff happening around us nowadays, I was taught to live my life with and for Him and share the love He gave me to others in ways simplest.
Therefore, that was truly a walk to remember. For always.