32. Adelaide - Mannered and measured

 

It was most unusual to see Isobel cutting out an article from our daily newspaper. This kind of activity I was renowned for, accumulating quite a collection. I asked, what significance the article had. She answered that she’d send it to our son Ben in Sydney. She had marked a comment by an Englishmen, who had worked for the Sunday Times in London, about life in Adelaide. Isobel found the last 3 words of the paragraph peculiar:

 

“I love living in Adelaide,“ Max said. “I thought Adelaide would do my head in after living in London and Sydney for a while, but I find it really mannered and measured.”

 

I hinted that ‘measured’ sounds like numbers. Before I could say that the first three letters of mannered form ‘man’, she interrupted and wanted to hear no more. My efforts to open her eyes to what I clearly perceived making sense, did not get beyond first base. For some reason it was often on the way to church Sunday mornings that I tried to get my lovely wife to open her mind and see some of the wonderful things God showed me.

 

Amongst my frustration I would often discover some of God’s wonderful humour. It felt as if HE had selected my wife and me to have fun with. Isobel had only recently started buying small peppermints called ‘Tic-Tac’. Just when I would reach a certain level of raised excitement, trying to make her see an incredible co-incident, Isobel would offer me a Tic-Tac. It was a diversion, much like “has the dog been fed yet” in a previous chapter.

 

How funny was it that the few letters of the peppermints tell exactly what is happening between us: T I C – T A C (reading backwards). I find it even more humourous that my wife has been given voluntary work to do, as part of her program to re-enter the workforce. She has been allocated to the “Blind Society”. She will be working in the administration of their ‘Lottery Ticket Sales’. Was there someone else, who could see that my wife was the lucky holder of a winning ticket, but blind to that fact?

 

One morning, recently, I again wanted to tell her about the amazing series of links that had started the night before. She politely suggested I ought get more sleep, when I had reached a point of almost 100 % assurance that I was not suffering from any illness. Events in July and August brought me to a higher level of awareness once again. God confirmed that HE was there all along with unreal, supernatural doings, such as the following. 

 

On retiring to bed late at night on August 3rd, 04 I glanced at the clock radio; it showed 11.35 pm. I slept well, because when I awoke, feeling well rested, I listened to the transistor for a while. Over the crackling I just caught the last few notes on Radio 5 AA playing, “The last post”, a trumpet solo, usually played when remembering soldiers, who had died in action.  

 

I turned the dial up and down and paused at a station, which played the BBC World Service News. I often listened when I had broken sleep. A report of a huge fire in the capital of Paraguay, Asuncion, caught my attention. I had heard about it, but little detail, since I missed the TV News Monday and Tuesday of that week. The alleged fire took place on Sunday Aug 1st 04.

 

This date carried with it a worrying aspect. On that day, for the first time since the Iraqi war had started, there were reports of Christian churches being targeted by a series of deadly bomb attacks. My mind clearly linked the first verse in the biblical book of Romans with August 1st. Chapter 29 of the book you are reading is called “the Romans eight one”. It proclaims Christ Jesus as the great Liberator. Those who do not believe in Christ and HIS ways would not like hearing HIS message of freedom. But planting car bombs is not going to stop committed Christians from worshipping their God.     

 

The Paraguayan fire-report on the BBC’s World-Service News contained an error, if I heard correctly. The announcer introducing the item had said that 360 people perished. A moment later, the on-location-reporter gave the number as 460. In the summary of the news at the end of the bulletin, the figure given was a vague – ‘about 400’.

 

Whenever I would hear such vague and/or wrong reporting, something stirs inside me. I got out of bed on that cold Adelaide morning. The clock radio showed 4.23 am, the number at first meant nothing. I switched on the P/C, and searched for an article about the huge fire that was reported to have killed so many. On a BBC web page I found a report. Suddenly, the number 423 sprung to life. In the article this was the number of deaths in the fire (at that point). It didn’t take me long to click through to a feedback form. I filled in my details and a message about their discrepancy in the reporting of the death toll.

 

I also point out that shopping on a Sunday may not be a good idea. Further I expressed surprise how quickly the owner had been at the scene and rallied four security men to lock the doors. I made mention of a headline I saw on the last paragraph of the web page account – Toll unclear. (I have no copy on my P/C of this email, because it was an online form. It slipped my mind to copy and paste it first).

 

In truth, I doubted that a shop-owner in his right mind, on a Sunday afternoon, hearing about his store being on fire, would rush to the scene, enlist four helpers and lock people inside his store - to let them burn to death. I found it also hard to picture people running for their lives in a fire, and at the same time looting the store.

 

The newspaper report I read in the Advertiser on Wednesday 4/8/04, I found equally vague - no photo of the burned out building. It only pictured a close up of a man, holding and kissing a baby, which had survived miraculously. I read that it was a three-storey building, but no mention of people jumping through windows, little about the cause of the fire or other technical detail. 

 

My email mentioned none of my doubts. But within hours I would be sending another message to the BBC World-Service, in great excitement. As I was telling my wife about the flawed report (I never mentioned the number 423) my mind soared freely for a few moments.  It discovered a strange link in the time of my going to bed the night before, and the early rise the next morning. My follow up email, replying to the automated reply by the BBC, tried to explain the unusual mathematical phenomena:  

 

 

Hi all,
further to my feedback from earlier this morning (Adelaide time) allow me to
bring you just few more facts and the way I happened to play with them. They
all make sense. In a frightening way, I must say.

Had I invented these, I ought to get a medal for creativity and genius, but
they are true.

Last night a last glance at the bedside radio clock showed 11.35 pm. I woke
rather early and unusually bright, considering the time 4.23 am. Then I wrote the
email you kindly acknowledged receiving.

My wife thinks my number's game is crazy, but I must tell someone, or I will
go mad. As she reminded me again this morning to have more sleep, I pondered  the
time I had slept exactly - 4 hrs. 48 minutes - then today’s date hit me - 4.8.04 !

But there's more! Why I did it I don't know - but I worked out that I had
slept 288 minutes.
How could I not remember the scripture in Romans 8, 28? - "All things work
together for good".
You see - we live in 24 Goodall Road, Paraguay, sorry Para Hills.

I can't take it any more! Friends, how do you stop the tears from flowing? I
must trust. In HIM.

Kind regards from Adelaide
Dieter R. Fischer

Your safety is Driving PL US
PS100V5

----- Original Message -----    (the header of the automatic reply to my first email)
From: <worldservice.letters@bbc.co.uk>
To: <driva@kern.com.au>
Sent: Wednesday, August 04, 2004 5:18 AM


 

I was confused as to which emotion made the tears flow uncontrollably over my P/C: joy, awe, fear, reverence, deep humility or all of the above? I started shaking, partly because the room was cold, but mainly because I was sure that once again I had experienced the “hand of God” personally, with a direct connection to a major world event. Again it was numbers. Numbers don’t lie.

 

No, it was not more sleep I needed. Like all of us I needed HIM. I needed HIS love and understanding. I needed HIM, who was behind these strange connections. HE would not have allowed me to hear about the fire in Asuncion, if he did not want me to notice HIM again  - the numbers were merely a symbol of HIS unbelievable power.    

 

In the mid 1970’s a song by a singer from Canada, Anne Murray, was popular. I bought a copy at a garage sale. The lyrics, which I altered slightly, are as beautiful as the gentle flowing tune:

 

I cried a tear, you wiped it dry.

I was confused, you cleared my mind.

I’d lost my soul, you bought it back for me,

You held me up and gave me dignity –

Oh, how I needed you.

 

You gave me strength to stand alone again,

To face the world out on my own again,

You put me high upon a pedal stool,

So high that I will spend with you eternity,

I needed you, I needed you.

 

And I can’t believe it’s you, I can’t believe it’s true,

I needed you and you were there.

And I’ll never leave, why should I leave?

I’d be a fool, when I finally found the One

Who really cares.

 

You held my hand, when it was cold,

When I was lost You took me home.

You gave me hope, when I was at the end,

And turned my life back into truth again.

You even called me friend.

 

You gave me strength to stand alone again,

To face the world out on my own again,

You put me high upon a pedal stool,

So high that I will spend with you eternity,

I needed you. I needed you.

 

Friends we need HIM.

 

Chapter 33

 

Index