THE WINNER GAVE IT ALL GIVEN YOUR ALL - NOW WHAT ? HOME ISBN 0 9577 426 7 3 CHAPTER 14 Written/published 13/12/08 / 24/12/08
Archive: 1. More in number I 2. A sound mind I 3. Now I'm found I 4. Candle and the Wind I 5. Realm of Nature I 6. All in his Hand
"That men may know that You, whose name alone is the Lord, are the most high over all the earth." (Psalm 83, 18)
14. V. weather - whatever
Before writing about my adventurous cycling trip down Australia's East Coast from Brisbane to Canberra, a little tale about a visit to the Kingclub. While my cycling tour was on two real bicycle wheels, the trip to the Kingclub was online, via the mouse pad.
The kingclub is actually a tennis club and gym, located in a tiny place called Hermidale in western New South Wales. The local school's website told me, Hermidale is two hours west of Dubbo on the Barrier Highway and eight hours from Sydney. The way I landed there was as puzzling as was the timing.
On October 30th 08 I was sitting in the TV room, writing my diary. I lost count how often it had happened, but that day it was twice: As I wrote a word onto my page, at the very same second this word was spoken on TV or Radio. The words her and when came out of the TV Breakfast Show Sunrise, just as I wrote them.
My analytical brain noted the word he in both words. The leftover letters w n r could be the word winner, minus the vowels.
Whatever made me do it, I don't know, but I looked up a place in the postcode book, which started with He. Immediately, Hermidale leapt out of the page.
Perhaps my quick Da Ninci brain grasped the code (minus R minus E) and rearranged the letters to - I'mHeDaL ?
When a little later I saw how the postcode fitted in, I was dumbfounded: 2831 were the same digits as that day's date 30.10.2008
Any vacancies at the KingTennisclub?
kingclub* - Hermidale NSW 2831
Photo: Website Hermidale Public School
Hermidale - beautiful blue skies, dusty red roads, and ... ...4 kings (2 in blue shirts) plus 2 queens (1 in a red top).
*Just before rising, on the morning after scanning above photo, a thought popped into my head: T & N is king see L ...
- - - - - - -
It so happened that another small place in NSW, also starting with H, is on the same latitude as Hermidale - Hat Head. During my cycling tour I picked up a postcard, which to my surprise, lists Head Head among holiday resorts like Tweed Heads, Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, Nambucca Heads etc.
It had been 14 years since my previous bicycle tour to Sydney. At that time I had caught a bus to Melbourne and journeyed through Gippsland and up the beautiful New South Wales southern coast. This time, in November 2008, I flew to Brisbane, Queensland to cycle south to Sydney. If my legs and wheels were willing, I planned to continue and finish the ride in Canberra, flying home from there.
Postcard - Sunrise Australia, Coastal New South Wales.
I posted this card to my family during my recent trip. During a previous ride from Melbourne to Sydney, via the coast, I covered the southern section. Now, travelling from Brisbane down the coast, I completed the entire NSW coastline.
H is the location of Hermidale, level with Hat Head. My wife's family owns a holiday house at this seaside village. (I have already written about this place in Book 5, Chapter 28. We shall visit again in a chapter following).
- - - - - - -
On the night before my departure I felt rather apprehensive, wondering what I had gotten myself in for. Readers may recall that eight months earlier, at the end of March 08, I had set out to cycle from Adelaide to Sydney, a distance of 1500 kilometres. I completed the steepest and hardest section, cycling 50 kilometres over the Adelaide Hills.
For various reasons, mainly the weather and inadequate equipment, I had abandoned this trip on the first day. When a friend suggested, why not cycle along Australia's well populated East Coast, it made me think, why I had not thought of this? There would be no problem with finding a caravan park or shop every day.
There are adventurous cyclists who do this, but pitching a tent beside a lonely road, on my own, did not appeal to me. This was to be a holiday.
Now, 8 months later, I had prepared a little better. I bought proper wet weather gear, a lightweight mattress and a small trailer to carry my luggage. The trailer, which I secured on ebay for only $ 55, seemed to be just what I needed. However, the weight I saved by minimizing my luggage (fewer clothes, light-weight airbed) was offset by the ten kilogram weight of the trailer.
Here is a hint for travelling light and without having to wear the same pair of underpants as you wore the day before: Carry only two pairs of underpants, a red one and a black one. (Avoid white ones, especially when bike riding is involved, or you are suffering from an itch in .... that region).
On the first day wear the red undies. On the second day wear the black ones. On the third day wear the red undies again etc. That way you can truly tell your wife when you arrive home: "I never wore the same pair of undies as the day before." It worked for me (and her).
How weird - within days of the above (not yet published) writing did I come across the colours red/white/black a few times. One occasion was when I was with a friend in the car, which had broken down. During the forced 3 hours wait for road-service and tow-truck I noticed two people walk nearby - one wore a red top, the other a black one. Both wore snow white trousers.
The other red/white/black colour combination struck me on the evening before this writing. Our ethnic TV Channel SBS broadcast the grand-final of the FIFA (Federation of International Football Associations) Club Championship.
I stayed up to watch Manchester United play in red shirts and white socks. They beat Liga de Quito from Ecuador, which played in an unusual colour - black top, black shorts and black socks.
Wayne Rooney, No. 10, scored the winner in the 2nd half. M U F C won 1 : 0. Adelaide United Football Club A U F C achieved a sensational 5th place in this tournament.
I just noticed a code - 5 1 - A M.
(Back on the bike)
The seller of the bike trailer was located in Glenelg, the seaside resort only ten minutes from Adelaide. I picked it up in the afternoon of 18th October; naturally with my bicycle.
On the way home (can I ever switch off my coded brain?) I did a little detour. A garage sale sign on the Anzac Highway had me intrigued. The location was Augusta Road. Since August was the 8th month, my brain only took a 1 and 5 code to complete 158. I detoured via 15 Augusta Road to have a look, but the garage sale must have ended long ago.
There are times I wonder, if I had locked myself into a prison of codes, which I can't escape from. There is so much of IT. However, even if this were the case, what harm had I done, cycling an extra kilometre or two to check out a garage sale?
Pulling my new acquisition up Grange Road I had to stop for a moment to make a small adjustment to the trailer. While doing so I saw this on the ground, outside a Beauty Shop on Grange Road:
*Found: Jetstar Airline tag
Somebody named Bradfield must be the passenger, but why ...Bradfield/T ?
JQ 455 looks like the number of the flight, which only had taken place the day before.
A further stop for a soft drink at McDonald's on South Road led me to another find. It was significant enough, in my eyes, to write it into my diary. The Australian Newspaper's Weekend Magazine (17/18th October, age 17) featured an article about a celebrity, who had been released from jail, after having served 15 months in prison for alleged tax fraud.
The story started with: Not long ago ...
However, the drop-letter N was so large, it filled nearly a quarter of the page.
Not long ago ...
I read it as: N...on cross long ago... The N - field church we used to attend, readers may recall, is located at 1-7 Francis Ave.
(More on the drop-letter N in the next chapter, God willing)
- - - - - - -
On November 15th 08 I was an airline passenger. My wife drove me to the Adelaide Airport. We had a little chat. A discussion while travelling in a motor car is unique. Should it develop into an argument, you can't walk away or slam the door. (The latter does not happen in our house, only the walking away).
Driving south on Main North Road I asked my wife, if she in any way was proud of her husband that he is undertaking such an adventure?
I reminded her of our terrible situation only a few years ago. I had been diagnosed with an incurable condition. I was to take tablets for the rest of my life. She remembered the times, when she pointed to the medicine cupboard, directing me to take my pills. Was she not in any way surprised that now I no longer needed any medication, and physically I was as fit as I had been two decades earlier?
If she wanted to know how the change took place, I suggested she'd read my story.
"Of course, there is a lot of it", I reminded her, "but remember, I did not write it all at once. If you wanted to follow what I wrote, it would have taken only an hour a week, at the most."
She generally agreed with all that. Was I hoping for more?
In a comment made, only a few hours before this writing, she told me in one sentence what she thought my writing was all about: "Peter Liddy is innocent and your are a prophet."
Even though I detected a certain degree of irony in her voice, I knew she was not far off the mark.
- - - - - - -
Anybody wondering how easy it was to carry my GIANT on the airplane, it was. With the bike's front wheel, pedals and seat removed, it all fitted nicely into the box, which I had obtained from my local bike shop. The trailer also folded up and was no bigger than an average suitcase.
Virgin Airlines generously allowed 5 kilo extra for the bicycle at no cost. This meant I only paid for an extra 4 kg overweight. Even then, compared to the cost of a coach trip, flying to Brisbane was far more economical.
How things have changed - poor people used to catch a coach, while the elite flew. Now ... ! (We ought to thank people like Mr. Branson for this).
Branson goes well with Manson. Thanks to the amazing technology of Google Earth I was able to map out the route I needed to take from Brisbane Airport to the Caravan Park at Newmarket*. One main road was Manson Rd in the suburb of Hendra.
When it came to the weather, I knew I had to accept whatever. That afternoon, Nov. 15, after arriving right on time at 15.15 hours (3.15 pm) the weather was perfect, sunny and warm, just how I expected it to be. However, within 24 hours things were going to change dramatically.
*The reason I noted Newmarket was the date. The three digits 158, already mentioned earlier, were those of Nov 15th, that day's date. They also were central to the amazing story in my summary page (to Oct. 05), which took place at the Adelaide Markets.
My concern that I may not make it to the tent site before dark was unfounded. I was able to get off the plane, assemble my bike and trailer and cycle to the caravan park before dark. I even had time for some shopping along the way.
It surprised me that already, over the loudspeaker at the supermarket, I heard a Christmas Carol (O Holy Night, my favourite, and one I had on my mind that day).
I booked into the caravan park for three nights. Why come all this way and not spend some time in this beautiful city, a place I had only been twice before. On each occasion it was only for a day. (Book 2, Chapter 23). Plus, I wanted to pay a visit to a big chief (CEO) of a big company.
The Caravan Park was well located. It was right on the bend of a small river, close (about 3.5 km) to the city centre. A major shopping centre with many eating places was right across the road, almost.
I could have easily put my head on my pillow early, but decided to have a bite to eat. To reach Suzie Wong's Chinese Restaurant I did not even have to cross the busy main road. It was only three minutes walk from my one-room-canvas residence (Nice word canvas).
On the bridge, right by the main entrance to the park, somebody had scribbled - I love Jess. Would somebody, who knows Jess' lover, tell him or her to write beside it: I love u !
While eating my bowl of fried rice I casually glanced through a magazine. It was the Q-Magazine dated October 4th 08. I was on holiday and as much as I wanted my brain to switch off, it didn't oblige. I had already, more or less, ignored that I had sat in the plane in seat 3 C, my tent allocation was site No. 3 and I had booked in for 3 nights. (Plus my tent was pitched under a tree, just kidding)
Likewise I did not at all register two people wearing large letters on their T-shirt, one had YD, the other AE. Neither did I take any notice of a parked vehicle, registration DIG 813, at the petrol station across the road ... I was on holiday; my diary wasn't.
Since I'm no longer on holidays I can mention that these digits 813 already came up 3 times in these chapter, before the first picture.
On page 18/19 of the Q-Magazine, which came with the Courier Mail weekend Newspaper, were 4 stories about 4 ordinary people. Story number 3 was about a clown. The gentlemen from Normanton (Numbers man .... got it?) made a living out of being a clown.
He sounded a real character. I read how he once rang a radio talkback show, after a radio host used the word clown in a negative way. He objected to the fact that his profession was being denigrated to a kind of swear word. What a clown!
His surname teased my brain. It may have been the fried rice helping it along, because it turned his name into a number; my birthday number and es. It came out as 3 1 5 it.
How? His story was number 3 in the article, his short surname started with IV (15) and ended in es, German for it. (Hello Mr. Ives!
I nearly forgot, his first name is a very common name, closely associated with Christmas.
On the Hour of Power on Sunday 20th December I saw this name spelled in a different way - Nowell (Good number).
Another name in the same magazine, a person associated with the Charity Zoe's Place, stirred my code-filled brain that evening. But hey, I was on holidays ...
- - - - - - -
Diary 6/11/08 - Johnny O'Keefe - J O'K - Australia's Elvis.
His band: The Dee Jays.
His signature tune: The Wild One.
While searching for something entirely different in my shed I found this old 45-cent-postage-stamp in a draw full of bits and pieces. The date was Nov. 6th 08 (Thinking-it-through-Day. More of 116 to follow)
I forgot all about this stamp until a little later that same day. In that day's TV guide I spotted the name Johnny O'Keefe. How wild was this? A program about the late rock-star, broadcast on ABC TV that very same night I find this postage stamp!
Only recently, a month after the event did I think it through again. My eyes opened as I recognized the date and time of the program - Nov. 6th, 9.30. The digits are the same as one of my special Da Ninci numbers 1693.
Please note: The poor picture quality is not only because the stamp is many years old. My diary went through a severe storm during a recent cycling tour. The pages got rather wet.
- - - - - - -
Sunday November 16th, 08 could not have started better. There's nothing like waking in a tent, opening the zipper and admiring the blue sky above. The magic of the rising sun, creeping along the behind towering gum trees, stirs the soul for action; breakfast.
I rose and took a leisurely walk beside the small river and through the streets of this leafy Brisbane suburb. In moments like these you inevitably get that 'I-could-live-here' feeling. But if the weather and the lovely green trees were giving me this half-baked desire, before the end of the day it all changed.
Later that morning I left on my GIANT to visit the Garden City Christian Church, on the other side of the city in Mount Gravatt. I gave myself an hour to cycle there, but was distracted along the way. In the centre of Brisbane, I noticed an elderly lady, standing on her own on the steps of an old, red brick church. I don't often approach strangers, not ladies anyway, to chat to them. It may have been her dark-lavender dress and European look?
As it turned out she spoke little English. She was indeed from Europe, from Vorarlberg, Austria to be exact.
(Only now, as I write about this, do I see Vorarlberg (minus r) V OA L Hill. That's magic!
There was a service in progress inside this place, the Albert Street Uniting Church. I did not consider changing plans and attend there. I had emailed a contact person at Mount Gravatt, Mr. O'Keefe, that I'd be attending their church. The next day, however I would be paying another visit here and discover ... (read on).
Shortly after leaving the bicycle path, which runs right beside the M1 Freeway, I was a little unsure, if I was on the right track. An elderly man, literally kneeling on the side of the road, seemed a good person to ask directions. I should have told him, but didn't think of it at the time, that kneeling in another place on Sunday mornings is far healthier than pulling weeds.
He directed me back to the traffic lights, turn right, continue until the next traffic lights. That's Logan road. Turn right there ... The gentleman thought that Mount Gravatt was only 4 kilometres away. As if a cousin of number 315, from Mr. Ives the evening before, was stalking me, a vehicle a few metres away from my kneeling man, carried registration plate 351.
I cycled fast to get to church on time. The 4 kilometres felt more like 8 and I was late. Readers may find this hard to grasp, but as soon as I had sat down, I felt I had come not only to the right church, but had chosen the right seat.
Why? An empty soft drink can rolled on the floor under my feet. I never took a closer look at it. A little girl, who sat with her parents in the pew right in front of me, was reading a book. I could read the cover - Imaginations. Was I imagining things?
One thing I am very certain about. The sermon was about the three men in the fiery furnace. This well-known bible story, in Daniel Chapter 3, goes something like this:
The king had a golden statue made. He ordered that at the sound of trumpets, and various other musical instruments, everyone must bow down and worship the statue. Those who refused to worship his artificial God would be immediately thrown into a very hot oven.
All obedient citizens did as they were told, except three god-fearing Hebrew men. They had been brought up to only worship one God - the God of Israel. A group of jealous rivals blew the whistle and informed the king, who went into a rage. He had the three Hebrews brought before him and warned them of the consequences of their dissent.
Still the three, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego, trusted God. They knew that worshipping another God besides the God of Israel, is forbidden. They faced the king with exceptional courage, and by faith told him that their God was going to deliver them. And if HE chose not to, they would still not bow down. (What faith! What trust!)
The king went into a great rage. He had the heat in the furnace increased seven times, before ordering that the three rebels be bound and thrown into the inferno. Those who three them into the furnace lost their lives doing so.
In a spectacular show of HIS power, God spared Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego. When the king had expected to see three bodies turn to ashes, he was eyewitness to an inexplicable disarming of the power of fire. (God is Master of fire and weather). The three brave men were saved. They had trusted God totally and did not even smell of smoke.
But there was more. The king himself saw a fourth person, also totally unaffected by the flames, walking right in the middle of fire. He couldn't believe his eyes. He had to confirm with his counsellors that indeed only three men were thrown into the fire.
The king was convinced that the God of Sadrach, Mesach and Abed-Nego is for real. He ordered that all worship this God.
It is easy to say, I believe in the bible. But to seriously consider and still believe that God just cancelled out the most powerful force of nature, takes great faith. To take the plunge and trust God, with the same courage and passion as these three Hebrew men, is the greatest adventure any human can undertake. Only a few are brave enough to embark on IT.
The preacher that Sunday morning was going to bring out 4 main points:
1. God himself was with these three brave men. Jesus was the 4th person in the furnace.
2. They went in clothed and bound, but came out unbound, not even their clothing burned.
3. They came out unharmed.
4. ... ?
No, I have not forgotten the 4th point, unless I was not paying close attention. I waited in vain for the fourth point, the preacher had said, he was going to bring out.
After the service I had opportunity to briefly chat with the preacher. I could have personally asked him, but totally forgot. Perhaps he had delivered it, while my mind was playing a game of Imagination?
- - - - - - -
Front Cover Time Magazine 5.11.07:
Why California is burning?
The Nov. 5th cover story in Time Magazine followed serious forest fires in California in 2007.
One year and ten days later on 11.15.08 widespread fires were reported from the same state. I was reminded of the last serious bushfire South Australia suffered on 11.1.05.
How ironic that on the same day, in Australia it was 16.11.08, the sermon was about fire. However, we were about to experience the opposite - a massive storm. (Read on).
- - - - - - -
I had no plans for the afternoon. According to a leaflet a Salvation Army Brass Band was giving a free concert on the Esplanade in the seaside suburb of Wynnum. I decided to cycle out there. It was perhaps a little further than I had anticipated, but very enjoyable. Still, I arrived almost right on time for the 2 PM start.
The musicians, wearing their distinct black/maroon uniforms had set up in a park with a playground and a shallow pool and fountain. The place was crowded with people. Children were having fun splashing in the water. Mums and Dads or grandparents looked on, while listening to the band's popular tunes. The weather was warm and sunny, creating a feel-good, carnival-like atmosphere.
In a nearby Cafe I ordered a ham sandwich. While I waited for it to be served a young man, and a big one, walked in. His size shirt would have been size XXXX L. It had to be this large, not only because his size, but the number on it - the three digits 9 6 3.
(Please note: XXXX is a brand of beer).
Sitting on a seat among the crowd I noticed a gentlemen, a look-a-like to a person I knew in Adelaide. The Adelaide man is also a member of a Salvation Army Church. That's why I took notice.
The concert could not have been timed any better. Toward it's conclusion, it was now approaching 4 pm, dark clouds started gathering toward the southern sky. A gentlemen nearby casually mentioned that Brisbane was about to get one of those storms: "They come and go in a couple of hours", was his assessment.
This time it was not so! The enormous, thick cloud grew darker and came closer. I had to decide, will I sit out this storm under a shelter or head back toward the Caravan Park, which was 1 - 2 hours cycling away?
I did a bit of both. I spent some time watching the boats in Manly, another seaside suburb just south of Wynnum. It had not started raining yet. I was hoping the storm may blow away and miss the area altogether.
Half hour later it still was not raining. I decided to get on my Giant and start for 'home'. I can't tell where it started raining, only that it was heavy. In a way I enjoyed it. In Adelaide we had not experienced heavy rains for years.
(Adelaide received one of the highest rainfalls in a year on Fri December 12th 08, four days after my return).
Within minutes I was soaked right through. I just kept cycling, careful not to slip on the wet surface. Due to the high air temperature the rain did not feel all that uncomfortable, despite feeling wet right to the bone.
As the storm worsened, thunder and lighting came closer, the rain and wind increased. Near the office of MP Kevin Rudd I took a break from battling the rain.
Of course the gentleman, our Prime Minister, was not there. However, within a day or so he came to visit Brisbane, re-routing his airplane on the way back from the US.
A few kilometres closer to Brisbane, due to the severity of the storm, I decided it was too dangerous to stay on the bike. I took shelter under a bus stop. Lightning strikes increased considerably; the thundering grew louder as it drew closer. At one point a huge thunder clap coincided with the brightest flash I'd ever seen. The storm must have been right above me.
I could do little but wait and marvel and, of course, pray. However, I never felt frightened as a child would during a thunderstorm. With little else to do I watched the constant stream of traffic driving by. One registration plate, a British Leyland Mini, stood out. The vehicle, registration plate MIN 144, turned into Walter Street, right beside the bus shelter I stood under.
Eventually, the thunder and lightning passed, the rain eased. I got back onto my bike and pedalled back to the caravan park. Not knowing what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised that my tent was still standing. Only my gear on one side got a little wet. Later I heard that not far away, at The Gap, the storm had caused millions of Dollars damage.
There was no electricity, which did not really affect me. There was still hot water for a relaxing shower. The rain continued. I had no option but to stay in the tent. I must have broken my personal record - 12 hours inside a tent, without leaving once.
At the time the impact of this storm, that it was another wake up call from God, was only a vague thought in the back of my mind. I remember having tears in my eyes, as I phoned home, re-assuring my wife that I was OK. This was not because I had gone through this storm. It was the realization that HE again was speaking.
On the morning of writing, during my bible reading, God led me to clearly understand, how the numbers all add up; that nothing in life is co-incidental when you are on a journey with God. Not even a storm.
Suburban Brisbane 16/11/08
Top: Gumdale Gospel Chapel - WE HAVE PEACE WITH GOD THRU JESUS, Romans 5,1.
(Just now, on the final spell-check, I was through THRU).
After scanning I noticed under B (KID'S CLUB) I N N - Where then is the stable? (Read on for a letter B discovery !)
Middle: Concert by the Salvation Army Band on The Esplanade, Wynnum, beside the wading pool.
Bottom: Standing up for the Southside - sign above the Prime Minister's office: Kevin Rudd MP.
(Love the colours. Wished he would stand up for male children, who are given to gay couples! Read on)
- - - - - - -
Walking the streets of Brisbane the next day I felt drawn to take a closer look at the church, where I had met the Austrian tourist the previous day. Walking in through the front door I was immediately overwhelmed with the impressive interior, featuring much dark, polished timberwork.
At the front, beside the altar was a display of artworks. I only took a few minutes of browsing before I saw the name Cees ...
Who sees? And what was there to see? (Just now, on writing, a link came to ... James Bond ... ! Weird, but should we be surprised?)
Under Cees ... artwork was the description of the painting and an explanation of the symbols the artist had thoughtfully drawn. I had never heard of a LAM before. I mentioned to a lady in attendance that surely, there must be a B missing at the end?
She did not react very much. I didn't press my point. Don't we hate those nit-picking know-alls, who fail to grasp the beauty of a thousand words, but dwell on one small spelling error? I didn't want to be that one.
But then, the letters L AM hold a powerful message, with or without the B.
- - - - - - -
Stop Press: On the eve of publishing this chapter I happened to discover 3 M A L drop-letters in a recent Reader's Digest Magazine. (Hey, very timely, the magazine is the November 08 Edition, the very month I visited Brisbane).
Thinking it through ...
... on page 116 is a huge M (others live) ... M = 1000. Do I see 1116? (Read on).
... on page 118 is the drop-letter A (All).
... on page 120 is the drop-letter L (Life).
... the article is about a young actress, who has Down syndrome. Her name is Krystal. The last word on age 119, Krystal responding to a comment, is: Whatever.
... Aha, Krystal ! LAM I discovered in a church - Cathedral?
... L would fit better onto page 210, but there is no such page.
... A Christmas code - 2.10 Plus 1 = 2.11:
Luke 2, 11: "For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord."
Just Thinking IT through ... !
- - - - - - -
Powerful letters in Brisbane
Right: ND Life.
How ironic! I saw the two letters ND on the side of this historic building only minutes before visiting the office of Mr. Liddy's brother - in the same street.
N & D are the original letters, which turned a simple observation (Liddy/Lindy) into a supernatural journey.
Left: I took this photo while sheltering at the bus stop. Rain, wind, thunder and lighting raged all around me.
The advertisement: ... an investment that will go to plan - ANZ. The writing on the boxes reads BetaPlus ...?
(I just discovered the nearest side-road to Walter Street, East Brisbane, where I had sheltered - Laidlaw Pde.)
Read into IT - WHATEVER.
- - - - - - -
In the newspaper, while having a bite to eat in a cosy, Southbank restaurant, I read the following information: ... Harvey Norman, Oxley ... Anniversary Celebrations ... free breakfast, lunch and dinner ... Radio 4 BC will broadcast from the store all day until 8 PM tomorrow.
Thinking I was reading the Sunday edition I assumed tomorrow was today, Monday Nov. 17th 08. But I had been reading the current (Monday) edition, which made tomorrow Tuesday.
With no plans for the remaining Monday I (in error) decided take a bus/train for a free dinner to check out the Oxley event.
It is obvious to ardent readers that I may have been influenced by - L plus Oxley = Loxley, the little town in Alabama where my sister lives).
The Oxley train station was nowhere near the Harvey Norman store, as I had been advised at Brisbane's Metro information office. Still, a half-hour walk was worth it, if a free dinner was waiting. I took a wrong turn and arrived at a dead end. So I had to do something I had never done before, I crossed a busy freeway (the Ipswich Motorway) on foot. I finally got there at around 5.45 PM.
It didn't look like anything was happening, despite a white canvas-marquee was set up at the far corner of the carpark. Staff carrying furniture around advised me that the store had closed 15 minutes earlier. The anniversary event was tomorrow, which I had thought was today.
I walked all the way back to the railway station, feeling a little silly. It was now dark and light rain was falling. Thinking about the Da Ninci street names along the way - California, Alexander, Calston, Logan, Lawson etc. kept my mind occupied.
Between changing from train to bus in the city centre, I decided to take a little walk through Brisbane's Queen Street shopping mall. At least the evening would not be totally wasted. Looking back, maybe my mistake had a purpose? Without it I would certainly not have come into the city on my last day in Brisbane.
Outside the Regent Theatre my eyes caught sight of two flashy looking sports cars. I had to check this out. One exotic looking model was white. It carried registration plate AM I, (Definitely not AM L, but then ...?)
The black, almost identical vehicle beside it, carried registration number 007. Now you understand what AM stands for - Aston Martin, the automobile, which according to the AM website represents power, beauty and soul. The two eye-catchers were there to promote the latest James Bond movie, Qantum of Solace.
But there was more. Just before moving on I noticed right opposite the Regent Theatre a familiar sign - Harvey Norman. It was the location of one of their branches. I couldn't help thinking, maybe my wanderings that evening had some meaning behind it? Had I first gone to the wrong place, so I would arrive at the right place?
Remember, when you're in God's will, there is no such thing as a wrong place.
Likewise, I was sure that my brief visit to Mr. Liddy's brother earlier that day, had not been in vain.
It was exactly 11.35 AM, without having planned it, when I entered the posh foyer on the 19th floor of this company's headquarters. I had no idea, how I would be received, if at all. The way I must have looked, hair all over the place, wet from cycling and/or the rain, wearing the only pair of shoes I carried - white sneakers.
In my mind I had no clear idea what I would say to the big man, if indeed I would be able to exchange few words personally. I need not have worried.
A young lady (Linda ?) informed me that the gentleman was in Adelaide on that day. His mother was in hospital. She assured me, she would pass on my message that I called and was still waiting for a letter I had sent some months earlier.
In Brisbane I had to purchase a new bell for my bike. Whilst I had no trouble with the Giant itself, the plastic striker on the bell had broken. (The striker is the bit you flick with your thumb, which hits the metal dome, which makes the noise).
There is quite a story to this bicycle bell. The original one, it had also a plastic striker, broke after a few days. The free replacement did not fit onto my handlebar. The second free replacement, still with plastic striker, broke in Brisbane that Monday morning.
So I had to purchase a new bell. I made sure it had a metal striker. But the bell problem didn't end there. The metal striker vibrated itself lose and fell off. I was by now well into my journey. So from the Gold Coast to Sydney, where I finally fixed the bell myself, I travelled on my Giant without a bell. Doesn't this story deserve a no-bell prize?
But it's not quite finished. Readers may regard the sequel to this tale as my ego or whatever, but what I heard on radio the next morning, after purchasing a new bell was for real.
I overheard on Radio RPH, where volunteers read the newspaper for the print handicapped this sentence:
"Retailers report a dramatic drop in sales ... where normally they would sell everything from ... to bicycle bells ..."
(Or words to that effect).
On final editing, something just came. Turn the calendar back 8 years. I was going through the most difficult time of my life, suffering from a serious breakdown. I recall trying to make my family understand that I was not mentally ill, but ... the hero.
One time, I can remember clearly, I said to my daughter: "Just wait and see. One day I will receive the Nobel Prize."
- - - - - - -
My Giant-racing bike and trailer, near Diamond Beach, NSW.
After I had bought this trailer I read on a little sticker at the bottom: Do not exceed 10 miles (16 km) per hour. I would have reached speeds 3 times this fast. My average cycling speed might have been 1 1/2 times this.
Little wonder the wheels gave up about a week into the journey. Note the colours of The 3 Nippers. Same colours beneath and above my bike seat.
I bought the new hp-Invent drink bottle for 20 cents at a church fair. Perfect colour match, good price.
- - - - - - -
How is this for a coin-incident? The day before writing on Dec. 21, while riding my bicycle*, I found a 20 cent coin on the roadway outside the Para Hills Anglican Church. Minutes later I picked up another 20 cents coin, near Para Hills High School.
(*See story right at the end of the chapter, which also includes ....money!)
- - - - - - -
My tent and equipment was far from dry when I packed it onto my small bicycle trailer on Tuesday morning, November 18th 08. The first leg of my journey was to the Gold Coast. All morning I had considered cycling via the suburb of Oxley to check out the special event. It would be a considerable detour. But the urge, the Spirit's prompting deep inside, was too strong to ignore; plus the promise of a free lunch!
Looking at the bigger picture as I write I am glad I obeyed this inner prompting. The source of IT was the same intelligent power, which planned this journey, the same force, who controls all of us, the same master planner, who can control the weather like a gardener controls the sprinkler system.
As I turned into the same shopping centre carpark as the evening before, I noticed the sign, directing traffic to the outside broadcast of Radio 4 BC. Their frequency, how magic, 1116 kilo-hertz.
With this number the linking-thinking began. I recalled that the number 116 created magic in a recent chapter. (Thinking it through - Our Daily Bread, Nov. 6th).
But there was more. Looking back further, to Chapter 3 of Book 6, - ironically titled Gayles and Styles - you find the link. In the chapter, in mid 2007, I had written clearly against a bad law, which was passed by the Western Australian Government. A gay couple was allowed to adopt a male child.
My anger had been further fuelled by a comment on Channel Seven's Sunrise. A weekly contributor (they give them the fancy name All-Stars) agreed with this practice, making conservative viewers in my age-group feel old-fashioned and out-dated. This All-Star was Greg C, the morning presenter on Radio 4 BC.
Now, 18 months later, on Tuesday November 18th, this same person was sitting behind the microphone, just inside the main entrance to the Harvey Norman Store in Oxley.
During the few minutes I was there, I sat in the 5th row, 3rd chair. A lady from an insurance company was interviewed. What else did they talk about, but the storm damage and related insurance matters?
(Some day's later I heard on another radio station that Queensland had 3 major storms within 5 days. I think it was on a broadcast with radio host Madonna King).
Listening to the interview that morning IT really sunk in: Not only had I come to Brisbane right at the time of the big storm (11.16) but I came 2000 kilometres to this outside broadcast on Radio 4 BC, 1116 AM.
A few days before my trip our Parliament in Canberra passed a milestone law. The Labor Government under Kevin Rudd kept their promise to pass a number of same-sex-rights laws. The sad part was that there was full co-operation from the Opposition. This made me cut my ties with the Liberal Party, who under John Howard stood firm in these matters.
On the day of writing (according to the BBC London) Pope Benedict made a call to save the world from homosexuality. Little wonder, gay-rights groups are furious.
The Catholic Church and/or the Pope may not be perfect, but they are certainly consistent in their stand on this issue, and that of abortion.
How can anyone misunderstand what is written, God's clear direction in Leviticus 18, 22?
"A man shall not sleep with a man as with a woman. It is an abomination".
How can anybody call themselves Christian and ignore God's Word under the God-loves-all umbrella? God loves all sinners, yes! But when they do deliberately what HE says they should not do, HE leaves them to reap what they sow. It breaks HIS heart.
I am sure Pope Benedict is not advocating a witch-hunt, rounding up and locking up gay people. God works differently - peacefully, lovingly.
At the core of the issue is this: Do you live life your way, or do you follow the Sin.atra path - I did it MY way?
Every human must chose God's pathway, or he/she is automatically on the wrong path, forever lost without God. There is no middle ground.
- - - - - - -
Voice of the Martyr Magazine, Dec. 08.
"My injury helps me proclaim the Gospel"
Nura, a farmer from Ethopia, had his hand severed.
The following incident, as far as I have researched, was almost totally ignored by the mainstream media.
Page 6: "In March, militant Muslims coordinated an attack on two Ethiopian churches in the same village during the Sunday service. Wielding machetes and knives, the assailants burst into the two churches shouting, "Allahu akbar!" (God is great. They barricaded the windows and doors before turning their weapons on the frightened believers.
Tulu Mosisa was killed by a machete slash that nearly beheaded him. Other members suffered wounds to their hand, necks, foreheads, legs, arms, shoulders and backs.
Nura, a 45-year-old farmer and lay preacher, had his left hand severed. A blow to five-year old Boke's upper right arm nearly cut through the bone."
We in the west find such brutal attacks almost impossible to comprehend. Imagine the terror of a 5-year-old, chased with a machete ...!
Yet, thousands of Christians around the world live in fear of attacks. Their crime: Living Life HIS way, the way of forgiveness, love, peace.
Nura understood God's way. He turned his injury into a tool God can use.
- - - - - - -
Psalm 83 could have been written yesterday:
Verse 1-5: "God, don't be silent forever. Your enemies revolt, those who hate you are rebelling."
The age of rebellion would describe the times we live in very well. Politicians don't consider God's ways when making laws, sexual immorality, free love, gay or straight, if it feels good do it; kill the unborn, if a baby gets in the way of a new car etc.
Must I go on ...?
Verse 14 and 15: "Like fire burns the forest, as flames set the hills on fire, chase them with your storm, terrify them with your winds..."
Friends, God is speaking, calling all people to turn around, return to HIM. Do Life HIS way!
(Back to Oxley)
The time was now 11.16 AM approximately, give or take a minute or ten. As an early, free lunch (not quite, gold coin donation) I tasted a mushroom-sandwich. It was a promotion for the locally grown product. After a welcome free brew of coffee, I reminded myself that I had a long day's cycle ahead of me. To the Gold Coast would be another 70/80 km probably.
Since it was my first long distance, pulling the trailer, I wondered how it would go. But I should not have worried. The trailer was hardly noticeable, except on a few minor uphill sections. Not until further down the coast, toward Sydney and beyond, would hills pose a challenge.
I found my way easily to the Pacific Highway, via Inala Road. Pedalling on the bike-track beside the motorway, somewhere near Yatala, I caught up with two fellow cyclists. Both, a man and a women, were loaded up as much as I was, obviously on a long haul.
Chatting as we cycled side by side, I learned they were part of a larger group of cyclists, who had commenced a ride from Brisbane. They planned to cycle to Newcastle, staying in schools or halls and conducting programs, promoting environmental issues.
Since it had rained on and off all that day, I gladly accepted their offer to cycle along with them and stay the night in a school hall in Southport. It was comforting thought to not have to erect my tent in such miserable weather.
Wet 'n' Wild - Biggest 'n' Best.
Cycling along in the rain I noticed in the distance this theme park. At the time I was wet. A short time later I had reason be wild, but in a different way to Johnny O'Keefe.
Eventually we caught up with other team members. They were from all over Australia. It was nice chatting with friendly, mainly young people. I felt really welcome.
What happened later that evening came therefore as a bit of a shock. I experienced how our politically correct, overprotective society, with their trendy new rules, can stuff up the life of ordinary citizens.
It was already very dark and still pouring with rain. The group stopped outside a school, which I later learned was Saint Hilda's. The person who had initially agreed, that I could stay with the group for the night, took me aside and told me the bad news. He had checked with the leader, who said I was welcome to have a meal with them, but could not stay the night.
I could hardly believe my ears, when he gave me the reason: Because they were staying in a school, where children were present the next morning, each team member needed a police clearance*. If he allowed me to stay at the school, he was breaking this rule and they could be sued.
(*Back in Adelaide I had such a document by police, since I am working with disabled people).
I said: "What a lot of politically correct bulldust. I would have appreciated, if you would have informed me earlier. Where am I now going to find somewhere to stay?"
I wasn't just wet, I was wild. But more on the inside. Had there been no room in the INN I may have understood better. To be left high and dry (sorry wet) in a strange place, in the dark, tired and soaked to the bone, including underpants, felt ...? Plus, Had I known, I would have cycled much faster and reached a place to overnight an hour or two earlier.
How we react in moments like these really reveals our character and our level of trust in God. I had no doubt I would find a place to sleep for the night, which I did, of course.
Trust and faith are closely linked. Trust tends to be more passive. We trust God HE will see us through a certain situation we are going through.
Faith initiates a course of action we know God wants us to take. This requires that we stay in constant touch with HIM, through honest prayer and knowing what HE is saying to us in HIS word.
Over the unusually long period working on this chapter I had times, when I struggled what to write and finding the motivation to do it. The timing, right on Christmas, did not help either.
At times I almost fell into the negative view, one my family holds: Who is interested in reading about your private life anyway, what you claim God is doing, and the rest of it all?
But this morning it changed. I opened my bible to the great Chapter of faith in Hebrews:
"But without faith it is impossible to please HIM, for he who comes to God must believe that HE is, and that HE is a rewarder to those who diligently seek HIM." (Hebrews 11,6)
What does it take to diligently seek HIM? If you don't know, pray honestly in this manner: "Lord, I want to know what it really means to honestly seek you."
It may take a long time of persistent prayer and reading of HIS word. Over time you will increasingly get to know and love HIS character. HE will no longer remain a vague, aloof grand-father type figure, but become a reality to you and all who diligently seek HIM.
HE offers to become your most intimate friend, your personal helper, your most compassionate comforter and encourager. Believe HE exists and never give up seeking HIM.
Matters regarding, what you will eat or drink, or where you will find a dry place to sleep for the night, will take care of itself.
The day before publishing this chapter I went to see a friend. He is an invalid pensioner, who lives on his own. Whenever I visit he usually tells me how tight money is, until pay day. Knowing how vulnerable and lonely he may at Christmas, I cycled to his house and knocked on his door. I had a Christmas card for him.
I knocked again and called out his name. His car was there, so I knew he should be home. He never opened the door. He did this, when he was feeling down and didn't want to see anybody.
He probably could not bother receiving one of those Christmas cards with a green tree on the front and a flowery greeting inside.
Judging the Christian world by the amount of Christmas cards we give and receive, we all should be one great big, loving family, shouldn't we? I don't send Christmas cards, my wife does ours.
My friend still had not answered the door. He didn't know that this Christmas I had not only a plain card, but included a considerable amount of money.
The door never opened. My friend has yet to receive his gift.
Friends - God stands at the door, offering HIS free gift. All we need to do is open the door to let HIM in.
Accept God's indescribable gift - Jesus - this Christmas in 2008. (Revelation 3, 20).
Stay dry and tame, whatever the weather.
Merry Christmas (not Xmas, definitely not XXXXmas).
Archive: 1. More in number I 2. A sound mind I 3. Now I'm found I 4. Candle and the Wind I 5. Realm of Nature I 6. All in his Hand