Donald (or was it Ronald or Arnold it does not matter) was feeling depressed. Not so much depressed. More useless. At times he was overwhelmed by the sterility of life, its impotence, its lack of meaning.
Everything he had done in the past now seemed such a waste of time. His marriage had fallen apart. His ex-wife had custody of the three children, and they lived in China (or Indonesia or down the road it does not matter). He had had three different jobs in the last twenty years, and in all of them he had made no headway. It was humdrum.
When he came home to his small flat at the end of a rather pretty cul-de-sac, he’d make a special effort to cook a decent meal, and would sit down with the evening paper, because the news on T.V. simply made him angry with nothing but political propaganda. On Saturdays he’d put a dollar or two on the horses, not much mind, because he wasn’t compulsive, but just enough to make the races on the radio interesting.
He couldn’t help but think that in another twenty years time he’d be due to retire, and then could spend all his time doing what now he did only on Saturdays. The possibility, at times, appeared futile.
One Sunday, in an effort to overcome this futility, he mustered all the energy he could and did something. A friend (or was it an acquaintance or a work mate it does not matter) had said you’ve got to give yourself a good shake. A good shake. So one evening he went out of the house to a charismatic church gathering.
Nothing much happened at first, but after about an hour he stood up and testified to the futility of his life and his lack of love and caring. So they all prayed over him, and the minister (or vicar or community leader it does not matter) said to go home and take out the Good Book. And putting your trust in the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit open a page at random and without looking put your finger anywhere on the page and that would be God’s message for you.
So he went home, and got out the Bible, which he and his wife had purchased after their first baby because somehow having a Bible in the house was auspicious (or promised fair weather or a prosperous voyage it does not matter). He opened it at random and placed his finger on the page.
It was the prophet Jeremiah:
O land, land, land,
list this man as one who made
a failure of his life.