Chapter 10 Written / Published 10.8/13.8.19 (Pics by author, unless indicated)
|HOME THE WINNER GAVE IT ALL Given your all - now what?|
We travel from Atlanta and spend another few days in southern California. There were a few travel hiccups, but the Great Helper was only too willing to rescue.
On the plane to relocate to Portland we're surprised, solving a German crossword puzzle.
More amazement came with NOS 1 and one, both on the road and on the church screen. I write it as it was.
If nobody is blessed reading, I'm blessed writing about what God is able to do.
10. All Hail the Holy ONE
My airbnb host in Atlanta had been very helpful. He offered to give me a ride to Lindbergh Centre, five minutes away. From there it took only a 20 - 25 minute train ride to the airport. Very convenient. Compare this to Los Angeles, where I waited nearly 1/2 hour for the Flyaway bus. After boarding it took nearly another hour to reach Union Station. (Three times as long and 4 times the cost). Here's an idea! Put off looking for water on Mars. Build a fast rail link into LAX first.
Reunited with my bicycle, I had four days to spend around LA before the flight to Portland. The plan was to ride south, camp for two nights on the coast and visit San Diego; hopefully without getting wet. Pity, the weather was much colder and overcast, much different to what I had experienced during previous visits.
Southern California, Bilbao Island
Beach at Oceanside
Many times during my 2019 US trip I felt like the songwriter, who penned the lyrics: "If I only had time..." Bilbao Island seemed a nice place. The bridge into the quaint village was decorated with dozens of small flags. I would have stopped for lunch, but there was a camp ground to reach and a tent to put up. At Oceanside there was a train to catch to San Diego.
Since I had messed up (not) my first visit to the border town, and proved that the song title "It never rains in Southern California" is incorrect, I paid another visit. There was one place I wanted to drop in to, have a chat, and perhaps just take a photograph. But as had happened in San Diego ten days earlier, it didn't quite turn out as planned.
I had a better sleep this time, better prepared for the cold; also got away early enough from San Clemente. But at Oceanside there was a one hour wait for the next train. That my phone battery was flat did not help either. At Santa Fe (the name of the main train station in San Diego) I had to ask, how to get to the Croc Center, the place I would have liked to see. A lady suggested bus 225. When it arrived the driver said, he's going nowhere near there.
I put the $ 1.25 senior bus fare back in my pocket and asked a man, if he knew how to get to the Croc Centre. He checked for me online and came up with better option: Take a trolley (tram), the Orange Line, it's quicker. He pointed in the direction I'd have to go. I still had trouble finding the tram stop, not far away. My mind focused on getting on the right tram, which I did in the end, but I had forgotten an important detail.
But wait a minute! I suddenly realized I sat on a tram without a valid ticket. In my efforts to find the right transport, I had forgotten that only buses take cash. Passengers on the trolley must have a valid ticket before boarding. By entering the trolley I had committed a crime. In Germany they call them 'Schwarzfahrer' (black riders). If caught, there's a big fine to pay, besides the embarrassment in front of all the other passengers.
San Diego Trolley
To my great horror, not one, but two inspectors in uniform made their way through the carriage to check for tickets! Not since primary school, when the teacher went from desk to desk to check everyone's home work, which I had not done that day, did I feel so embarrassed. I still picture the scene, almost six decades ago, as the teacher exposed me in front of the class.
If I had not thought of praying earlier, as the transport inspectors approached, I did then.
Now what? Thankfully and unexpectedly, I was merely ordered off the trolley, but no big fine to pay. God knew that I had made a genuine mistake. He specializes in helping after we mess up. It really is so! The code when calling for assistance is 5015:
I gave God the glory, but still felt bad. I abandoned my plan to visit the Croc Centre. In my mind I feared missing the train back to Oceanside. If that happened, I'd have to take the very last departure and cycle 21 miles at a late hour from Oceanside to San Clemente.
After a good meal in a Chinese restaurant at the Gaslight Quarters, and a visit to the Library to recharge my phone battery, I made my way back to Santa Fe station. To my horror, I had made another mistake. I had thought the station was just down the road, two minutes away by bike. It was much further. When I realized my error and asked a lady for the quickest way to Santa Fe Station, she looked at her watch and assured me: "You won't make it."
Again I had to activate code 5051: During the six minute dash through the streets of San Diego I must have broken the record for the most traffic offences committed in the shortest time possible. Racing on the side walks I was thankful for my bicycle bell. At traffic lights, mysteriously, I became colour blind just for those few minutes.
Thank God, as the station came into view the 3.36 train was still there waiting. Once again, as I have proven many times on my bike rides, when asking people for direction, they may give a wrong answer. Another lesson I had learned. Soon after arriving in the US I bought a phone charger and chose the cheaper version. When power points where available, it took forever to power up my phone, causing many problems, as we shall shortly find out in Oregon.
From Oceanside there was no more train to San Clemente. The 21 miles cycle to get back to my tent went partly on the I-5 and through Pendleton Military reservation. For 20 miles there was no other traffic on that dull Friday afternoon. It was a long, lonely road, the old highway and through the deserted sections of the military reserve. I was looking forward to be meeting up with our son two days later.
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Portland, looking toward snow-capped Mount Hood
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There was so much to reflect on, as I sat on the plane to Portland, Oregon on Sunday 2.6.19 (June 2nd). Before writing about another near disaster, again through my mistake, a surprise discovery, no three, aboard the Alaska Airlines aircraft. Relaxing in my seat I flicked through their magazine. A name, no two names, suddenly sprung off the page. This time not only the name Lee, but our surname Fischer, minus the c.
Take a look:
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The weather in Portland was lovely and warm; a contrast to overcast, cool southern California. The flight arrived punctually in mid afternoon. There was plenty of time to unpack the bike box, put my bike together and make my way to our airbnb. Jon was meant to arrive not long afterwards, but his flight from Oklahoma was delayed. Google maps came in handy to find the accommodation address. Gaining access was another matter.
Arriving as planned, there was nobody answering the door at the house. My calls to the airbnb host that I had arrived were not answered, neither were my texts. At first it was just a matter of filling in time, before someone would come and let me in. That's what I thought. After a meal at the corner restaurant, a cycle downtown to look around it was getting late and my phone battery low.
It was almost nightfall; still no sign of any host to unlock the front door of the house we had booked weeks earlier - two nights at around A$ 275. Neighbours knew nothing about the matter, but kindly charged my phone for a few minutes. They also tried to contact our would-be host, in vain. Now what?
Pray code 5015! What else could I do? When I was just about ready to put up my tent in the host's back yard (I had already rung Jon to not bother arriving, but booking into the nearest hotel) I found an outside power point. This gave my phone battery, which had gone flat again, enough strength to search for the confirmation email. Perhaps I had missed something? I had.
The 'disaster' was averted. Jon had not yet booked into a hotel, but arrived late by taxi. After a hectic two weeks, chasing storms in tornado alley, he looked forward to a good night's sleep.
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There's a story in the bible, a parable told by Jesus in Matthew 25, Verses 1-13. It's about some foolish young ladies, who had not read the fine print. They were unprepared. Their mobile phones all had flat batteries (lamps but no oil). They didn't notice, they were all asleep. When the time came for the event of their lifetime, their wedding, they missed out. Locked out!
I'm simplifying the story, but to be locked out, separated from God for eternity, is the most tragic end for those, who don't bother preparing for the next life. To enter heaven and spend eternity in Paradise, a place so exciting, no human mind can imagine it, you need the code.
That morning (the day before writing) I had a wonderful experience, almost identical to one I had in Book 13, Chapter 9. I had woken and risen just before *5 am. A song was on my mind: 'Great is thy faithfulness', a grand old hymn, an affirmation of God's steadfast kindness to us.
(*Read about this amazing timing just below.)
In my mind I wondered: "Maybe God put this song in my heart, because we're going to sing it in church today?" We didn't.... but God still delivered!
That day we were running late for church. We arrived about one minute past the starting time of 10 am. As we walked into the foyer the usher handed us the news sheet and welcomed us. I couldn't have felt more welcome. In the auditorium the band was just playing the tune, you guessed it: "Great is thy faithfulness".
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As if these chapters hadn't given enough exposure to code ISSO, 1550 or 5015, there's one more to marvel at. On Sunday morning, 4.8.19 I walked home from church, past our local childcare center. On the front fence hung a banner. Two words made me stop and take a picture: MAN KIND. (The chapter with the moon landing was still fresh in my mind). But as happened so often, only here on posting the image into the text, did I find more, including 1550:
It must have been only an hour, maybe two, before taking this photo, when in church cable magic had happened. My mind had been blown over by the little word one, which I saw and photographed behind the microphone cable. Sorry, if this phenomena is tiring, but I write it as it was.
Before coming to the photo of the microphone cable, I must explain why one had my mind racing 101 miles per hour. At least three photos during my US Trip 2019 showed pictures, taken at various locations, that included certain numerical data:. One of them was the number on a public bus: Take a look:
But there was more: The above patterns of 1s and 0, were days or weeks apart. Two months later, back in Adelaide, it happened again. This time the same numbers came up twice within a few minutes. I was able to catch it also on camera:
Two Sundays later, I knew I'd be starting a chapter in my autobiography. This phenomena of 1's etc. would be included. When I became aware of the magical appearance of one at the front the church on the screen, I was inwardly boiling with excitement 101, while quietly reaching for my phone camera in my pocket. I had purposely taken the seat right at the back by the glass door, away from other parishioners, because I had symptoms of a slight cold.
The lyrics read: "The sun cannot compare to ... the Holy One of Heaven." Take a look, specifically at the microphone and cable. (I never stand up or move to take these photos. How they come out, they come out from where I sit. I can't recall ever sitting in that seat before).
What did the songwriter mean, no mortal man would dare to stand before your throne? How many prayers have I heard that started with: "Lord we come before your throne...? And unlike Muslims, one seldom sees Christians kneeling in worship.
Friends, if you dare not stand before God, feeling out in the cold because of shame and guilt, kneel before HIM. The Holy ONE of Heaven is more than willing to forgive. HE will welcome you in!
Entry codes: R 3.20 or 1055 .