73. Fear versus faith
How had I gotten myself into this predicament? My family ridiculed me for my belief that I thought I had done God’s will to travel to America. I was accused of wasting a large amount of money, acting in a typical mentally ill fashion and had let down all of my driving school clients. Isobel was too embarrassed for a couple of weeks to attend church with her bald-headed, mentally unstable husband. After my return she seriously believed I ought to be in hospital and on medication.
My rational mind told me I was not mentally ill; and if I was, God had a purpose in it. The weekend of my arrival I contacted clients and booked some driving lessons. Catching up with email took a large chunk of time. People commented about my hair in a light-hearted fashion. I enjoyed teasing bald-headed men: “Mine is going to grow back again.” I wondered if they thought the haircut had been forced onto me in a prison or such like. Showering one morning I put shampoo ready onto my cupped hand, only to feel silly. It made a great joke, telling people why I run late; because it took me ten minutes to slowly get the shampoo back into the bottle.
The question, why I had gone to the US so suddenly, was a difficult one to answer. How do you explain a complex chain of events that are as much a mystery as a miracle, even to yourself?
The extent, to which Isobel overreacted to my US-escapade, showed me how much she acted out of fear. This may also be an indicator how much she really loves me and wants me normal. I understood her more clearly, once I put myself into her shoes:
“My husband suffers from a mental illness. He suddenly disappears without saying a word. His illness must have overtaken him. Why did he not stay on tablets and seen his psychiatrist regularly? He is going to ruin us financially! His crazy ideas are coming back and I am here helpless and worried to death about him.”
Had she been able to look into the window of my little brain her thinking would have been different. I wondered why God had allowed my message that I was not going to arrive back on Monday 31/3, to go astray. I was very naïve to belief that she would be thinking like this:
“Dieter must have reason for staying on a few days longer. He has been pretty calm and in control, even without the tablets. He prays every morning and surely is old enough to look after himself. He’ll ring me soon”.
The original message was that I’d be staying a few days longer; nothing about travelling to the US. Gary, my host in Melbourne, whom I had placed my confidence in, had mentioned the US to her. He took my action rather seriously and personally. A few weeks after my return, I referred to him a couple of internet enquires for Melbourne. Previously he had paid me money for these, now I received a nasty email instead; a very nasty one, citing my German background (which I could have taken as racial vilification), accusing me of insulting him and his family and taking advantage of them. He resented the phone calls he had to make on my behalf, but never mentioned the 20 dollars I gave him.
One point was totally unfair; he accused me of insulting the organisers of “In the driver’s seat’ for not going out with more blind drivers and instructors. My email reply tried to set the record straight:
Sorry about mispelling your name. I felt taking the arm of Richard C. and showing him around (he was on his own) was as valuable as sitting in the back of a driving school car, where I could not even talk, because the driver/instructor needed to concentrate. Forty minutes was enough, I was bored just watching. Had I been allowed to be the instructor, would have been a different matter.
Perhaps I should feel hugely insulted, that with 23 years experience I was not allowed to take anyone?
I thought I did YOU a favour by coming. If the $ 20.- did not cover expenses, please let me know and I will repay whatever I owe you.
Future Melbourne enquires will go to Jim, unless he also does not want them. Why you are so angry is a mystery, but you must have your reasons. I once had bi-polar, so did Winston Churchill. And you are right, Isobel is lovely.
But you are wrong in that I don't preach to anyone over here. I can't recall preaching in your house, except to ask you, if you went to church. If you are in touch with instructors over here, why was I the only one invited to Sandown?
Kind regards Dieter
PS If you read beyond chapter 12, it gets interesting after 35.
Gary had indicated that he spent 3 hours reading my website and only covered up to chapter 12. May be there was more to his angry email and some people are slow readers? His reaction was so over the top I felt embarrassed to copy/paste it here. While I stayed at his house I was really well treated. That’s not all. Beside the bed I slept in was a huge toy earth-moving machine. There were other clues I linked to my story, confirming that I was doing something right. How could I have angered them that deeply? I had made sure I included a return invitation to Adelaide when saying good-bye.
How could I proof to Isobel (or anybody) that I had a divine mandate to proceed with this trip. The simple truth, as described previously, that God led me miraculously to a VIP in a Melbourne bookstore at the right moment etc. would only display my ‘deranged’ mind. I could try to collect an amount of cash from the VIP. I felt uneasy about this. Firstly, we had sufficient credit with the bank ourselves. Secondly, had the lady VIP concerned really fully understood my strange request for financial support? Or did she think it was just a joke, an early April fool’s joke? I tried to search for her email address online without success. To impress Isobel with real cash I decided to try other avenues.
Because both of my websites, the driving school and dieterfischer.com were free sites, I placed a button online, giving my banking details and asked for a small amount. May be there were people touched by my writing and would make a small donation? If the ex-Olympian in Melbourne did visit my site, had understood my request, perhaps she would remember me in that basement bookstore in Elizabeth Street, Melbourne and donate a sizeable amount? It took some swallowing of pride to be asking for help. But I was desperate for my family to regard me as normal, not mentally ill. I wanted to be loved. If I had lots of money suddenly, would they believe me and love me?
In my naïve email message from LA (see chapter 71) I had made exceptional statements what a pastor had told me about the second coming of Christ. I emailed this pastor in Tustin, California to confirm, what he had said to me. If he would answer my request, Isobel would read his reply online herself, perhaps a seed of faith could be planted in her mind. Here is my request dated 16/4/03:
Dear Pastor Rick,
On Friday 4/4/03 I was lead to your church at Tustin Ca. It was an incredible turn of events that led me there. I shared with you a rather powerful dream (please keep it to yourself as much as possible). You also said something profound to me: A church down the road believes the second coming had taken place and it had something to do with my story online. (Please correct me if this is not an accurate statement).
Are these statements true? You see, my wife and family as well as my pastor at our Baptist Church in Adelaide, South Australia, believe I have a mental illness. That I am making up all these stories. But I know that I have sat in your small office that afternoon. You had to pick your daughter up from school and called a cab for me.
I travelled on to the Orange County Registrar, from where I was led by again incredible circumstances to CAL Baptist University at Riverside.
I am now home again. My biggest struggle is to make my family believe that I had a mission to accomplish and that I am not insane. God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
If you would just reply to this email by confirming our brief encounter and what you said to me, then I would gain a measure of credibility. My pastor's name in Adelaide is J...... He is on the pastors.com network but we have no website.
Thank you for your help and I look forward to your email.
At the time of writing (May 7th 03) I had not received any reply. Yet, I remember how exited the clergyman was, how he shook my hand more than once to express his pleasure about my message. Surely he would not go along with all my statements, then turn around and gossip about the mental fruitcake from Australia? I had worn my Messenger hat that day.
For the first time I did not enjoy my son Ben’s visit to Adelaide. The accusation that I had wasted the family’s money, that I ought to take responsibility for my actions, hurt me deeply. While walking the dog we got into heated arguments. I had huge doubts about my course of action, my faith. What hurt most was that Ben (and all my family members) had not read my full story, but judged me anyway. The Bob Sobczak story was the first stumbling block. They would not need any further proof that I was a nutcase, the black sheep of the family.
Gradually, after Ben had returned to Sydney, Isobel and I could resume a reasonably normal relationship. She had been badly swayed by Ben’s extreme views about me. To be judged without having been fully heard and understood was at the core of my frustration. It was Easter in the year 2003, a time to remember a very frustrated man. If there ever was a misunderstood man, it was HIM.
It had been 2 weeks since I wrote my Friday note to the media. I never did find someone to give it to. On Good Friday 18/4 I sent my first email since my excursion to Rebekah. It was exactly a year since the Bradman/Bradbury co-incident (Chapter 32):
Subject. Saliesman of Saliesbury
Two weeks ago I sat in a Restaurant (Denny's) in Tustin, California and wrote my regular Friday message to the media. I tried to deliver it personally to the Orange County Register, but they did not show any interest. If you would like to still see it, please contact me. (It's your turn, anyway).
On my way back from the US I was meant to drop into the Melbourne Age office and talk to Susie about some of my experiences in Los Angeles, but I never got around to it. What makes a story for a newspaper? May be there isn't a story worth telling?
Wishing you a happy Easter.
Isobel raised a good point which often bothered me. What if the widow of Bob Sobczak reads my weird idea that her husband died in my place? Worse still, what if the families of the other road accident victims would accuse me of their deaths? I explained it to Isobel this way: There is a spiritual war going on. Often in war the innocent are the victims. If the widows and parents could see that their family members died for a higher purpose, it would provide some consolation in their grief.
Easter confronts us all with the inevitability of death, often senseless innocent deaths. On the Sunday after Easter I was watching the “Hour of Power” from Anaheim, California. After viewing the program with much weeping, I felt compelled to email their Australian office to tell them another extra-ordinary incident that morning:
Subject: Y injustices
Thanks so much for the message note pads you sent. When they arrived guess where I was. I visited the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove. It's a bit of a long story, an amazing traveller's tale, which I will upload onto my website dieterfischer.com on 01/05/03. I really loved my time over there. I think I got a sore neck from looking down, reading all the inspiring scriptures on the pavement.
I enjoyed this morning very much, thanks for the program. The Holy City is one of my favourites. There is a little story to it - I once had practiced this piece as an item on the trumpet. I was to play it at a District Youth Rally in Sydney (the AOG used to call the youth group CA's - Christ's Ambassadors). The leader never got the message that I was to give the musical item; so I just sat there warming up my trumpet until the preaching, before packing it away again. (I am not that good anyway, so the young people were spared that day).
Nancy Andeel, an incredible name, if I play my little letter-juggling game, sang a very meaningful song. It really touched me, the lyrics - I've forgotten exactly. HIS life (and death and life) story really is the greatest ever told.
This morning I woke at 4.30 am with the word - injustices. Oh, how I hate injustice. I pondered on it again, right at the moment when Dr. Schuller mentioned it during his sermon on mercy. I have seen injustices being left unpunished, we all have. As Dr. Schuller said, God is not just, if he leaves sin unpunished.
My jumbled up brain can't help juggling letters and/or replacing the t with a cross. (Remember t rus t ?)
See what I discovered:
ic jesus in t
The awful injustices suffered by Jesus, HE turned into the greatest victory of all time.
Praise to HIS name! Kind regards
Dieter Rolf Fischer
PS. Those close to me think I suffer from delusions, a mental illness.
(AOG stands for Assemblies of God, the church we used to attend for many years).
In my little discovery I could see the secret to a conquering life – turning injustices into victories. I felt never more misunderstood than in the days after returning “home”. How unfair to be labelled a lunatic only because I wanted to do God’s will. I asked Isobel, how she could reconcile me spending hours on my knees and getting wonderful thoughts from God, only to have them wiped off as foolish. How insulting, either to myself or to God or to both of us!
On Easter Monday April 21st I realized how far apart Isobel and I had grown through my thought patterns. She felt pity for me; I resented being constantly reminded I should be taking tablets. I was not doing any harm. Freedom of thought and speech is a fundamental right of every citizen. Her fear was that my illness could return and I was to spend money again. It was a viscous circle of fear versus faith.
What was the solution to this dilemma? With the powerful message of Easter fresh in mind that Easter Monday, my eyes opened to the supreme sacrifice our Lord made. My path would lead me only one way - to that old rugged cross.
My dream would not be killed by tablets. I decided to sacrifice it, to lay it down at the foot of the cross.
Autobiography - Dieter Fischer
1. More in number 2. A sound mind 3. Now I'm found 4. Candle and the Wind
5. Realm of Nature 6. All in his Hand 7. The Wonder of it All 8. To Think God loves