41. One and a half south
The number of amazing circumstances became a regular occurrence. Writing my diary became a regular adventure as I contemplated one extraordinary episode after another. Each little co-incident I accepted as a blessing from God, another grain of sand to add to the treasury.
On the day I had been in Australia 33 years, the drama of Peter Lewis, the politician and Peter Liddy, the pedophile, again made headlines. There was a call for a ‘Royal Commission’ into the whole affair. The ongoing political circus caused a stir in Adelaide. One newsreader on TV’s Channel 7 predicted it would turn out possibly as ‘the story of the decade’.
One of my clients at the inner suburb of Gilberton had moved away and not cancelled her driving lesson. I had an hour to fill in, but why waste it? I said a quiet prayer as to how I ought to use this time. Since I was not far from Radio Station 5 DN it entered my mind to perhaps just drop in there; but what for? What would I say?
On the way into the short trip to North Adelaide, I flicked on the radio. It was tuned to 5 DN and the first two words spoken were Jeremy Cordeaux saying: “…come in.” What other invitation did I need than to call on J.C.? The …come in... was part of the weather report: “A bank of cloud will come in later in the week.” On the way I was wondering what form this unannounced visit would take.
As I parked the car one of those ‘one-liners’ dropped into my brain. I was astounded myself at the simplicity, yet the profound meaning of the seven words: “Just what we need… a Royal Commission”. I scribbled it onto the back of my business card and left it at the reception to be passed on to Jeremy Cordeaux. Later, going for a walk along the banks of the Torrens River, I pondered, if Jeremy would understand what I really meant by “a Royal Commission”.
I also had time to reflect on the big overseas news of the day. Wall Street had lost 5 % of its value in recent days. On the Saturday, two days prior, an unusual name had caught my attention during a news item. I happened to pick up a very brief segment about the stock market crash in the US. It was during the 9 am news (20/7/02) on ABC Radio 5 AN. The US stock market had taken a battering. The news item broadcast a comment on the stock market collapse by none other than… You would expect somebody like Alan Greenspan, or a prominent politician. But no, the person speaking was Billy Joel.
Why ask a singer for an opinion in an economic matter? It did not make sense. What made sense to me was the name Joel. Chris and Doug Sampson had not long finished the animated crash No. 5 on my website. The name Joel was included in coded form as LJO, highlighting Joel 2, Verse 28. My linking may have gone too far then, nevertheless I emailed the ABC news desk to suggest that Alan Greenspan may have been in a better position to be making comments about the Stock Market collapse.
The Australian stock market was bracing itself for a similar plunge after opening that Monday morning. “God, you are in control of all the world, even the stock market. Please don’t let the company collapses in the US spoil our economy here in Australia,” I had prayed earnestly. In the news that morning I heard that we were spared from the worst; only a ¾ % drop in the value of the Australian Market. I believed in prayer. Not just mine, but that of many thousands of Christians who would have prayed the same prayer that weekend when our economy was in danger.
The logo of the Manchester Commonwealth Games at the end of July 2002 had me intrigued. The visual concept looked so much like a group of people holding their hand into the air, as if worshipping. I pictured the group worshipping God. Was my dream coming true? Was the world finally recognizing their king and lifting holy hands to the one and only true God?
Many months earlier I heard a radio program about logos. They are very powerful in getting a message across. Companies spend many thousands on the design of a corporate image. Logos also reveal much about a company’s philosophy and attitude. My logo for Driving Plus Motor School was designed by a professional graphic artist, who is also a friend of ours from a previous church we attended. I gave him a general idea how we could shape the letters d and p around a roundabout.
The finished product could not have been more fitting to my slogan: “Your safety is driving us”. I wanted people to find spiritual safety. They had to turn from the old way to the new, turn around as it were. The logo rather cleverly shows two roads, each one turning into the other direction. Calling people to U-Turn became my mission and still is.
During a driving lesson we were turning left from a side road into Fullerton Road at Fullerton. Out of the corner of my eyes I spotted an old, weather worn poster, or what was left of it. It was still attached to the pole and advertised a woman who was running for Lord Mayor of Adelaide at the previous election. She caused quiet a stir, because the lady, named Stormy Summers, was running a large brothel in the city.
During the previous year’s prostitution debate she was boasting that if it (brothels) was legalized, she would be worth not just 1 million but 5 million. (I can’t recall if she meant 5 million per year). Her dream did not come true to become Lord Mayor, nor was she franchising her bordellos.
When I spotted the battered poster I asked the student to park the car. I quickly took a photo as a kind of symbol of the ‘stormy’ defeat. Later I realized the irony of the location. It was the first street south of the traffic lights corner Fisher Street, located exactly 1.5 kilometers from Glenside Mental Hospital, where I had spent a week 3 years earlier. Another grain of sand to create the eternal beach of my dreams.
A funny incident took place in the public gallery at the time of the prostitution debate. Stormy Summers was sitting diagonally in front of me. I noticed a badge on her blouse at the shoulder. All I could read from the distance was: “Visit your local….. The rest I could not decipher, but it was too long to be the word brothel. My curiosity would not let up as I stared a little harder to read that last word.
Suddenly to my great embarrassment I realized by the look the police woman in attendance gave me, that I was looking long and hard at a woman’s upper body. I felt so stupid and felt like explaining my reasons and where I was staring at. Later I made a joke: “Don’t worry, driving instructors are watching women’s curves all day long!
An entry into my diary on 18/0702: I am less conscious of newspaper references, but today it mentioned the six inspirations for the new World Trade Centre. I just think it refers to my 6 attitudes. Isobel accuses me of thinking the whole world revolves around me. She is very ‘nagging’ at times. Does she love me? I don’t feel it very much. Isobel was happy that I was getting fewer messages. When I did speak up, our differences in outlook surfaced. I had no doubt she loved me and was suffering very much from my strange behaviour.
One of these was during the church service after Stormy’s prostitution-blank-cheque-idea was defeated in parliament. The Sunday following our victory we sang the hymn: “My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus blood and righteousness… Verse two says: “When darkness seems to veil his face, I rest on his unchanging grace; in every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds…”
At that moment I turned to looked around and nudged Isobel with a smile on my face. I felt like laughing out loudly. She didn’t have any idea why I reacted. I must have been the only one understanding the irony. Or was I? The song leader, unless it was just co-incidence, glanced in my direction with a subdued smile on his cheek.
On July 15th 02 a photo and article in the Advertiser caught my attention. I recognized Trevor R., the man responsible for the 1999 Entrepneur Workshop I had paid for, but left prematurely because I felt unwelcome. The article featured Trevor’s company, which specializes in Customer Relations. A few pointers triggered my curiosity. I wrote a letter to Trevor and hand delivered it personally to the company’s reception desk:
Mr. Trevor R.
50 Pirie Street
Adelaide SA 5000
Better Customer Relations
Your photo and article in The Advertiser recently prompted me to write this letter.
Three things struck me after seeing the picture. Firstly, the whiteboard addressed someone with: “Hey stupid!” (Those words sum up how I felt after quitting the 1999 Entrepneur Workshop). Secondly, your index finger pointing to “stupid” form into a victory sign or perhaps into a U for U-Turn. (I do lots of those every day with my learner drivers).
But lastly the headline “better customer relations” reminded me of my disastrous experiences in the short time I was a participant of the above mentioned workshop. I paid 2850 dollars and had great hopes of rebuilding my life after losing my job as driving instructor with the MAC. I was naive when I told C.T. and H.B during my first interview about my pending “Workcover Case” on leaving the MAC. I did so, because I knew there was a link between the MAC and the workshop. With a name like Dieter I knew I can’t hide. I sought assurance that I was to receive fair treatment (or else, don’t take my money and let me enrol in the EWS).
Unfortunately, my fears did come to pass. As a customer I would have to rate the EWS customer relations as 1 out of 10. It started with my listing in the Report Participants 99 (P. 6 dated 11/03/99). The name and address were correct, but I was featured without a home phone number and the work phone number has a 5 missing. (If I did this in a business plan...?) It isolated me right from the start.
The residential weekend turned out equally disappointing. I felt pushed aside, treated like an outcast. Later I found out the reason. Rumours were spread about me, totally untrue stories to discredit me. My stress level led to a breakdown and subsequent hospitalisation. I did not receive any encouragement from the EWS management. The opposite: I was advised to leave. No refund was offered. You may remember a letter I wrote to you asking for some of my money back, but you could not do so.
But, thank God, HE is a restorer. HIS love for me has helped me get up again and become a better person, when it would have been so easy to stay bitter. I hold no grudges against anyone. Forgiveness is such a liberating force. It frees me as much as the ones that hurt me. God sees the beginning from the end. I trust in HIS plan and am seeing HIS purposes being fulfilled. They’re all good.
There is one thing for sure, Trevor. God’s customers never have to ask for their money back. He doesn’t merely respect or tolerate his clients, he loves them. Wouldn’t it be great if businesses would worry less about profits, but make it their ultimate aim to satisfy the need of the customer.
Did Trevor show this letter to anybody? If he did, I suppose, it’s not surprising that I would be called a holy... People may accuse me of making all this up to impress. I had no need to impress anyone. I meant every word. And to assure any doubters I resisted the temptation to use above letter to again ask for my money back.
All over town I noticed a large financial institution advertise their business with the slogan: “It’s not about the money.” According to the bible, the love of money is the root of all evil.
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