Book 12 - Chapter 14 Written / Published 20.7 - 24.7.14
(Pics by author, unless indicated)
|HOME THE WINNER GAVE IT ALL Given your all? Now what?|
The letters AM, which also featured at the end of the previous chapter, again make an appearance here in this chapter. This and much of this chapter is linked to the month-long 2014 FIFA World Cup. The best team won, the experts say. Had I not written that God loves soccer players? One in particular, who only came on as substitute, became the hero of a nation... .
And how could I write a chapter without observing spelling errors or messages, which appeared on the church screens? It's all here, not to forget magic with numbers.
14. Manuel the New One
Five days after the previous chapter, where I had written about the 'MAN' incident in a place called Mannum, I woke up to a further peculiarity. That morning the last three letters of the name MANNUM flashed across my mind. How could I, the numbers man, have missed MAN NUM?
A split second after I had this revelation, still waking up in bed, I had the urge to check the time on the digital clock. (That what numbers men do!) Right then, the three digits on clock showed 6:19, those of the date of publishing Chapter 13 and the Mannum story - June 19.
As expected, Australia's soccer team was eliminated from the 2014 FIFA World Cup in the first round. The Socceroos, right from the start, had only a slim chance of success. To progress to the second round they would have had to beat two out of the three others in their group - football giants Spain, Chile or The Netherlands. Still, Australia was far from humiliated. They put up a great fight, especially against The Netherlands, which finished in third place, ahead of host nation Brazil.
The highlight for the battling Socceroos was, no doubt, the brilliant volley in the 22nd minute by Tim Cahill. It came only one minute after Holland had scored the opening goal. What a great finish to the distinguished career of Australia's international, No.4, Tim Cahill!
One week before this writing, on 14.7 (Australia time - mark the numbers!) Germany (DE) wun* their greatest victory in 24 years, celebrating their fourth win of the FIFA World Cup, one of the sporting world's most prestigious trophies.
Whilst it was not a miracle that Germany won the coveted Cup (expert opinion was that the best team won) my phone/camera came up with what I regard as a miracle. Take a look at a few photos I took off the TV screen. To a casual observer it may be nothing, but the way the numbers on players shorts appeared, to a numbers man it's almost a miracle! (Pic bottom left.)
World Cup - 2014 Brazil (Pic. from TV screen - SBS)
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On the morning of 2/7 I was watching a segment on TV. Our SBS Channel replayed a selection of the best goals scored at the tournament. One goal featured Argentinean super star Messi (ending in i) who scored two great goals on 26th June against Nigeria. (In a moment more of the best goals SBS TV show).
But first I'd like readers to see a parallel. The word Messy appeared in my sphere of awareness, again on June 26, but this time spelled with y. It came in the funny-signs spotting calendar, right on time!
Watching those goals on our SBS TV on 2/7 my brain suddenly kicked in (pardon the pun). Two star players showed off their talent. I can't recall whose goal featured first, Columbian's rising talent James, now the fourth most expensive player in the world, or the above mentioned Argentinean Messi. All I remember that suddenly the fact that both wore No.10 jersey, made my brain stop and ponder.
But what was there to ponder, except their names? JAMES / MESSI.
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Five days after the 7.2 messy yes business I found myself in great pain. For the first time in four years the stomach problem, aggravated by surgery 47 years ago, reoccurred. Whilst the occasional blockage in my system normally cleared itself, in the early hours of Monday 7.7 I found myself unable to sleep due to abdominal pain. Next, my wife found me on the floor in the hall. I had fainted.
Isobel drove me straight away to the hospital, when thankfully, at three am there wasn't a long wait. Remembering the previous admission with the same complaint, I had hoped the doctor would give an injection, which would released the cramping almost instantly. Not so this time. The blockage eased more gradually during Monday. All day I just lay in the six-bed ward in a daze, waiting for the pain ease. Eventually, toward the evening it did.
Feeling much better the next morning, almost normal, I was ready to go home. But the doctors decided to keep me for another day, for observation (as if there's anything to see?) This meant that I would miss watching the important semi-finals match between Germany and Brazil to be played in the early hours of Wednesday July 9th, Adelaide time!
I need not have worried. There was a comfortable, small TV room available, which I had all to myself. The nurse on duty had woken me for the 5.30 am kick-off. What followed for the next 30 minutes was unprecedented. Even the commentator, Martin Tyler, said that in his 40 years doing this job, he never experienced anything like it.
As an ardent football fan, I know what it is like when your team wins or loses. Looking at it, however from a logical perspective, what difference does winning or losing mean to a fan's personal life? Winning is a moment of feel-good, losing feel-bad. After that life goes on; except for those fans, those who are literally fanatics, allow the results of sports event determine their level of happiness. (The industry behind sport, who may win or lose millions, depending, is another story.)
As a German-born, of course I am happy the team won. But had Argentina won, I don't think my daily routine would be any different today. (This chapter, however, may be a little shorter, and easier to finish, perhaps?)
Let me write about two things, which stood out in my mind during my brief stay in hospital. Firstly, the name of the nurse, in the emergency ward; she wore an interesting name tag. I could clearly read the large letters - ANA. Behind, on another tag, I saw the letters END.
The second hospital tale is less intriguing, more humorous. It happened on the second day, when I easily could have been discharged, since my stomach had settled and the pain had gone. Still, I did not mind staying on, since the weather in Adelaide that day was terrible.
To find some privacy for reflection I decided to leave the ward and sit in the hospital's chapel for a while. The walk down three flights of stairs would do me good. Moving about also helps to move along matters along the intestinal tract. Unfortunately, because I had not eaten much at all for two days, these matters consisted mostly of gases and air, which at that stage would escaped with a very audible, accompanying sound.
It was very quiet inside the hospital's chapel. I silently prayed and reflected. Suddenly, in the quiet atmosphere I felt another movement, the expelling of air was imminent and unstoppable. Readers must understand that after a blockage in the bowel any sign of wind is like your best friend, after a long absence announces he will come for a visit. You look forward to it!
When it came, my welcome friend shattered the silence in the chapel. Sheepishly I turned to look over my right shoulder - nobody there. I turned and checked over my left shoulder. Nobody there either. Good, I am alone; what a relief, I thought. Just then my eyes fell onto a two-word sign by the door behind me: SILENCE PLEASE ! (It's placed outside the door in the corridor, while a service is in progress).
Oops! Sorry! I was not alone, after all. Thank you, God. I knew you are there, always!
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To find two spelling error in two different publications may not be a rare event. But to find two mistakes, in two major media publications, Adelaide's daily newspaper and one of the world's most read magazines, and both misspellings involve the same word, struck me as rare.
The two letters a and u take us to another spelling error I spotted. Remember, in the previous chapter I had written about the missing u in Jersalem. On Sunday morning July 13th it was missing letter a. On the TV screen I watched Michael Youssef preaching during his regular program Leading the Way. In his list of dot-points I noted the word Parmount; the second a was missing. I snapped the picture below just in time.
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The it moment that Sunday June 29th was only a sample of all that I had to write into my diary that night. What else could I do than to simply ponder, take my pen and write how it was?
During Hillsong's half-hour program I saw a discrepancy between the screen text and the spoken word. "We come to God", while on the screen showed: We bow to God (or vice-versa?) Later in church the second song we sang included the lyrics: We all bow down.
Back in church (that morning) the choir gave a rendition of Psalm 23. Verse 5 ends in the words - my cup runs over. (No! No more of that other cup...!) Just pointing out the link to the graphic above - coffee being poured into a cup. The version the choir sang was the same as the one used in the humorous, sometimes crass, TV series The Vicar of Dibley.
Before Sunday 29th June was over, I did not know it at the time, the star of this popular show was to be on television. Not as Vicar of Dibley, but Dawn French was one of the star guests on a British TV show, the Graham Norton Show. I would not have watched this program had my wife not mentioned it. I liked the name Graham; and doesn't Norton have a certain numbers ring to it?
The other guests during the same program were TV actors Kirsten Dunst and Bear Grylls. I was only mildly interested in the goings on, until the show-host discussed with Dunst the Spiderman kiss from one of her movies. He then challenged Dawn French to perform it on Bear Grylls. It was obviously all pre-arranged. Grylls climbed onto a trapeze, hung upside down and amidst great cheering of the studio audience the cudly-bear shaped, off-duty vicar gave upside-down big Bear the kiss of his life!.
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The headline in the newspaper on Saturday June 21st sounded promising: Students 'need Christ's ways'. How true I thought, but how uncharacteristic of our only daily newspaper, the Adelaide Advertiser?
The person who was responsible for this wonderful headline truth was called Angela J. According to the article she is the director of SMG, the Schools Ministry Group, who overseas the school chaplaincy program. She wants students to understand they've been created for a reason and to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. Amen, I say!
But those words, a breath of fresh air, are overshadowed by those, who are opposing any religious activity in public schools. One man in Queensland has made it his mission to stop school chaplains in public schools, even taking the matter to the High Court in Canberra. He claims the funding for the program is not constitutional, as I understand his argument. Thankfully, our Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said he will do what it takes to ensure the program continues, which could mean funding it through the states.
One sentence in the Page 11 article had me cringe in disbelief, as I read this sentence:
"...raising concerns that chaplains will try to convert young people to Christianity".
The next day I sat down and typed a letter to the editor of the Advertiser, something I rarely do nowadays.
If our children were to convert to Christianity, whose teacher preached love your neighbour, forgive those who hurt you, keep your body and mind clean etc. what's the problem?
Christianity, if lived in its purest form, is the only way to individual peace as well as world peace. What we sow into our children's minds is what we shall reap. The more of Christ's teaching the better.
SMG director Angela J. in the article states that "schools were now at the centre of communities rather than churches, and the guidelines around the chaplaincy program showed Christians had permission to be in schools."
Where else can a school student go with emotional needs? What do atheists or experts in psychology have to offer struggling minds, who find this world just too much to live in? If we don't offer them something that is real, another doctrine or religion will. Those who don't believe in something will fall for anything.
Every person on earth at one point in their existence is asking questions about the meaning of life. Many are trying hard, thinking that being a good person, making many sacrifices to please the Gods, and doing lots of good works for others will get them to heaven. If this were all that is needed, then Christ would not have had to die!
Jesus did all that was necessary to bridge the gap. HE invites every man on earth to look to HIM, to consider the sacrifice HE already made on that cross on their behalf.
Hear HIM say: "I did it all for you, just trust me. Let go of the struggle within yourself, embrace my love!"