71. Dreams of a miracle escape.
My diary put my situation in the foyer of the RTA office in Riverside, California into plain language: this is under normal circumstances ridiculous. The question is what is normal? Who is normal? History will judge us all, not if we acted normal, but if we have trusted God, accepted HIS son Jesus and lived according this HIS will for our lives. Who am I to judge my brother for what he does? Are you going to judge me for what I had undertaken?
To get to this place I had no master plan to guide me, no audible voice directing me. My intentions had always been to not just do HIS will, but to delight in it. I was convinced I had travelled the right paths and reached the correct destination. Not Washington, San Francisco, Texas or Alabama, all of which I had at various stages considered; just a bus company 1 1/2 hours west of LA. I couldn’t stop myself from glancing at the list of three or four names in the visitor’s book at reception. One of the names was Li… Sand… (Abbreviated for privacy). God would be terribly cruel to make me read that name, knowing my linking mind, if it was not to confirm his plan.
I caught the bus back to downtown Riverside and visited the Library. Gary, my host the previous Sunday, had recommended the library just before we parted. I was sure that the RTA had been my destination. Now I was again looking for guidance where to next. I caught a bus to the library. After the first few moments of orientation inside the Riverside library I noticed a man in a blue shirt walk to a water fountain and have a drink. I quenched my thirst also and then walked around the corner, where he had disappeared to. In my usual “hello world I am here too” I just stood amongst the book shelves for a while and observed.
I noticed a long shelf, two-tiered all filled with a series of books. All were marked with a number and the name Mitchell. Inside two offices people were being interviewed. A seat became available in the waiting area. I just sat there. Perhaps somebody would come to my rescue? After 20 minutes of so without action I noticed the sign. The officers were from the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) and giving people tax advice. No use asking them for a bed for the night, I thought.
I walked to the information desk and was able to use a computer to send an email to Isobel, with a copy to Rebekah. (Poor girl, without her Friday message from her email stalker, she would be suffering from withdrawal symptoms). The email reflected my mood and the predicament I was in very well:
Dear Isobel, dear children,
I am using the Library to send this. I am in LA, California. Sorry, I had to use some of the money, but the churches have not helped me as much as I would have liked. It is all still a bit of a mystery. But the news about the war must make everyone in Adelaide happy.
How was your talk with Pastor B.? Did he help you understand some of my actions? Yes, Isobel it is hard to really grasp what is happening, but it has grown into something, that I never intended it to be and never in my wildest dream imagined.
The weather is perfect I will need some cash to buy a shirt. It makes things hard when I have no funds available. This is not the way to get me back to Adelaide. I am sure until May 1st you could manage without me? Borrow some funds from **, I will repay when things sort themselves out. Please start to believe that God is doing something wonderful.
It is really true, that a church believes that the second coming had taken place and that I was the Christ. They invited me to one of their meetings on Sunday. Very nice people, but I told them straight. No way could I claim anything like this. Still it was remarkable how I quasi prophesied the Columbia Space Shuttle crash two days before it occurred. Americans love this sort of stuff, as well as the rest of the theophany which is all on my website.
As I mentioned Is, talk to people, R. P., A. E. or Pastor P., even Bill might know a bit more about what is going on. Don't be so self-sufficient, but accept help. I trust you are OK. I love and miss you very much. Things will work OK.
I have no contact address, so use this email address to contact me. worldriva@........
If you can get hold of a copy of the Sun Herald (Melb). of 1/4/03 there is an article by Kerry Cue. Even she has become a believer. Everyone is, except Isobel. Please open your heart and mind.
God bless you Isobel, Tim and Jon.
Hope to see you soon.
Reading this, at the time of writing, almost a month later it seems that I dreamt it all. But my P/C does not lie when it copied and pasted those words. Isobel had told me she was to see a doctor about her anxiety. I was hoping that our pastor and perhaps the other people I mentioned by their initials (two are part of my group of five friends as email recipients) would explain to Isobel about the co-incidences, my timely emails etc. etc. She may believe them, rather than me. Instead, she firmly believed I was ill and feels embarrassed to face the people. She did talk to our pastor, without being any wiser about me. This did not reflect his skills, simply the complexity of the whole affair.
It was a fact that I was told of a church that believed the second coming had taken place. As before on the telephone, mentioning this fact to Isobel per email was very naďve, despite being the truth. The statement that it was the same church I was invited to on the Sunday, was speculation. I ought to have been wiser in my supply of information to Isobel and Rebekah & Co.
It was approaching 4 pm that afternoon. I had 20 dollars in my pocket and a mere 16 left in the account. Not far away in Orange Ave. was the office of the LA Times. It was hard to find in the old style building, riding an ancient escalator up to the first floor. What greeted my eyes was a wreath with a black ribbon attached to it. A note on the door read - closed for a funeral. Next door was the LA Times Newspaper office, on which door I knocked. It took a long time before a man came and talked to me.
He did not invite me in, but explained, while crouching in the corridor, that there is nothing he could do for me. I just stood there. He was the only staff-member that week. The following week there would be eight people running the office. He did not give an explanation for this unusual bit of info. His lack of real interested in my case puzzled me, as it had with the church folk. He’d make a good politician, I thought, because he spent 10 minutes to confuse me, when 5 seconds straight talk would have cleared my mind.
With him closing his door and me walking away, I knew the media’s door had shut for the moment. I had forgotten that I had a written note to hand to a reporter. It would not have made a difference. I sensed that there was an orchestrated strategy. By whom was the mystery? His lack of curiosity puzzled me also.
Downstairs, in the same old building were two law firms. I enquired again about asylum. What better place than a lawyer to give me advice? The first law firm was not able to help. The second one, named Anderson & Kriger (Krieger is German for warrior), also politely indicated that they did not deal in this matter. My options slowly ran out. As previously, my effort to contact a homeless shelter was fruitless. I was facing an uncomfortable night. My diary asks: “What is going on, Lord?”
I didn’t doubt HIM for one moment. If plan B doesn’t eventuate, HE has another 24 letters in the alphabet to choose from. Toddling back toward the Greyhound Bus station I tried to contact Isobel per telephone to have some more money transferred. If she wanted me back home she would have to co-operate. But would she trust me that I will use it for that purpose?
Slowly my mind considered an early return home. The Flight Centre in Melbourne had pointed out that my ticket did not allow change of plans. To return earlier would cost AUS $ 800 extra. I was not even sure, if we had that much credit available on the card.
When I finally reached an operator on a public phone box to dial our home number in Adelaide, there was no answer. It was getting dark, the streets quietening down after the rush hours. I was the last customer around 6.30 pm at the MacDonald store at the end of the mall. My spirits dropped as did the temperature outside. If I had not changed plans, but travelled to Washington, I would be suffering. Apart from one pullover I had no warm clothes. I made my way towards the supermarket, which looked bright and had a warm, homely look about it.
Two things caught my eye almost simultaneously. One, a vehicle with the registration < I NOW 012 > reversed out of a parking space. Reading the numbers and letters backwards lifted my spirits. Two, across the road I recognized a name, surname and Christian name, as that of one of the group of five friends, my email group. It was a solicitor’s office. Nothing lost in trying to enquire there! I thought. The receptionist was very warm toward me. She offered me a glass of water. I accepted thankfully, because she was so friendly. Two young children sat opposite me in the waiting room, while their mother had her consultation. What more does a man want apart from a kind receptionist, two giggling little kids to entertain and a glass of water?
Dave, the solicitor, was dressed more like a gardener. His casual, yet friendly manner matched his dress code. Again, I was surprised at the lack of curiosity and questioning about me and my case. Asylum seekers were not in their line of business, but if I wanted to I could spent the night in the van in his parking lot. After locking his office he showed me the old, dark blue pick-up truck and how to climb in and out through the back. The (boot) trunk space was big enough and carpeted, but it didn’t look very inviting. Dave completely ignored my question about a toilet. It reminded me of my first day in the US only a week earlier. My mention of a possible blanket or pillow also seemed to fall on deaf ears. The solicitor in gardening clothes was suddenly gone. Perhaps a gardener in a pin-stripe suite would come to my rescue?
It was too early to bunk down for the night. For the next two hours I walked the streets around the precinct, still hoping to find better accommodation. I tried to phone Isobel again in order to obtain funds. Even if I was successful the time factor was against me. When the operator informed me that our number in Adelaide was answered by the answer machine, I gave him that of our church at Enfield. A moment later I spoke to Pastor B. I explained my money situation and that I failed to contact Isobel. He told me that he had spoken to Isobel, how worried she is and that she wanted me home. He advised me to come home. I said I’d love to return home, if I felt safe.
Talking to Pastor B. confirmed my earlier thought of preparing to go home, back to Australia. Unless I was hearing things, but between the lines I could read that he had doubts about my actions. I can’t blame him of anyone for thinking that. My diary expresses my thought – No, I was not wrong in doing this (this trip). Perhaps now that the war is over, I can go home, perhaps no one will ever know the role I played, if indeed I had something to contribute, does John think I am mentally ill? I asked my pastor to inform Isobel about my need for funds and I would aim to return home as soon as possible.
If this was God’s will (and I trusted my pastor) I preferred to sleep beside Isobel in a warm bed, than in the back of the van in a parking lot. (I think the name of the brand of the van was Dodge – God’s sense of humour again).
Just to be sure if God had a plan C, I walked into the motel where I had spent the night before and asked, if they would allow me to stay again on a $ 20.- deposit, with the balance ($ 25) paid the next morning. The operators of the motel declined. Explaining to them about God’s will etc. would be futile. This is why some establishments display a sign: In God we trust – all other’s pay cash. At 9.30 pm I walked back to the parking lot to hit the sack.
Unfortunately, there was no sack to hit. The only item I had to share my sleeping quarters with was the huge spare tyre. The condition of the van showed it had been parked there for a long time, but it was not dirty and I didn’t know if they had spiders in the US, like we do in Australia. I lifted up the heavy rear door but was very careful not to let it slam shut. I could become trapped as the driver and passenger’s doors appeared to be firmly locked. I had tried them to ensure I was reasonably safe.
Thankfully the area was well lit. With my jumper for a pillow and little else I stretched out next to the spare tyre, my feet resting on my suitcase for support. It was still early. On this my final night in the US, there was no TV to take my mind off my predicament. But as my diary says – it’s mind over matter. It gradually got colder and I felt it. I scratched for my pyjama pants and slipped them on. It got so cold I ended up with the pyjama pants plus all three pairs of trousers I carried with me. I also had to wear my jumper, which had been my pillow. I placed my head on the “Ben Mitchell back-pack” as a make-shift pillow. The cloudless night plus the fact that I had to keep the back door open, made it impossible to keep warm.
Sleep, if ever I got any, was constantly interrupted by the blast of a train horn. I didn’t even know I was anywhere near a railway crossing. In the early morning hours my tired, exhausted mind took these horns as a warning to escape. If this whole thing was a set-up, anyone could suddenly jump into the driver’s seat and take off, with me trapped in the back.
Only weeks earlier I had uploaded on my driving-school website a hazard perception test, called Hawk-eye. The twins, Chris and Doug and I created it over a few months period on order from our UK contact. During one scene a car gets trapped on a railway line, a train bearing down precariously close. The train sirens blare louder and louder before the viewer can press a “miracle escape” button. The concept must have been prophetic, because in my delirious, frozen state in the back of that van, every time a train went by, I woke and hoped for a miracle escape.
Except this time I did not fly off anywhere, but stayed in my room at “Dodgy Motel”, trying to stay warm and getting back to sleep.
Despite the hardship I was thankful to God, knowing HE was in total control. If I am prepared to hand it over, HE never let’s go of the steering wheel.
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