Stations in life

I was a little bit excited this morning, as I looked forward to watching the champions’ league semi-final match between Real Madrid and Bayern Munich. We used to have battle royals with these teams in Europe but alas, post Fergie we are now likely to not even be in Europe, let alone play in the ECL. Moyes’ departure has generated many column inches too and whoever comes in to replace him has a huge rebuilding task – something Fergie could not do in his final years, probably due to a restrained budget.

I was going to watch the second half of the game on the cross trainer in the gym this morning, and as I waited for the train, I stole glances at the live report on the BBC app.

And then… the train stalled at Laburnum, a little station just before Box Hill. A couple of minutes later the driver made an announcement that there has been yet another intrusion into the tracks. A lady was threatening self harm and police were on the scene. The train ended up delayed, and it changed plans to head into Flinders directly and bypassed the city loop. I had to get off at Richmond and wait for another train – all in a 20 minute delay.

To top it off, for one reason or another, the tv on the cardio machines couldn’t get SBS this morning so I ended up watching a grand total of maybe 10 seconds of highlight on the ABC news.

So I was a little annoyed. What stayed in my mind though, were thoughts about that woman on the tracks, and the apparent increased occurrence of such events. It must have been the third time this year, where someone got onto the train tracks and train schedules and operations were messed up as a result. I said a prayer for that woman this morning. Life must have become so confused, so tangled and so difficult generally, for someone to contemplate that. What events could have triggered that outcome? Did she have no one to turn to? To be sure, thoughts about being under the influence of alcohol or drugs crossed my mind. But those could be the symptoms and not the cause. Even if drugs and alcohol brought this on, one probably still has to work out what those triggers might have been. Or could drugs and alcohol actually be the cause?

I wondered how many lives were affected other than that lady’s. On the platform at Richmond station, two men donning Australia Post tradies’ garbs made calls saying they would be late. Several other people were on the phone. Me missing that Real Madrid game really should pale into complete insignificance. Almost certainly however, none of the resultant inconveniences would have stacked up against that lady’s challenges. I also wondered if life in the suburbs of Melbourne has generally become more challenging for some. Why is there an escalation of such incidents? Or is there? It may just be my perception. I may be growing old and grumpy and taking more notice of such disruptions to my commuting. But then again there really could be an escalation of such incidents. If indeed there has been an escalation, why? How can I, how can the church, make a difference?