32. Praise – help yourself
In a previous chapter (28) I told you how it often rains or there is an earthquake, when I write and upload. Last Sunday morning (1/05/05) Adelaide had its first rainfall for a number of weeks. It was quite substantial. I could see the puddles on the road as I drove into the Eastern Suburbs.
Guess what I was doing at 7am that Sunday morning? Under much protest from my wife I went to remove an election poster on Portrush Road. I appeased her fears with the argument that I intend to start a collection - a Pauline Hanson Election poster could one day fetch a good price at Sotheby’s.
Our weekend in Melrose was off to a good start. I thought so, anyway. My wife Isobel probably wished that I could just switch off from seeing the things I see or stop doing the things I do. I don’t tell her half of my observations, and how I linked them to my past experiences. Nobody knew of all my outlandish links, except my diary. Even this website, the one you are reading, contains only a fraction of the stepping stones I was taking everyday, of which there seems to be so many in my mystical journey to …? Home.
Lambert Street in the Southern Flinders Ranges town of Melrose slopes gently up the hill from the town centre. Out for an early walk on Sunday Morning I noticed other street names, which added to my belief that this trip would be another chapter in the peculiar game that was being played with us. Jacka St, Giles St and Survey Road were all street names, which either had previously made history, if you pardon this expression. They tickled my Da Ninci brain.
But the intersection near Jacka Bros. Brewery, a historic property in need restoration topped the lot: Lambert Street and Mount Street. Had anybody ever stood on the corner of an intersection called Lambert Street and Mount Street and even remotely associated the names with a lamb on a cross and a man on a cross?
The ruin of Jacka’s Brewery, Corner Lambert and Mount Sts. Had anyone ever stood there and even remotely seen the names as Lamb on Cross and Man on cross? I like the name Jacka, it has a kind of Ja, see OK sound to it.
Lately I have been wondering - is my code not at all magical, but simply versatile, to the extent that anyone could read any message into it, it they wanted to? Has anybody tried this with their street name, their car registration number, their Christian name, the suburb where they attend church?
There must be tens of thousands of people in Germany and around the world named Dieter. Did any of them ever even faintly view their name (as I have done) as ‘die on the cross’ or as ‘to die’?
The decision to visit this town, to experience this drama (or comedy, if you prefer) had not been influenced by anybody. Melrose had simply dropped into my spirit one day. Only after starting the journey did the names come into play. I am as astounded as you may be, that I am reporting such meaningful, fitting names as Redhill, Crystal, Cathedral, Remarkable, Lambert, Christie, Mount etc. More were to come. For this reason I am convinced a higher power is working behind the scenes, controlling my thoughts and guides us, as if on autopilot. (Nice word - pilot).
As every servant of God, were God’s tools to be used where, when and how HE wished. If a weekend in Melrose was on the agenda, so be it. (I would probably have preferred Waikiki in Hawaii, but some things are not for us to decide).
On the rare occasion, when away on holidays or long weekends, I love visiting other churches, regardless of the denominations. I had read on a noticeboard that a church service was scheduled for 9.15am at the local Uniting Church, so I went along.
Ten minutes after the starting time I was the only male churchgoer among the congregation of six, waiting for this Palm Sunday Service to start (Nice word – palm). Actually, if I include the lady playing the organ, the congregation totaled seven, until the husband of the lady Minister arrived with their three children. They had practiced and performed a sweet little act for us.
Some of the hymns and choruses I knew from years ago: He is the king of kings, a lively, catchy tune we first sang in Hobart, Tasmania in the late 1970’s. One song had a rather monotonous, traditional tune, nobody seemed to know. I forgot the title, but was mesmerized by the name of the composer, Eric Reid. Likewise I was taken by the year when this inspiring hymn had been written, 1936. (I bet if I asked Mr. Google, he’d confirm that Eric Reid drove to church in an MG Sports car. Some Christian hymn writers even today are trendy, you know).
While I was at church Isobel had packed and tidied our room. Before leaving I needed to buy some items at the supermarket next door. It was only minutes after the short church service. I was perplexed at the connection between church and supermarket, but I bumped into half the congregation, all three of them.
I had not forgotten the ‘cold water’ episode from the day before or the planned ‘revenge’. I bought 3 bottles of refrigerated water and left them together with a business card near the Hotel’s back entrance. On the back I had scribbled: For those travelers, who arrive after a long journey or who enjoy crystal clear water after climbing Cathedral Rock. I should have added: “Compliments of Management”, but I would be running the risk of being misunderstood. I hope they used the water. Those battles cost me.
Our next destination, Wilmington was 24 kilometers further north. On the way I fleetingly read a sign ‘TERKA 1 kilometer’ – it can be scary analyzing some of what I could read into such a name! Just before entering Wilmington, out of the corner of my eye I spotted a blue something beside the road. When I braked on impulse I received a strong vote of protest: “What you’re stopping for?”
“Did you see that?” I asked.
“See what? You can’t just stop like that".
Despite being a driving instructor I was used to advise on how to drive a car. Many males, driving instructors or not, will identify with that. I assured my passenger that I had checked my rear-view mirror and wouldn’t do anything dangerous.
It was the way the blue bit was shaped, which brought a reaction immediately, deep inside. The braking action was just natural. The long, blue thin tape was shaped like a J, that’s why it had registered so strongly on my mind and aroused the urge to pick it up. It was placed virtually outside the first farm before the township, which increased my sense of awareness and made me think it was a test. To please my wife and keep the peace I continued on without stopping.
It didn’t matter. I wasn’t deliberately obeying my wife, in preference to my inner urge. I knew we would have to return and pass this spot again, on the way to Orroroo. In my mind I marked the spot (holy ground, right opposite the Caravan Park) and we continued to play our role as tourists in this historic little town.
From a previous visit I recalled how much fun I had at the toy-museum. What a pity is was closed. Later the attendant at the craft shop told us, the toy-museum might have opened on request, just for us. (As long as we turned the lights off on leaving - just kidding).
On the way out of town, my eyes looked out for the Promised Land, the caravan park and my blue J. For a moment I thought, those who had placed it there had removed it again. I had missed it and failed the test! How crazy, but that’s what I thought. We were almost at the turn-off to Orroroo, when I saw it. I did not ask for permission, but did a U-Turn, stopped the car and picked it up. (Isobel ought to be thankful. There are husbands who do crazier things than that).
This episode really demonstrated the dilemma I was in almost every day. Should I change my way of looking at my world, just because others don’t approve? Or should I stand firm in what I believed, no matter how trivial or crazy it appears to be? I had chosen to follow my Spirit, not necessarily instinct. There is a difference.
Let me illustrate how I recently viewed difference between instinct and rational thinking:
A small child had fallen into a deep, fast-flowing river. The mother sees it and is frantic. The child struggles and calls for help. If the mother were to act on instinct, she would plunge into the dangerous river to rescue her child. She may not even consider that both could be lost, unless the mother was a strong swimmer.
In her spirit, after a silent prayer, which every mother would utter, she has a thought. If I jump in we both could drown. Flag down a car and get help. Instinct would do what comes natural, without much thought and could be fatal. Animals act on instinct, humans can think.
I certainly did a lot of thinking, despite my actions sounding like instinct.
(Believe it or not, a few hours after writing about above find (by faith), I looked at the back page of our newspaper, the Advertiser 4/5/05, and noticed the headline – “Power’s test of faith”. The paper was a freebie. I had been to the airport and a person just left the paper on the seat next to us. I lost count how many car registration plates …405… 045 I saw this morning – love'n it).
I picked up this bit of beauty (by faith), because it was face down on the road, where I happened to park my car earlier today (4/5/05). It is addressed to me. How do I know?
You know what it spells, when gooda comes with two L’s?
The feather was attached already. Doesn’t it look a bit like that of a Kakadu?
If you never receive praise for what you do, just pick it off the road yourself.
I rolled up the blue plastic tape and dropped it into the back. It was the kind that is used for wrapping heavy articles and about 1 meter long. Only now did I see a road sign I had missed earlier: Roadwatch - Wilmington Progress Association.
Please, nobody think I was searching for such material, as if I had lost something. It just happened. Seeing the Roadwatch sign on the second attempt, made me feel even more assured that again an intelligent mind was at work. Somebody may have even been watching us right then, who knows?
To let the unseen testing officer know that the ‘J-parcel’ arrived at the right address I left my business card at the base of the sign. On the back I had scribbled: “It’s all true”.
Uploading these few chapters I was struggling to find a word on my index page that included a T and has a meaning with or without the T. I really had started something, which I now had to see through. Not that this was the most pressing issue I had to see through, but it took a moment before the inspiration came - T rue.
It went so well together with my experience in Melrose with names. The French will love it. God’s ways and streets never seize to amaze me.I love it. I love HIM.