|THE WINNER GAVE IT ALL|
Please note: Events in this chapter took
place in the 22 days between 5/9 and 27/9.
They are not necessarily in chronological order.
|For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: "In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength." (Isaiah 30, 15).||
6. Nos 2 & 7 Utopia
The morning I commenced this chapter I was driving along Main North Road to Prospect. I had to have my broken windscreen replaced. To my surprise I had found a company, which carried one in stock to fit my Wagon R, at a reasonable price.
Close to my destination, just ahead of me, a red sports car made a right turn. It carried a special registration plate - MASH 22. Out of habit I noticed it. Later I would recall it. It made sense. On the radio our ABC reported in the 8 am news that Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II was to visit Australia from October 19, 11. Later, QE II and 119 would make sense.
As the MASH registration vehicle turned, I thought about adding an S to MASH. I had had no smash, only a smashed windscreen. As it was being fitted, which was to take approx. 1 - 1/2 hours, I took a walk in the district.
It was around 8.15 AM, a perfect time to take an extended walk, enjoying rare moments of idle time. As I walked north along Main North Road I filled my lungs with fresh, crisp morning air. Spring in Adelaide can still be cool. What happened next felt cool. It may have been the oxygen flooding my brain, I saw clues. (Note the word clues).
A plastic hub cap lay on the ground. In the centre were three small rocks, each approx. the size of a plum. On top of that was a gum leaf, which pointed somewhat in an easterly direction. I could understand a hubcap falling off a motor car. But how do three small rocks land right in the middle of it? And how does a leaf land neatly on top of all that?
I had nowhere in mind to walk to. Why not follow that leaf and see, where leaf, sorry life, would take me? I crossed Main North Road. Before I had even reached the other side I saw a sign - Garage Sale at No. 63. Why not? Mother-in-law will be 100 in under ten years, there may be some decorations for sale...?
Seven houses west of 63, on the same side as the garage sale, a brick fence was all smashed up. (Aha, rego plate (S) MASH ...?) It looked as if there had been a bad smash, possibly only days before. A single skid mark stretched from the roadway in a straight line, at a steep angle, over the footpath, right into the fence.
Assessing the damage to the fence, it could not have been caused by a motorbike. But apart from the fence, there were no bits of broken glass, or any kind of debris. Crash scenes in the past had occupied my mind for many hours or days. However, I had moved on. I simply moved on to take a look at the garage sale.
In the past garage sales also had held a greater fascination. Was I becoming too sane? I took a brief look around. There was nothing I really needed. Perhaps, after a certain stage in life, you have all you need?
Pondering where to next, I remembered a little church on Galway Ave. Some years ago I had passed by this church, St. Phillips, and bought a hymn book at their spring fair. The place was not far away, so I wandered in that direction.
On the ground, opposite the church, I noticed a business card. It looked reasonably clean. I wasn't going to bother, until I noticed another, a different business card, then another, and another ... My level of curiosity had now overtaken the degree of my rational thinking. I picked up one, then the other, and another. Initially, I only looked at each business card casually. Only much later did I see some real surprises. (Read on).
It was time to move back toward Main North Road. I crossed Galway Ave, took a glance at the for sale sign outside a home unit and continued along Broadview Oval. A few dog owners were exercising their pets, children were having lessons playing tennis.
Crossing back over Galway Ave, near Erin Street, how weird - more business cards? They lay on the grass in the middle of the median strip. Some looked identical to those I had already in my back pocket. By now I thought something was happening, but what? Altogether, in these two different locations, I picked up a total of 17 business cards. Sitting on a bench in a park, I took a closer look:
Part of the business card 'collection' I found only hours before this writing.
What do you see? What do you link?
GOOD was in red - loved it. It stirred my creative brain to fly off ... (yeah, right?) a message to the TV program I had seen it on. Since it was the morning, where everybody was watching the skies carefully, lest the expected piece of space junk happens to land on their head, I included a little humour. There was another little twist. I had walked into the TV room just at the right moment:
Together with the business cards, right outside St.Phillip's Church I picked up something else. A newspaper had been cut into strips. They were strewn over a large area. I picked up this one after reading the word basketball:
Newspaper clipping - found near St.Phillip's, Broadview
Driving home from my early morning windscreen replacement / business-card collection stint, looking through a brand new windscreen, the world didn't look any different. I still needed to have new tyres fitted to my Suzuki. As if I needed more clues, I was bemused at the name of the place, where I purchased my tyres. For years I have been buying my tyres there. That morning the name come to life - Cluse Brothers.
The two 13" GOODRIDE came to exactly $ 158 (market price). Parked next to me was registration plate 191. Another vehicle had new tyres fitted. I noticed rego plate 019.
From years of experience I learned that immediately after writing about numbers, they seem to follow me around. This should not surprise. Psychologists may even have a name for it. Years ago I explained it this way: If your friend buys herself a new car, say a green VW, you will suddenly notice how many green VW there are. (Especially if you owe her some money!)
After uploading the previous chapter, even a few hours before, this phenomena struck me. The mobile phone numbers I had made a fuss about (1549) staged a real performance in various places.
On the evening before publishing the previous chapter, I took my little dog for her walk. In the Foodland carpark I met an ex-work colleague, Andrew, who was sitting in his driving school vehicle, making a phone call. Andrew was still working as instructor. We chatted.
During our conversation he said he needed to book a driving test, but his regular testing officer was away. Who could he do the driving test with? Immediately I thought of our mutual friend John. He used to do the driving tests for my clients. I suggested to Andrew to perhaps try John: "Why don't you ring him. His number is ..." I surprised myself in recalling John's phone number, even though it had been years since I had used it.
Later it came to me: The number consists of 333 = 9, 1, 5, 4.
The next day a poll came out in the media. The Australian Labor Party had dropped further behind in the polls. It was now Labor 41%, Liberal 59% on a two-party preferred basis. (What Labor needs is a new 'happy vegemite' Prime minister).
On September 19th, after listening to the BBC London for the first time in a while, I uncovered those digits in an amazing spot, in sport. Everyone was talking about it. One of the world's top football players had missed to score a sure goal. He'd already beaten the goal keeper. All he had to do was put the ball into the net. His team Chelsea was beaten by the mighty Manchester United.
Searching for a video of Torres gaffe I came across this picture and comment on the BBC's sports section online:
Photo: Getty Images
It had been many weeks since I had woken real early and listened to the BBC, London. I decided to send an email, taking the opportunity for a little evangelising along the way:
Another sports star took centre stage on a world platform recently. On September 12 in New York young Sam Stosur won the US Open for Australia. It was the first time since 1973, when Margaret Court, now a Christian Minister, had won it. Sam became Grand Slam Sam.
Playing my letters swap game (o to a) Stosur became a US STAR. Her opponent Serena Williams (27) took her defeat graciously; but not a decision by the umpire she disagreed with.
For Sam a dream came true. On Channel Seven's Sunrise I was watching her brief speech after her success. I heard her say: "Since I was ten years old I dreamed to be ..."
At that point the broadcast was cut off. The normally cool, calm tieless TV host Kochie was mildly confused. The program continued. My curious mind wondered, what words were missing.
The six pm news revealed the rest of the sentence, three missing words: "Since I was ten years old I dreamed to be here one day. (At Flushing Meadows to win the US Open).
While in the US, a name springs to mind. A champion of a different kind: The world's best treasure, sorry treasurer. (What difference an r makes!) Australia's Wayne Swan received his award at the annual meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, with much applause from the other finance gurus of the group called the G20. (Read about the 200G in a moment).
What I really think is this: Mr. Swan used the No.50 and so won the world title. How? Well, he took his S and turned it into a 5. Next, he turned his a into an o and voila - won! (The en way is another story, already told in Book 1, Chapter 66).
- - - - - - -
More US snippets: My mind goes back to a Wednesday morning in September. It was the 7th. My diary tells me so. Listening to the radio I was driving along Bridge Road, the suburb of Ingle Farm to my left, Pooraka on the right. My mind was half on the radio, a quarter on driving my Suzuki.
The rest of my thinking was in the USA. I had learned over the previous few days the names of all US states and their capital cities. I had done it just for fun, and to keep the brain active. (Secretly, I was over there riding my bike ... dream on).
Suddenly, my eyes spotted on my right a big sign: Lincoln Court. I must have passed this shopping centre thousands of times. Only then did the name register, because Lincoln is the capital of Nebraska.
Because I had learned the US states in alphabetical order, my next thought was - Nevada. I had learned that there are only two US states that start with *N - Ne, in fact: Nebraska and Nevada. I also knew the capital city of Nevada - Carson City. Then came the magic.
Within a few seconds our local ABC 891 broadcast the 9 am News. The reporter read a story of a shooting that had taken place at an ihop fast food restaurant in the USA. It took place in Carson City! I could hardly believe it! Was I dreaming or what? (Maybe, bike riding is safer over here ...?)
The next morning, after again hearing about this shooting on the US TV Show Today, I felt to email my strangely timed thought processes. In my message I also referred to previous correspondence, where I had, on purpose, left out the letter t (a cross missing - read on) in the word troublemaker. The missing t held a message.
(My apologies about the spelling errors, I failed to check before pressing the sent button).
But there was more. As if somebody had read my thoughts that Wednesday morning - N [ebraska] N [evada] - about ten minutes later in North Adelaide, a vehicle turned right ahead of me, near the roundabout Barton / Lefevre Tce. I just caught the registration plate out of the corner of my eye: N N, nothing else.
In the following story, I again spotted an item out of the corner of my eye. Again the timing was the significant factor; otherwise no story. It was one morning after I had had a revelation about ... It doesn't matter here what I uncovered. (A new insight, some aspect or another about life, arrives at the gate of my creative brain almost every morning.). So what do you do? Try and bounce it off your wife? No harm trying. (Read the rest).
That morning I walked behind my wife down the hallway, as I was telling her about this particular revelation. She wasn't trying to get away, but simply had work to do in the laundry. My work was... thinking. Anyway, the same nanosecond, as I spoke to my wife the word revelation, my eye fell on the tennis racket shown here:
Tennis racket - Revelation 200G - 27 in. long, weight 200 g.
My wife didn't get half as excited about the revelation co-incident as I had. I might as well have shared my excitement with my Fox Terrier Becky. She would have reacted the same way - silence and body language. (Except, Becky does hers on the grass and I carry it home in a plastic bag!)
Hey, this morning I had a revelation! It finally dawned on me, why every time we go for a walk Becky does so much big business on the grass. Here is the reason:
When we train a dog, how often do we give the command - sit, sit ... sit! Our dog hears: Sh** Sh** Sh**.
What did my wife hear, when I said to her: "I had a revelation?"
God's timing is amazing. It really is. My email above speaks of a dark cloud hovering over America. I wrote it because I had heard on the television that there was a lack of confidence and hope in America. In the last few weeks I have been asking myself: Is the timing co-incidental, or is there a connection between the world's stock markets plunging lower and lower, while at the same time, minority groups are crying out more and more for rights and laws, which are totally against God's laws? (Sadly, politicians bow, instead of giving solid leadership).
Why did I write the word they in red? Because humans are so slow to take blame when things go wrong. They are quick to blame God and turn away from HIM, their best hope for a world crying out in pain!
Michael Youssef in his new book expresses a very similar sentiment:
In an earlier email message from Michael Youssef's organisation (Leading the Way) I had spotted a spelling error. A t was missing in a word, changing it into a completely different one. In my earlier books I had created many such words. This is why I didn't ignore the spelling error. I'm glad I didn't:
A little further on I read about Michael's new book. It struck me as peculiar: A missing t (stared instead of started) and next, the title of his new book: When the crosses are gone! Well, one t had gone.
Friends, the passing of centuries, the mightiest armies, the brightest human brains have not been able to abolish the message of the cross of Jesus. It's healing influence is spreading around the globe, despite many western nations moving in the other direction. (Mr. Dawkins & Co., I would spend my time more productively, than fighting a war your opponent already won two thousand years ago!)
- - - - - - -
Anyone, who understands the cross of Jesus, has to agree with Michael Youssef: It's a great mistake to remove this symbol of hope for the world from public places. A sure way to turn a once pleasant land into desolation!
When I survey the wondrous cross ...
Take a close look - a plus sign and a minus.
Walking down Myall Road, which I seldom do with my dog Becky, I walked past the place, where about 20 years earlier I had taught a student to drive. Every driving instructor would agree, some clients you never forget. You recognize them in a shopping centre. They recognize you. You casually ask: "How is your driving going?"
A moment later you regret it and think: Why did I ever ask that silly question? You hear about an accident they had had. You have to control your tongue, as not to start lecturing, how they could have avoided the crash.
But how often does it happen that an instructor witnesses a crash of an ex-client? What are the odds of Buckley's Chance co-inciting with Murphy's Law (note the name) at exactly the right time?
I don't know either. But it happened to me. I witnessed one of my ex-clients have her first ever crash. It was not the one on Myall Road, but another, who lives just around the corner from her. Let's call her Steph.
On September 1 as I was driving into the city on Bridge Road I recognized an early model sedan just ahead of me. I recognized the vehicle as we both cruised at a steady pace in the morning peak-hour traffic. I had taught Steph to drive about 12 years ago. She now lives in our neighbourhood. Over the years her family, also from Germany, had become our friends.
We passed the ABC building in Collinswood. Steph was now in the centre lane of the three, which travelled south toward the city. I was in the right hand lane, just ahead a little. The traffic was even thicker than before, but flowing steadily at perhaps 26 km/h. (It's today's date, otherwise I'd have written 25 km/h)
Anyway, out of the blue, a sharp screeching of tyres, and - SMASH ! A small, silver Suzuki ran right in the back of Steph, who had been braking. I saw her throw up her hands up and burying her face in them.
Without hesitation I did a U-Turn, parked my vehicle in the small shopping centre car park across the road and ran over to assist. Steph was still in the driver's seat, shocked, but otherwise OK. She later told me, how pleased she was to see a familiar face. It helped her through the drama.
Right time, right place - John Murphy Tyre Sales Office
The approx. 50 year-old driver, who spoke very little English, was still on P-Plates. After the crash he started making phone calls in the middle of the road, blocking one of Adelaide's busiest roads in peak hour traffic. I demanded, he stopped talking on his phone and PRONTO move his car out of the way.
Beside the date in my diary - Mon 12/9/11 - is just one word, magic. It all started with a road smash. (Nothing to do with the above). At table tennis a fellow player told me how he and his wife had come across a smash earlier that day. They had alerted authorities before about the danger on this particular corner, but nothing had been done.
To my curious mind, having checked out many previous road crash scenes, this was a good enough reason to make a detour on my way home. This I did. The magic following was not about the dangerous intersection*. It simply served the purpose of taking me home via the Elizabeth Way, the name of a major road in Elizabeth.
*The cross road in question is Woodford Road. A map showed its shape - the letter J.
At the intersection of Phillip Highway / Elizabeth Way (Aha, a Royal Corner!) on the ground was a bone coloured piece of junk. It was the exact size of a domino piece, but instead of dots it had the number 2 on it. The urge inside me to collect debris from roadways has over time somewhat diminished. (E.g. I think myself as less crazy to a larger degree, if you know what I mean; but I let my readers decide that).
After the traffic lights turned green I continued my ride home. My mind however pondered the number 2: It is the 12th today, and didn't I once in the US arrive the right place by simply following 2 1? I argued with myself for some moments, my mind becoming increasingly stirred. One moment I was thinking, no harm done, picking up that piece! The next, don't be so stupid to be riding back there to pick up junk!
Please remember, this was not a voice I heard speaking, but simple self-talk, which we all engage in. After a minute or less my spiritual side kicked in. OK! God, if you think I ought to pick up this bit back there, let me come across another number 2 ...
Barely had I thought this, not even giving God a time-limit to produce a number 2, when within two seconds or four, on my right, the first letterbox I saw was a large, green one. I was astounded, as I looked at the number on it - 22. (God obviously doesn't do things in half-measure). I cycled back, just like my No.1 told me to, and collected No.2.
Part of a board game, no doubt - No. 2.
But there was more. On my second time round, cycling past the green letterbox again, I noted that the house it belonged to displayed a name. It was not a business name, but a residence, which, I guess, a nostalgic, retired mine worker wanted to call MINERS REST. (See pic. next chapter).
Very early in my biography the word rest played a big role. The church, where we attended, where I believe my unusual journey started 12 years ago, was called Clovercrest. Minus R it came out as - C.Love C.Rest.
Four days later, on Thursday 16th I read about it all in the newspaper, or so it seemed. Data jumped in my face, as I opened the newspaper, which my wife had brought home: The number 12, the word rest, a scripture verse in Matthew's Gospel, all seemed to come together to stir my linking brain:
Left: The Advertiser Thursday 15.9.11 - Page 14.
Right: Slightly modified Bible Reading - Our Daily Bread - same day.
That was No.2. Before ending this chapter with No.7 Utopia, reporting only a fraction of what is taking place along my colourful journey, let me write about what took place only hours ago, just after having scanned the above picture.
My wife and I visited Ronda, the lady mentioned in Chapter 2. She lives just south of Adelaide. Because of the beautiful spring weather, a thought inside me suggested: Take your bicycle and ride it back. I said yes to this thought, probably quicker than Liam Bartlett from 60 Minutes (Channel Nine) said yes, after being asked, if he wanted to fly to the French Riviera to interview Joan Collins. (He did. My wife watched him on the night before this writing).
At around 3.45 PM, after our visit to our octogenarian friend Ronda, I flew on my two wheels through the backstreets of the leafy suburb of Unley, through the centre of Adelaide, along north Terrace, past the University and the Zoo, up the slope opposite Brougham Place Uniting Church. To my left was the Women's and Children's Hospital.
On my right among the many parked cars, was one I nearly missed. It was the one shown in the scan above, Steph's Mazda. The damage at the back had already been repaired. I don't know why, but I took note of the location, the house numbers. Steph had parked right outside 216, a short distance from her workplace. Had she parked about three meters back, she would have been right at the letterbox of house number 217.
Cycling near the ABC building in Collinswood I thought - why not take a look at the above crash scene? In the carpark, where I had taken the photo from, I noticed registration plates. One I recall was ... 747, another (in a different order) had the letters IANME 9*. Ian sounds a little like Liam. If it was meant to link to Victoria and the number 2 7, I can understand it.
*(This is interesting, since I just wrote about Channel 9 and LIAM.)
But there was more. My path took me past St. Phillip's, the church where, two days ago, my collection of business cards had started. I looked, if I had missed any. No, there was only grass. A golden-coloured sports car, with a 'GOLDEN' registration plate went by, twice. He turned at the exact location, where I had found the second batch of business cards.
My hunch was correct. I took a look again at this location, near the roundabout with Erin Street and found 4 more Cheeky Fox business cards, one Windara Bakery and one I had not seen before: The Wander Inn, Wartook. (Strange name Wartook - took war?)
All cards were clean. They felt as if they had been placed there, perhaps only moments earlier. But by whom? And for what purpose? Most of the cards I found are businesses in Victoria. So much in my life in recent years had happened in Victoria.
More business cards - more need for pain relief, available even in Murtoa
The 7 Utopia story is rather plain and short. Yet, as readers know, I see God in all that is taking place, especially when it all comes together just at the right time.
Once every two weeks I speak to a lady on the telephone in relation to my voluntary work. One day I dialled her phone number. She was not answering. I tried again and at the same time - modern technology - was opening my emails, browsing or deleting all those who want to make me an instant millionaire.
One email was from Bible.com. It was to promote a new film, the title of which put a smile on my face, followed by amazement. In my mind I realized something special was happening. I could call it Sevendipity. The tite of the movie on Bible.com was 'Seven Days in Utopia'. The lady I had been trying to phone, right at that minute, lived a No. 7 Utopia Ct.
At 4.01 on the morning of writing I woke with a thought, another quiz night question. I centred on the date 27.9.11.
The question: What does Victoria / Australia had in common with New York / USA on this day?
The answer: The people in these places will never forget the day when fear was on everybody's face. Victoria, Australia on 2.7. New York on 9.11.
As I reflected on my wake-up time, 4.01am, in my half sleep, I again saw the 1 4 as one month four days (New York, see previous chapter) and 4 months (or 120 days) Melbourne / Victoria. (Book 8, Chapter 15).
Looking back, like everybody, I ask myself, why? The only conclusion to draw from this - God allows tragedy to call people back to HIM.
I recall at least one person, ten years ago, joining our church and small home group, simply because of 9/11. At the time there were millions around the world, who made a fresh start, waking up from their apathy and started to ask the hard questions. The first one all should be asking: What really matters in life?
Some will argue that people, who turn to God after a big disaster, are doing so because of fear. As a child, learning the scriptures I recall being perplexed when the verses we had to learn started with: Wir sollen Gott fuerchten und lieben ... (We must fear and love God...) How can you love something you fear?
The fear that makes us love God is one of reverence. The motivation is love, the fruit is praise and adoration. Fear that leads to nowhere, is destructive. The right kind of fear of God will change a person from the inside out.
Sadly, this important difference is totally misunderstood by some religions. If you feel manipulated, living in fear of some religious power, break free! If your religion is not giving you a deep joy, even in the midst of turmoil around you, think again and turn to Jesus.
"You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free!" (John 8, 32).
Deep down, all have a natural fear of a higher being. They may or may not call it God. But it's there, no matter how much you try to suppress or replace it. Many religions misuse this natural fear to manipulate others, playing power games and/or making themselves rich.
Jesus said to do the opposite: Lose your life! Only then you will find it (and really own it.)
Try and resist HIS gentle calling, and you will become a slave to another, evil power. Whom we serve as master is a choice, all have to make.
The first step toward God is to repent, even though you may not think there is anything to repent (be sorry) about. But think - just to think you can live life without God is reason to repent! No matter how good the works you do are, unless you are following Jesus in utter abandonment of self and turn around toward sincere devotion to HIM, you also need to repent.
Jesus said it twice in the Gospel of Luke (Ch.13 V. 3, 5): "... unless you repent you will all likewise perish." He mentions a tower that fell. How amazing! HE knew 9.11 was going to come.
If our leaders really would understand HIS plan to heal our planet, and acted accordingly, it would change the world. No government program, no harsh environmental restrictions, no higher taxes or law reform, neither the cleverest ideas and inventions by the brightest brains can change human nature. Jesus can and does.
Politicians, feminists, environmentalists can't create Utopia. According to Wikipedia, utopia literally means - No place. God's Utopia is called heaven. There's no place like IT.
The message of Jesus, like no other, is the power of God to heal our wounded world.