43. Crash by appointment
Two weeks before departing for a visit to Germany, I was racing through the house, running late for my first driving lesson. I must have had a little too much spring in my step. I landed badly and sprained my ankle. Later, listening to a cassette tape I had picked up at the church library, I heard the preacher say: “You may remember when you had an injured foot, such as a sprained ankle … I just smiled as I listened.
It was again a tape I had picked up at random at church that opened my eyes to what was happening to me. The tape was recorded on 11/7/99 (around the time Isobel and I first attended the Enfield Church). Our pastor spoke on the Old Testament book of the prophet Habakkuk. In chapter one God announces that HE would do something incredible in ‘those days’. He named the theological term for such an event, something that is orchestrated by God, a “theophany”.
Strangely enough I had just uploaded Crash 7 with a car licence plate 15 HBKK in reference to Habakkuk. In Verses 1-4 of this Old Testament book the prophet laments about the injustice around him. He asks why God lets him see the oppression, the conflict, the strife. “How long”, he pleads with God, “are you letting us wait before you grant justice to the innocent?”
When I first read this I fully identified with the prophet. Why did I see things? Why did God torment me with my thoughts of injustice in the Liddy case? How long would “it” continue before something was going to happen? I didn’t know that “it” was called a theophany until listening to the sermon the pastor had given three years earlier.
Verse 5 really pierced my heart when I first read God’s reply to the prophet: “Just look around amongst the nations. I am doing a work; you will be astounded what you will experience. If you were told by someone, you would not believe him.” WOW!! It could not have described better how God is using the internet (amongst the nations?) as a global tool for himself to bring to pass that which HE has willed. Let’s face it, to try to explain the absolute magic of the internet to a person even fifty years ago, you would have been brushed aside as a dreamer.
The timing of Bob Sobczak’s death was a ‘theophany’, I believe. My mind reflected back to Anzac Day 1999, when I had hi-jacked the microphone during a church service and read Psalm 94. In Verse 2 the writer urges God to intervene, to show himself. God was showing himself again 11 ½ weeks after Bob’s death.
This event, which occurred in August 2002 in Adelaide, can truly be described as a ‘theophany’. Unfortunately, again it was not a very pleasant one. It involved the death of two young men in the prime of their lives. I came across a short article in the Advertiser on Friday morning August 23rd, 2002. Two 17 year-old teenagers were killed when the driver lost control of his sports car on a bend in wet conditions. The vehicle hit a tree. The time of the accident was reported as 5 PM on Thursday evening. While the number 5 usually triggered my brain to link something, this tragedy did not until a day later.
Let me explain the lead-up to this remarkable series of events. The previous Tuesday I had read in the Advertiser newspaper that our Festival Centre Plaza was badly in need of renovations. The large coloured artistic cubes were getting old fashioned and ought to be replaced. Di Laidlaw, the Liberal spokesperson for the arts, in defending the artworks, made the point that the colours were at least that of the ‘Crows’, Adelaide’s national football league team.
My mind immediately recalled how a few years ago I discovered that the crow’s colours, blue, red and yellow had something specific in common. To stir the journalists at the Advertiser to discuss the matter, I emailed the following riddle to the paper:
There is something special about the crows colours apart from being the same as the sculptures at the Festival Centre Plaza (according to Di Laidlow in The Whip today).
Red, yellow and blue (and a few other colours) have one distinct feature that you could not be attributed to e.g. green or white or brown. What is it?
It has nothing to do with the German flag or traffic lights. I email the answer on Friday.
Bob D. Fischer
Driving Plus Motor School
Your safety is driving P L us
PS Rex Jory ought to take some Maths lessons. According to Monday's 'tiser, Marilyn Monroe died in 1962 - 30 years ago -??
I sent copies to Rebekah Devlin and the sports writer Michelangelo Rucci, whom I had taught to drive 15 years earlier while working for the MCA.
The PS alluded to misinformation or a misprint in the same newspaper. I felt I had to put the record straight. Who knows I may have been tested of my ability to see things? PS’s were an ideal spot to let them know I saw certain short information or hints. I enjoyed playing little games with the media.
The teenagers were killed on Thursday early evening on the way to football practice. I kept my promise to the Advertiser with the following letter, which I typed early on the Friday, before I found out in the paper about the two boys being killed.
Susie O’Brien c/Rebekah D., Michelangelo R.
King William Street,
Adelaide SA 5000
The answer to the mystery about the crows colours lay in names.
Before expanding on that I’d like to draw your attention to an incident that happened on May, 26th this year. I was with a social club called Win/win having lunch at a Hotel in Willunga. Chatting about life I happened to tell the man next to me, my ex-boss, how my name Dieter is sometimes pronounced like a person on a diet. “If I switched the syllables around it could come out as “to die”. Indeed, there was a time in my not so distant past when I feared for my life; justifiably or not did not diminish the extend of my angst.
Within the same hour on the same day many kilometers away a police motorcyclist was killed while on duty. When I read the details in the ‘tiser next day I got spooked: The officer was exactly my age, had four children like I do, and was killed trying to make our roads safer. Deep inside me it struck a cord. Wondering what his name was, I was even more amazed to read later that he was Bob Joseph Sobczak.
I had given a speech months earlier at my Toastmaster’s Club saying how I should have called myself Bob when I first arrived in Australia. It took over 20 years for people to pronounce my name correctly after an actor named Dieter Brummer came on the scene. But Bob’s middle name Joseph stuck me even more. If you know the story of the bible character you will recall a young man who had a dream about him becoming powerful and famous. His brothers got jealous and left him to die on a roadside. Eventually they decided against murdering him and sold him as a slave. In the end, through God’s mighty hand, he became Prime Minister of Egypt; his dream had come true.
I identified with this story and the man who died on his motorcycle that day. I had trouble containing my emotions when I realized that the first three letters of his name spelled sob. Crying became part of my daily diet which I mixed with humour to cope. To hide my tears I kept my wrap-around sunglasses on during my driving lessons. I called myself Bob after that. I attended his emotional funeral at Tea Tree Gully. Mrs. … sat quietly beside me. Did she know anything? I don’t know anyone who believes my stories. You see, I was diagnosed with a mental illness three years ago but am now perfectly sane. I think I was sane then, but did not cope as well as I can now. I can’t blame people or my wife to not understand me. But God does; that’s all that matters.
Unlike green, white or brown the Crow’s colours red, yellow and blue are not common names. Why? I have been asking that question for a long time. Actually in the last edition of the White Pages there was one A. Red of Lobethal. I bet he was a German originally called Rot, which does not sound nice in English. He saw red! He disappeared in the current edition but is replaced by S. Red of Bedford Park. When I first researched the subject, about five years ago, there was one Yellow in the Perth White Pages, while the Blue’s have swelled from a mere 8 to the current 15.
Reading Rex Jory’s article today I thought you appreciate a hard copy. One thing he did not mention was that you can send the same message to millions around the world in an instant. It can put an ordinary person into a very powerful position, a true modern day miracle. This tool can do so much good, if we all decide to do good.
PS. The name Fischer is spelled with c
but, you see, that’s another story!
I had read an editorial by Rex Jory, how email is cluttering up everyone’s life. This is why I decided to sent a hard copy of this significant letter. I delivered the letter(s) personally into the Advertiser mailroom on Friday 23/08/02.
The timing of the letter was very significant. Right at the moment, as I was telling the journalists about the first ‘theophany’ that occurred 3 months earlier, the second one was taking place, the sad death of the two teenagers. In the Saturday (24/08/02) edition of the Advertiser the headline read “Not again”. I knew it meant more than - not another teenage road tragedy. One clue for my hunch was the statement made by Bronwyn Hurrell: “…they were about the same age”. So was Bob Sobczak and I.
The rationale for regarding this as another ‘theophany’ was the names, the location and the time of the crash. One of the boy’s names was Ben Mitchell. My eldest son’s name is Ben. My daughter’s name is Michelle or Mitch as her nickname. I was stunned when I read the name. The other boy killed, his friend from the Football Club, was Glenn Knott. The name Knott I remotely linked to the play of words I had with Tony Baker in early April 02. He talked about wearing ties and what knot, or similar.
The street name, Homestead Drive, however immediately stood out. A very prominent personality in business and politics named Bob ran a business called ‘Homestead’. I knew Bob and linked him also to ‘Bob the builder’, the cartoon figure in a popular children’s TV program. The name of the Electorate, a defined district for voting purposes, where the boys were killed, is called ‘Fisher’. The adjacent one is called ‘Mitchell’.
These co-incidences were too obvious to ignore. I knew that the second supernatural event had taken place. On October 24th the names Ben and Mitchell would feature in the third one, a tragedy 5 kilometres from my house.
My diary reads: “Isobel must think I am still crazy when I link a newspaper headline to a letter I dropped into the Advertiser. The Lord gives me all these ideas. I am just doing as I’m told. If I make a wrong move I let the Lord handle it. I keep praying – Lord you have not brought me this far only to let me down now.
The funeral arrangements for Ben Mitchell were publicized in the Advertiser. I made a point, between driving lessons, of travelling 20 kilometres to the southern suburb of Pasadena to attend my third funeral that year. I did not consider asking Isobel to come along.
It was a beautiful spring morning as I walked through the graves to the chapel in the centre. I didn’t know anybody as I mingled with mourners young and old in the large foyer area, listening through loudspeakers to the service held inside.
Ben’s father sounded very composed as he gave a tribute to his son. It must have been the worst hour of his life. He mentioned in his speech that his son was nicknamed Mitch, exactly the same nickname we gave our daughter Michelle.
But then a fact, so far unnoticed, hit me like a thunderbolt. Ben’s father spoke of the tragedy that happened on Thursday. Thursday? I suddenly realized that Thursday was August 22nd, or 22.8. At that moment I wished I could have disappeared somewhere and let my emotions flow. The number 228 had become far more significant than the reference to Joel 2, Verse 28.
The words of Acts 22 and Verse 8: So I answered: “Who are you, Lord?” And he said to me: “I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.” How I had wrestled with this scripture that Sunday morning, months earlier, when it was first revealed to me. Now God placed his finger right at number 228 again, August 22nd in the year 2002; 5 PM was the appointed time for God to show himself again. Oh God, but why always in tragedy?
I was so stirred up and wanted to share my news with someone. I was tempted to email Rebekah straight away that night, but I strongly felt not to. The wait was worth it. Next day two articles appeared in the Advertiser that caught my attention. One was about the chronic shortage of nurses in South Australia; the other reported a couple’s rejection of a claim by insurance giant Royal Sun Alliance on a technicality.
My daughter Michelle had trained as a nurse, so I linked the first article to her. The second article, about the insurance Royal Sun Alliance, I imagined was written by someone agreeing that something super-human had taken place; that God and his son (in alliance) again were performing a supernatural act.
On Friday 30/08/02 I emailed the author, the Advertiser’s Greg Kelton:
Before talking about royalty let me tell you about my daughter Michelle. She was a nurse for 3.5 years when she realized the profession was knot for her. She started brilliantly with the academic side of the training, but when it came to the hands-on aspect the reality hit her. Perhaps there should be some real "dirty work" in the first three months.
We often called Michelle Mich. She is our second child, the first is my son Ben. Co-incidentally, I attended the funeral of Ben Michell on Tuesday. He and his friend Glenn Knott had lost their life on that tree at Aberfoyle Park on Thu 5 pm. The funeral was sad plus. Sad, because a young person was buried, but extra sad because the relatives obviously never heard of Jesus. HE or HIS ROYAL DAD were not mentioned once during the funeral. I never saw a funeral notice for Glenn and yesterday's 'tiser did not give details either.
An insurance company with a good name like Royal and Sun ought to see that they are only ruining their own name. The law can be so brutal. Victor and Dianne would have been better off to engage "Bob the builder" to do the job. He is Ltop. I trust he will get his money from the insurance giant.
Bob D. Fischer
Driving Plus Motor School
Your safety is driving P L us
PS Carol Young of Highbury's letter today is only partly correct. Sixteen and 1/2 is young to drive a car. Yet, if road safety theory was taught right through the Highschool years 8-12 or so, why let kids wait a whole year or more before they can put the theory into practice. Some people are never mature enough to drive. Perhaps a restriction (no sports car, what killed Ben Mitchell, or an engine not exceeding 1500 cc) could be considered. Just as they do in motorbikes.
The Ltop referred to was the name of my first driving school when I first started teaching in South Australia.
Why, why, why was all this taking place right before my eyes? Why could I not just accept that co-incidences happen to everyone? It got worse. My eyes would pick up a snippet of information, a number, a name or sign and link it somewhere. This is how I captured the pointless fact that the Melbourne suburb of Mitchell Park has the postcode 3355. Why did I see such nonsense and let it bother me?
I never felt responsible for the death of Ben and Glenn; only a deep compassion for the parents and his sister. The confusion and emotion surrounding the incredible events that week took their toll. The following Sunday I was playing the trumpet with the church music team. After the sermon the speaker invited people to come forward to… I have forgotten why. It did not matter. My spirit broke into a state of total abandonment to almighty God. I put down my trumpet, walked forward and wept uncontrollably as I knelt under the empty cross.
After a few moments the assistant pastor put his hand on my shoulder and led me into his office. He queried if I had come forward for a specific reason. I just said it was the names… No, there was nothing to discuss. He did the best thing he could do for me at the time, make us a cup of tea. He asked me how many sugar I take. I said that I take 1 ½ teaspoons. For a moment he paused and looked at me with a gentle smile. I understood. The sun was shining again.
My diary entry 29/8/02: “Lord I trust in you – you’re not letting me down now. I’ll go where you lead me. Please, Lord, help us to spread your Gospel world-wide”.
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