Queenie's Major Problem
When severe guilt and depression afflicts a person, life hardly seems worth living. It overshadows everything else, creating behavior and an attitude that conflicts with society at every turn. Skills, efficiency and personal relationships suffer, and paranoia becomes a constant companion.
Major Ramsey, the lead character in Queenie’s Major Problem, found himself in that dilemma at the age of thirty-two, just when his career had taken a meteoric rise. His superior at a nationally known corporation empathized with Major, recognized that there were valid reasons for his down state, and gambled that Major might find himself given release from job pressures and demands of his community. Thus, the considerate superior offered Major an unpaid leave of absence from his position, which became the vote of confidence that prevented Major from ending his misery with a bullet.
Although religious and moral, Major didn’t have Job’s sound faith in God to sustain him during his period of mourning and self-incrimination. Self hate and desire for punishment completely dominated Major because everything pointed to him as being responsible for the deaths of his parents, wife and two small children. Their deaths happened in two separated incidents, only six weeks apart, removing the five people most important in his life. He wanted to die and find relief from his pain, but earnestly desired atonement for his sins and guilt before moving to the hereafter, whatever that might be in his case.
So, when the offer of a leave of absence arose, Major decided to sell everything he owned and use the meager proceeds to finance a year long trek of the United States, shanks’ mare, walking without purpose or destination, living at only subsistence levels, and punishing his body as just rewards for his transgressions to his family and society. His year of trekking would end in finding peace and atonement, or else the inevitable bullet would find the proper place to end his misery.
At the outset, Major imposed difficult “commandments for the road” for himself, and had an inkling that the trek would be demanding, precisely the punishment he thought he deserved. However, he had no way of knowing where his travels would lead nor how the varied experiences he would face could impact his mental well being and future. It began rudely when an unfriendly hunting dog peed on Major’s sleeping bag while he cringed inside, hoping not to be attacked. Assaults by ants, leeches and hoodlums added to his desired misery. Other encounters quickly showed that many people have severe problems, and he helped many of them over major life hurdles. Those occasions caused him to look outwardly instead of inwardly, and his self-esteem began to rise.
A chance encounter with an attractive young lady created a new dimension to his life, but neither she nor anything else deterred him from finding the relief he sought. At the end of the test year, Major was greatly affected by the numerous events during his trek, some delightful, some dangerous and harrowing, and some were inspiring and uplifting. Major concluded that he could reasonably expect a normal life, even one that included painful memories and shame for his past sins. One of his self-imposed rules for the year was to completely sever ties with his former life, and was unaware of surprising developments that had a bearing on his misery. Crusades end eventually, some in dignity and accomplishments, some causing misery, and some with the crusader finding his or her elusive Holy Grail. Major’s yearlong crusade ended with startling surprises, with him finding a Holy ???? ??? ?????? ???????? ?? ????? ???? ?????????