60. Dad, it’s me.
Up to the time when I realized how huge this whole story turned out to be I occasionally tried to fill Isobel in on my thinking. As previously mentioned, I could hardly blame her for her ‘doubting Thomas’ attitude. Our relationship was firmer than ever, my love for her never in jeopardy. After the Space Shuttle Crash the magnitude of what was happening was almost too huge to comprehend. My feeble attempt to explain things floundered in the first few moments. I accepted it. As a matter of fact, I was amused at times.
One day I took Isobel to the doctor. She had complained about an overwhelming fainting feeling. Isobel had for many years a shortness of breath and was getting chest pains after physical work, such as gardening, which she loved doing. I waited in the reception area. When she emerged, after a lengthy consultation and tests, I asked her about the doctor’s verdict. She was prescribed tablets against “dizziness”.
“These doctors don’t know anything,” Isobel said. “I don’t know why she prescribed tablets for dizziness.” In the doctor’s surgery I had per chance noticed a leaflet. I picked up the usual 15, 3, 5 etc. grains of sand, all printed in bold. I remembered my suggestion for the last chapter in my book: “Worldwide search for tablets to calm dizzy Issy!” (Chapter 54)
How God managed to combine his serious messages with such wonderful humour, speaks volumes about HIS great understanding of our human nature. It never ceased to amaze me.
My youngest son Jon, who visited Europe with me, was having treatment for bee sting allergy. During one visit for treatment, so I was told, the doctor explained to him that drinking water is very good for his condition. Jon then mentioned that lollies were good for his blood sugar. The doctor, taking this as a hint for receiving some candy, rushed out and got a jar of lollies, so did the nurse. Isobel said the doctor and nurse made a real drama out of it.
I was wondering if they had read my story, or indeed knew that Isobel and Jon were my wife and son. Had they been reading the full story, I could understand it. The name Candy had surfaced in the Salisbury Seminar. The car crashes on my website feature bees. One grandstanding bee (or would ‘grand swarming’ bee be a better description) brings the message “God’s truth prevails”. The French word for ‘sweet’ is bon bon, which also means lolly. The word ‘good’ in French is bon. I believed that our family’s story had spread via my website. How far and wide was anyone’s guess; I did not care. God was the Marketing Manager.
At times I felt almost cruel towards Isobel. One day she will look like a fool. The way this had turned out was not of my doing. I had tried many times to explain it all to her, but she never gave me the chance, never read my story online. I don’t know what she thought I had written. She kept reminding me not to neglect my family responsibilities. I think all she knew was that there are mountains of web pages online. Who would bother with the website of her confused, manic depressive husband? It’s good therapy for him. Perhaps this is what keeps him sane?
Yes, it really was much like the way people regard the bible and God’s incredible account of his power, his love and his offer of everlasting life: All too hard, I am too busy, can’t be bothered. How sad, because one day we all have to get our priorities right. God will insist on his rightful position, first and last. He is the ‘a’ and the ‘o'.
I was constantly astounded at the variety and detail of information that triggered my brain There were moments when a feeling of ‘I must search this out, I could be missing something’, would come over me. I had to step back, because I would not want to be acting in my own strength. I had to really trust God. Overloading my mind with information, thinking and linking the mountains of printed, audible and visual sand, would be a sure path to a breakdown.
I had been there twice before. But God healed my mind, against all professional, medical knowledge and experience.
On my birthday I discovered that Sweden’s ex-Prime Minister Olaf Palme, shared the same birthday as I. His name could be Olaf or Olof, even the internet was unsure, showing both versions in various websites. I even emailed the Olof Palme Institute to find out which is correct, the a or o version. I never received a reply.
When Friday came, I offloaded my pent up curiosity to Rebekah with this email:
Email to Rebekah - Friday 7/03/03
Freeday on my mind!
So Adelaide is only No. 35 on the list of liveable cities! (Advt. 5/3). Little wonder our dog is upset. His name is "Becky". Should have called him Rex.
There is some confusion about Olaf (Olof) Palme, the Swedish Prime Minister assassinated on 28/2, 1986. Google lists an Olof Palme Institute, in memory of an Olaf Palme?
He and I share our birthdays (30/1) and perhaps a confused parent. I asked my mother last year in Germany, if my name was Rolf Dieter or Dieter Rolf. In the same conversation, she used both combinations, so I am still looking for identity.
If my first name was Rolf it would have been easier to learn for Aussie's. Ralf may have been better still; a year ago he upset things with his high-flying act at the Melbourne F1 GP. Mark Webber was happy, though.
While we're on a's and o's, I read that Willsy is back on Channel 7. She must have gotten over her moan; the report said, she's over the moon?!
On my website's splashpage the words small car show only the "all ca". At first I looked at them as "a see all". But that sounded a bit arrogant.
A better interpretation of this fluky bit of earth-moving trivia is "a call". God's call for people to repent of their wrong doing and turn to HIM, call HIM back. (I hate people not returning my calls - on answers to emails I have given up long ago).
Recently, thinking of the city of Whyalla, the 5 letters could also mean "see a all". Why is there a all in Whyalla? You know enough about me now, Rebekah, that we can be honest with each other, I did not invent it all, the number 153, the names Ben Mitchell, Chris Thompson, my date of birth, ter die - the list can go on and on). If there is anyone still doubting that there is an "outer space - higher power" at work, they would not believe if a dead person was raised from the dead right in front of their eyes.
It is our choice to believe in the living God. What people think of my story or my character is irrelevant. My mission is to trust that awesome power and obey.
Kind regards, enjoy the day.
PS My kids sometimes call me "nob". I think this is a bad word. I have to just turn it around. Either single or double, in French it sounds good to me.
The deputy editor of the Advertiser is called Rex. In an article on 5/3 he did not agree that his beloved Adelaide was placed at number 35 in world ranking of liveable cities. My PS is an example of how I see words back to front. At times I am astounded what creativity there is in God’s scheming.
There were now four versions of the “all ca” the accidental five letters on my splash page of the driving-school. It started as “a see all” which I quickly retracted, because it could be interpreted as arrogant; secondly, “a call” as in “wake-up-call;” thirdly our calling out to God. The fourth word scramble, “see a all” holds nothing more than a notion I had years ago. It was born in very similar circumstances than the conception of doubt about Peter Liddy and my family doctor; sufficient to say at this point that this is reason for the reference to the word Whyalla.
My relationship with my wife Isobel, as good as it was, was affected negatively by my “theophany” theory and the associated thinking. I longed for someone to share my outlandish thoughts without ridiculing me. The computer was very understanding, but more interested in spelling errors, than in being an understanding mate. Isobel had expressed a feeling that we were going backwards financially at the early part of 2003. How ironic that it was just when I perceived God was using us in an amazing plan to bring life and hope to millions. Unfortunately, my little adventure didn’t contribute to the bills.
The relationship to my sons, especially my 19 year old Tim was another predicament. I remember playing the trumpet at church on the Sunday of his dedication ceremony. It was also Royal Ranger Sunday and I wore my leader’s uniform. I had advanced to Senior Commander of this world wide youth organisation of the Assemblies of God. The preacher prayed a prayer over Tim that I never forgot: “May he win thousands of people for you” (Jesus).
Ever since this event I wondered, why the preacher prayed this particular prayer over Tim. None of my kids stood out with great spirituality, nor were they terribly worldly. As a Christian parent I did what I thought was right, take them to church, let them attend Sunday School and they will grow into committed Christians, naturally.
If your children have blossomed with such ease, be thankful. Looking back bringing up my kids I was too legalistic, too many rules and too little love. If I could have these years all over, I would firstly learn the lesson about “love before power” and practice it on my children. Now I know that there are no winners in a power struggle with a teenager.
In August 2002 when I was pretty sure that God was doing something special in our life, I knew that my family would be profoundly affected as well. In God’s time, I trust and pray, Tim (and other family members) will tell the amazing story of God’s wonderful love towards us all and make the prayer at his dedication become reality. I believe it with all my heart. I contacted the pastor who had prayed for my son 18 years earlier. He and his wife ran a radio program Sunday evenings. Our conversation went something like this:
DF: “Hello Pastor P. and L. Eighteen years ago you dedicated my son at your church. I have never forgotten the prayer you prayed over my infant child – that thousands will come to know Jesus through him. Why did you pray that prayer?”
Ps. P: “I can’t remember and I don’t know why I prayed that prayer at the time. It has obviously been on your mind, why are you asking at this time?”
(The phone conversation took place (from memory) not long after the deaths of Ben Mitchell and Glenn Knott, after which I was absolutely sure God was at work supernaturally).
“DF: “If you first answer my question, I will answer yours”.
Ps. P: “That’s an old trick, I don’t know…”
We both had a bit of a chuckle, because we both knew my phone call had other motives. I wanted people to know that I was well again. But more than that, I wanted the politicians and newspaper people to know about our story. Adelaide is not that big; word of mouth is very powerful. I knew also that the radio host was a friend of Mr. T. the politician in the Upper House of South Australia’s parliament. Pastor P. was also a close associate with another Member of the Upper House, who had turned to politics. His election on a pro-family platform was nothing short of miraculous. The party had been formed only six months before their victory in the February 2002 State Election.
Up to the age of 12 my son Tim and I hugged a lot. I remember asking him to promise me never to stop hugging me. Of course it faded out, which is only natural. But I also blamed a popular paradigm of the 1990’s: Be suspicious of all men. Whoever concocted such anti-male message and propagated it amongst our young people caused much division amongst males. Had there been a law ‘you must be suspicious of all men’ no exemption to fathers would have been granted.
It did not make sense to instruct staff in schools and child care centres to stop all physical contact with children. Oh yes, there are bad people in the world. Employers have to be vigilant who they allow teaching our children. But a total ban on expressing love through a hug or cuddle sent a wrong message to children: Physical contact in a relationship is something you see on TV. A total ban on any contact with children was an extreme measure to the detriment of children and teachers. Had I been a primary school teacher, I would have been tempted breaking this rule. A hug or a cuddle teaches children trust and that they are loved by the teacher or carer.
In addition to aforementioned typical father’s-gone-crazy factors, came my family’s awareness of my illness. The medical profession would have us believe that manic depression is incurable. I was told, and no doubt Isobel and my sons also believed it, that I was only in remission; just on a high cycle. Most of all it was the Liddy issue that separated me and Tim. He knew I had been writing to the convicted paedophile in prison. He could not understand it and cut himself off from me.
I learned first hand what it means to live under the same roof and feel like a stranger. It hurt to not have a normal relationship. How I longed to feel accepted by Tim. Just to share his joys, sorrows or help with little problems. I had to control my feelings of envy when I saw Isobel and Tim engrossed in deep conversation. I was craving for Tim’s love and acceptance.
At the church’s Mission Board meeting, of which I was the only male member, a lady made me a cup of coffee in the small room which was the church library. She served it in a mug with the word’s “world’s greatest dad” written on it. (I read some of the titles of the books displayed, they were very uplifting). How I wished I could show Tim that I was not the father he perceived me to be. Just to give me a chance to prove myself. Without any serious dialog this was impossible.
Family dynamics are very powerful. Often the players themselves can’t grasp what is happening. Outsiders are often fooled into believing everything is OK, when we well and truly know not all is well. If we could mend our families, stop the fights, learn to accept each other and not be afraid to show love to each other our society would once again resemble the picture God intended it to be, harmonious, joyful and strong. Families centered on Christ are the building blocks of a healthy nation. Strong families build strong neighbourhoods; the whole nation is affected. That’s the way it ought to be.
You may be reading this and have not seen your dad (or other family member) in years. Perhaps there is a long standing bitterness that is slowly eating you up inside, like a festering wound. I know a man who attends our home fellowship. He has not seen his son in over 10 years. He doesn’t know, if he’s alive or not. How it must break his heart, the pain, the yearning for news from his son every day.
Listen to the good advice from Dr. Robert Schuller (the Hour of Power): “Turn your scars into stars.” I do that when people call me “mental.” I turn the two syllables around; borrow an ‘L’ and a negative notion changed into a positive: tall men. Your attitude is the governing factor for your success. To join the elite of tall men, you don’t need to start out mental, rather humble. Make yourself deliberately small, so God can create the great person HE wants you to be. Then you are truly great.
It takes a real man with guts to look at your scars and to accept the wounds. Draw on the same spirit, the moral fibre to start moving towards the dream that stagnated because of your self-pity and fear. It takes courage and character to pick up the telephone (pray first with boldness) and contact your father (or the estranged family member) when you all lived with a grudge for 3, 5, 10 years or more.
Read the moving story of a father and his run-away son in the bible (Luke 15). Verse 21 beautifully describes the son’s repentant heart after returning home; Verse 22 reveals an overjoyed father who drops everything to throw a party because his son is home. He has been dreaming of this moment ever since you left.
Make his dream come true. Dial his number; don’t doubt; he will recognize your voice immediately. Don’t worry what you should say. Just start with these 3 words: “Dad, it’s me.”
God would love it, if you started praying to God with these words every morning.
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