To attend the wedding of one of our members in the town of Geelong, in January several years ago, my wife and I flew from Brisbane to the Avalon airport south of Melbourne, which was close to our destination. Upon our arrival we hired a car for our stay in the area and began the short 20 minute drive to Geelong. As we approached the outskirts of Geelong, we stopped at an information centre to obtain some maps of the region. In particular we wanted to know more about “vanning” which was our term for living out of a car. The information centre was quite new and had not been equipped with computers, so we had to ask a staff member to check our maps for us.
The drive was not difficult, the climate was pleasant, the sky wasoubtedly blue and the roads were well lit. After a few hours of searching the map trying to figure out the “lanterns” limits we decided to get back into the car and continue to our destination. As we approached the area we had enjoyed as a stop, we spotted a particularmotorsports shop gracefully adorned in bright sign. As we approached and stopped Emerson Road, the sign read ” parted by ” it read. “No parking permitted”.
The man behind the counter smiled at us and said,” you’re lucky our customers are permitted to park their cars in this area on this occasion, there are many people visiting for their holidays on this day.Would you like to come in and see our cars? “He ushered us in to his showroom and we were given a choice of any one of two vehicles, a sports car or the standard family car. I selected the standard family car – a fully camouflaged muscle car. I was handsome in my sports car. It was step in the right direction.
Once we had finishedooling down the back of the standard car we headed out of the locality in which we were, to find it was public parking lot where conversions were common. I asked the man if it was possible to park my sports car in this area, he was not sure what I wanted, but it was not costsfull to accommodate me, so I decided to go to another car park which was only ten minutes walk away.
As I approached the car park I saw it was lit up and people were visiting all around. There were many tables set in a semi-circle, on the ground or standing up, many people were visiting and enjoying the atmosphere. I walked over to one of the tables and as I walked closer I could see there were actually two tables in the small group of people seated. I smiled and greeted Jim who was enjoying a coke from a can of pop, also a member of our group, and asked him how his day had gone. He had had surgery the day before and the doctor said he was fine and to come back tomorrow.
He continued to tell us how his day had gone, that he always tries to enjoy the holidays as much as possible, and that he is looking forward to the New Year.
I had decided to sit back and enjoy the atmosphere, and at one point I looked at my watch and noticed it was almost 10 p.m. Well I decided maybe I should still come back at a later time, and I decided to check my phone for messages. Sure enough there were several, I picked one and sent it to the person on vacation.
This message was mystifying. The name he gave was that of another passenger on the flight. He had not made the same declarations about his day that I had, and the letter said nothing about any accidents or events that he was unaffected by. He wasn’t saying anything about me either, so I suggested he read it before reacting.
Perhaps this would give him peace of mind and in due time he would make the connection between what the message said and what was happening in his life, right? Wrong. His day continued to get worse and I couldn’t help but share it with one of my friends.
I didn’t share everything with anyone else but as word spreadFarha slowly and surely word spread throughout the community that this Jeremiah fellow was suffering from some form of mental illness and was not doing a good job of his job. A few hours passed, and word spread about what was going on in his life, quite sanely. There was a flurry of e-mails going around as people tried to make sense of this confusion.
Some tried to reason that if he was so depressed it must be due to the loss of some type of joy, and that would explain the reason for his suicide. A lot of people were trying to determine if there was a connection between his state and God, if believing in a God was a sufficient explanation for such a state, and so forth.