74. A zero or a hero
On May 8th 2003 I awoke with the script of this chapter reverberating in my mind. Should I get up and write it straight away or can it wait till the morning? I looked at the clock radio; because it said 1.23 am I got up and fired up the computer immediately. God and I often worked like that. I remember the first night in the US turning out the light at 10.23 am in Anaheim. The next night I turned it out just after midnight, the clock said 12.03 am. People may think what they like on this; all I know Is that tablets would not stop me from playing with figures like that.
Is, my wife, would get upset when I thought like that. Deep down I had a longing to share my innermost thoughts with someone without being ridiculed. I wanted it to be her. Didn’t we share our lives in the most intimate physical way? God’s wonderful invention, two people becoming one flesh, is such a precious moment between husband and wife. Why could we not share our most intimate thoughts, dreams and ideas with each other?
We had been to marriage seminars. One we attended while still in Hobart; it was called Marriage Encounter, run by the Catholic Church. I enjoyed the honest, open approach. The outcome was for the couple at the end of each day to spend 20 minutes just talking one to one about anything and everything. It was called the daily ten/ten. We tried this a few days but did not make a habit of it. Intimacy can be very threatening; to lay bare your innermost self in front of another. Yet, this is what I longed for with Isobel. Instead of facing your own intimacy, watching others on television is less threatening.
A family member had asked Isobel’s mother, I heard it being said, what I was doing on the computer so much and until late every night? Since it is common knowledge that a large volume of traffic online by men is pornography, I wondered if this man thought I was engaged in such activity. Isobel seldom visited me in the computer room, to see what I was doing? Did she fear that was the case and scared to interrupt at the wrong moment? This man and Is ought to know me better than that. Not that Christians are immune from temptation. On the contrary, if Satan can bring down a Christian immorally, the damage to the kingdom of heaven is enormous.
I was about 30 when I came closest to ever committing adultery. Thinking back now, I was terribly naïve to place myself into a situation that could have ruined my life. A young couple, close friends of ours from church had moved away 80 kilometres into the country. Her husband had taken a job on a farm. I was just starting to cycle again more seriously, since my youth, and decided to visit them by bicycle, staying overnight. It was my first ever long distance ride, if you can call 80 km long distance.
On the second day of my visit, the day of my departure, the husband had gone to work early. The children were too young to be of any consequence. I stumbled out of bed and bumped into the lady still wearing her night attire in the dark hallway. We got talking. She was no Elle McPherson, but had a bubbly personality, which I was attracted to. To the left was her open bedroom door; to the right the kitchen. How easy it would have been to suggest …!
I knew it would just take a slight misinterpretation of the other’s body language, a dubious remark or an inappropriate look to start a fire. Just because we were Christians was no guarantee of anything. I had a conscious decision to make – turning left to satisfy my human lust or to turn right and have breakfast. To this day I thank God every time I recall the incident that I chose to turn right and chose to enjoy my oats. I was also thankful that the lady had the moral fibre to not lead me astray.
I don’t know if I would have had the strength to resist. Only by God’s grace did HE not allow Satan to make me go in the wrong direction. I don’t know if I ever would have forgiven myself. Sexual sin, I heard a preacher say once, is one of the most damaging of all. During the whole two minutes conversation, I had never even thought of her husband. Sin makes one blind, deaf and very dumb.
God forgives. One lady friend told me once. She had been proposed by a man with this remark. He was of another religion and their God was happy to forgive, even adultery. This is the kind of thought Satan plants into our minds to deceive, to destroy to kill. Afterwards, he laughs when we have to swallow the bitter fruit of our wrong doing. The God of Christians too, is forgiving, but there is a limit to his patience when we deliberately enjoy sin and think that a ritual every Sunday morning, underneath stain glass windows, will wipe everything clean.
In an occupation like mine it would be easy to be unfaithful to your wife. To teach someone driving you get to know the client very personally. Taking them out in the car often leads to more than a business relationship; Instructors marrying a student is not uncommon. Occasionally I have to deliberately apply the handbrake of my emotion to not let a friendly relationship with an attractive female, get out of hand. Sin starts with a deliberate thought and then acts. But so does goodness.
On Easter Monday 2003 I was worried about my wife’s health and our relationship. She was seriously worried about my thinking, my preoccupation with emails, newspaper headlines, numbers etc. It was so serious, she mentioned once that when couples with children split, the house is not divided by two, but the woman gets more. I never heard her talk like this.
My Isobel (with the maiden name Newton) was worth more to me than my dream. The way things were progressing she would not make friends with my numbers. Matter of fact, we joked about it. Leaving for choir practice, I once asked her: “Do you love me?” She said yes, but not as convincing as Olivia Newton-John can. I asked her: “What about my numbers? Which number do you love?” With her thumb and index finger she indicated zero. I said: “OK, then, I’ll look out for zeros on the way.”
It was time to leave it up to God to promote his message, the one I had gone across oceans to proclaim. HE was the master of this grand plan. Never ever does God say to people, divorce your wife! For someone to claim, God told me to divorce my wife, is blasphemy. A man speaking like that probably has his eyes on another woman to lust after her. In the same way, I would never say God told me to sell my house, when I know very well it would bring grief to my wife and family.
My course of action would be to love Isobel as I had never before. Often I joked about how much I loved her: “Darling, if I could express my love for you with a present, I would have to rob a bank”. (At the time of writing it is reported that Saddam Hussein pulled off the greatest bank robbery ever – dam sad). I decided to pause in my writing and concentrate on helping her in the garden and tidy up in and around the house. This always made her happy. It had been such a long time that she and I had a romantic dinner together or seen the inside of a motel together. I would have some motel stories to tell her and we’d laugh about it.
Sacrificing my dream did not mean that it was all just wishful thinking. Oh, no, God forbid. I simply wanted to proof to myself that I was prepared to give up my own ways, in order to please Isobel and my children.
Trying to cling to my own ways would only lead to a breakdown. My dream had become like one of my children. To really own my children, I must be prepared to let them go. I was prepared to let my dream go. Nobody could accuse me of being addicted to this “theophany” theory and just wanting to draw attention to myself. I could not blame anyone for thinking that I had embarked on a huge ego trip. God is the ultimate judge of the motives behind our action.
Jeremiah 9 and verse 23 warns people against boasting about anything.
“Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom. Let not the mighty man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches; but let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, exercising loving kindness, judgement and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight, says the Lords”. There are not many humans who can even do that, boasting about understanding and knowing God.
When I stand before almighty God one day, I will be very quite. Not even the best training from my Speaker’s Club will impress the ONE who holds it all together. I’ll be practicing my pauses or should I say, there will be one long pause.
My little frog story kept popping into my dreams. One night the thought that the name Adelaide comes from the German name Adelheid popped into my head. Like Elizabeth, Adelaide is the name of a Queen, the one our beautiful city was named after. (She was born in Germany in 1792 on Aug. 13th. The date is interesting – the Berlin Wall was built on that day in 1961 to imprison deserting East Germans).
The inspiration for the frog-story response was a not a calculated concoction. It was born from an urge to combat the awful feminist, anti-male/anti-family attitude it propagated. Us men, the so-called stronger sex, had suffered enough in the past decades; whole families lay damaged, producing a hurting host of fatherless children. Much later did I realize what I had written about the frog. The inconceivable story circulating in my head, spiced with daily grains of golden sand, made me feel like that frog - waiting to be released from the bondage society placed me in. I was waiting for a kiss from Queen Adelaide and my wife Isobel.
I yearned to be released, to be allowed to be the real me - WHO.
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