76. Hat trick on 4, 5, 6.
Expressing my opinion via email came hand in hand with receiving messages per knee mail. A psychologist, I am sure, would explain such an urge as a cry to be understood. I would agree to that. Increasingly, however, stories in the mainstream media made my mind wonder, what in the world was happening, it really seemed BIG?
On Saturday 3/5 Isobel and I happened to view a program on ABC television. It was a repeat of “Australian Story” a weekly program, where the name says it all. Usually the main characters in the stories are fighting uphill battles, trying to overcome handicaps and reaping the rewards of victory. One such story was the one Isobel and I stumbled across on Saturday May 3rd, while eating lunch.
The storyline was simple. A shoemaker was discovered as having a magnificent, opera singer’s voice. Famous radio personality Alan Jones spoke about the best talent for the past 100 years. His voice had moved grown men to tears!! The man from suburban Melbourne did have a nice voice, but Jones’ comment was a bit over the top. After some training the shoemaker, cum Caruso found a backer and ended up performing at a function in front of a crowd of VIP’s. The camera zoomed in on a few big, interesting names: Bob Carr (the New South Wales Premier) and Steve Waugh (a world famous cricketer) to name two. The story ended with the ‘talent of the century’ still working in his shoe repair shop, waiting for his big break.
On Sunday morning at 5.06 am, obviously rushing to not miss my favourite TV program, I emailed the ABC:
My wife Isobel and I watched the amazing story of the shoemaker opera sinner (sorry singer) with some amazement (I was more amazed than Isobel).
Even Bob Carr and Steve Waugh were there to watch him sinn. Were they moved to tears? May I suggest to the talent of the century to consider joining a choir. Ours (the Adelaide Liedertafel 1858) would love a talent like his, we are short on teners.
We have one brilliant singer (he also can whistle and jodle) who could pair with the shoemaker to make an unbeatable doit (sorry duet). My spelling is artroshess today. Isobel's is bether.
Thanks again for your intersting stories. It shows what a great county we live in and the talent that is waiting to be unleashed in the right spirit. Have an ice day.
Dieter Rolf Fischer
PS. On May 1st. PM Presenter Mark Ca. Colvin did just that at the intro of his 6 PM PM program. Bit unusual to goof up on your own name????
On my way home from my last driving lesson on 1/5/03 I tuned into the ABC News followed by the daily edition of PM with Mark Colvin. How he did it, I don’t know, but I heard him stumble over his own name, starting with “Ca’ instead of an ‘Co’?
The reader may ask why I was never tired of sending emails when I rarely received a reply. Was I drawing attention to myself for the sake of it? The imagination of being talked about was a nice feeling. Sending emails I simply regarded as a cheap way of keeping in the public’s eye. My goal (or should I say our goal) was to reach as many people with the Gospel, the Good News. According to Isobel a handful of people read my messages and websites. I got the feeling that Isobel was more famous than she imagined. Has this ever happened before? Somebody being famous and not knowing it?
I had reached a confidence in what God was doing that results did not matter per se. Of course, I prayed earnestly for visitors to my websites to be changed, to find life. But to measure my success in terms of how many hits my web pages received, I knew would be wrong. It would be so easy to fall into this trap, called performance trap, a sure recipe for unhappiness.
I had walked that path when I played music every Sunday at a mega-church in Adelaide. When I reached the top notes, playing first trumpet during the bright, often ear splitting worship I felt great for the rest of the day. The very few times people commented on my playing, it sent me on a high, almost. But more often than not I was just average, or downright awful. It left me feeling flat and wondering, if I really had worshipped God during the music ministry. Or had I been trying hard to impress and fallen on my face?
When I played soccer as a teenager I remember it was a similar dilemma. Great feelings when our team won, but what if I miss-kicked a sure goal or didn’t play well, I felt down the dumps. The performance trap took the fun out of playing, out of life itself. Performing to please, to prove you are somebody, is a trap that keeps you in bondage.
The weekend of May 3rd and 4th and the days following was a very active time with emails and phone calls to Radio Stations. My favourite program early that Sunday morning held a wonderful surprise. They sang my favourite hymn, the one I looked forward to singing in the church service in the US, but they didn’t; the one that tore me apart when the band started playing it the previous September during a memorial service for fallen police officers. The hymn finishes with the clear message what price there is to follow Christ: Love so amazing so divine demands my soul, my life, my all.
I emailed on Sunday 4/5 at 7.40 in the morning:
How unbelievable! Before your program this morning the Lord dropped a verse into my spirit during my prayer.
"If God be for us who can be against us.....how could he not give us with him all things. (I was a bit annoyed because I did not know where it was in the bible).
To hear Robert jun. read just that scripture, starting with "All things work together for good" shows the beautiful ways of our Lord to show he really is for us!
"When I survey the wondrous cross" made the tears flow, as it always does. Thank you for a wonderful program, again and again. To top it off it was the little sparrow story from Iraq, plus the music box gift, I don't know how to contain it all.
Thank you so much for another wonderful hour of blessing.
A member of that church had written a note from the war front in Iraq: A little sparrow entered their tent and stayed the night. The sparrow is a Christian symbol that almighty God knows the tiniest of his creation. The music box mentioned in my email was presented to a singer. It contained 50 scriptures, one of which speaks of “the hairs on your head are numbered”. God knows how many we have. I usually ad the joke, that God also knows how many are missing.
The program was produced after my visit to this large church; I wondered if it was co-incidence that my favourite hymn was sung. All things are possible with God. The scripture reference is Romans 8, 28 – all things work together for good. Verse 31 is making one of the most powerful statements in the bible: “If God be for us, who can be against us?”
Over the following three nights something unusual, wonderful took place. I scored a hat trick, phoning Radio 5 AA three times in a row. I had woken around 3.30 am on the Sunday morning. For the first time in a long time I listened to talk-back radio. Something prompted me to alert listeners to a sad item on the News that week. On May 1st 03, the day I uploaded eight chapters in my book, I overheard an item in the TV News:
“For the first time anywhere in the world, a brothel was listed on a stock exchange, the Melbourne Stock Exchange.”
I got on air reasonably quickly and talked briefly about prostitution: “On the wall of every room in a brothel there should be a health warning – if you are married you are about to commit adultery. To be able to hire young women, pay them big wages, rent a house and offer sex as a legal, profit making business, is outrageous. It ruins the lives of young girls forever.” The operators of the brothel had flown in a prominent madam from overseas, especially for the occasion. The newsreader said that the madam did not recommend the profession as a career for anyone. What hypocrisy to travel around the world and promote something you don’t believe in!
The radio host agreed wholeheartedly with what I had said. He wondered why it is always up to the church to speak out on these matters. His view was that this kind of business destroys marriages. The excuse to legalize prostitution to keep the industry under control and clean is a lie. The talk-back host agreed that you can’t clean up a dirty business by gift-wrapping it.
Time did not permit to make another point on air. An organisation I support, fighting legalized prostitution, produced these figures: Prior to legalizing prostitution in Victoria there were 50 brothels and escort agencies in that state. After the recent legal gift-wrapping the dirty industry, the figure has mushroomed to 1200 such establishments. Was it co-incidence that this event was scheduled for the day of my special numbers - 1/5/03?
The following night I awoke even earlier as the previous one, at 2.30 am. I turned on the radio to the only station that broadcasts all night talk-back radio. It was this statement by Radio host Andrew Reimer and the weather forecast that made me prick my ears. The maximum for the next day was going to be 21 degrees the current temperature was 15 degrees. The last time I had spoken to this radio host was sometime during the previous year (Chapter 26). I had spoken to him under great emotional stress, about my friend John possibly having been put to sleep illegally.
I picked up the same subject. This time I told him about Steve, the patient dying of cancer. He had been given 6 weeks to live before Christmas 2002, but survived and was still alive. At one stage he had been admitted to the Mary Potter Hospice in North Adelaide, a place where people never return from. Steve was the exception. I said that we should not allow people to be put to sleep.
At school in Germany during English classes I remember reciting a phrase: As long as there’s life, there’s hope. (The story was about a frog falling into a milk can. The short of it is that one frog realizing he could not reach the rim of the can, gave up and drowned. The other kicked and kicked and struggled all night, until the milk had turned solid enough for him to leapfrog out to safety). I pointed out to the radio host on 5 AA that sincere prayer can work miracles, if we believe. I meant it.
One day I am hoping to be able to phone back and remind him to say that Steve is doing fine still, after …years. The next morning I was woken still earlier, about an hour earlier than the previous day. The clock radio showed 1.24 am. I felt wide awake and had a distinct thought: Ring the same radio station and score a hat trick. My final trigger for phoning had been a conversation between a Margaret, who volunteered for Camp Quality (see a quality MP?). From the few moments of conversation I picked up, I gathered the talk was about children with cancer.
At that time of the night competition to go on air is not great. While holding for a short time to have my turn, a man named Row, if I got his name right, phoned rather despondent. His mother was dying in hospital. Andrew Reimer asked why he was not there with her. The caller said he had no means of getting there. (I had a strong recollection of a man Les, needing a lift to Park Terrace three years prior on different radio station, Chapter 13). When it was my turn (still off-air) I offered to take Row in my car to see his mother, if they get stuck. (Andrew had already offered for the station to pay out for a taxi).
As far as I was concerned it would have not been any effort to get dressed and ride the ½ hour to Kilburn and drop that man into the City. My problem would have been Isobel. She would have been suspicious, possibly thinking my illness had come back or in fear that I’d be fleeing to the airport or such nonsense. I was glad when I heard that a Pamela, who lived around the corner, offered to help out. My suspicious mind, always analysing and thinking, smelled a set up, I may never know.
Pamela (me a P a L) was a female name. Was she prepared to get up and, in the middle of the night, drive a total male stranger around town? Pamela was the name of another radio host’s wife on he same station. She had been a radio host on the same station, until a cancer developed and she had to give up her work. (I once emailed that I would pray for her). If this was indeed a set-up, then it was rather remarkable that God woke me at exactly the right time and prompted me to phone that same station the third day in a row. He knew and made me dial the number.
As the previous night I only caught the tail end of the previous caller, a lady suffering from depression. The upshot was – where could she go for help? The radio host threw this challenge to the listeners, which was the catalyst to get out of bed and dial the station’s number. That morning I was able to give the Christian message in a simple, yet powerful way. I said that Christ does not claim to have the answer, HE IS the answer. Inside of us all is a vacuum, a space that only HE can fill and wants to do so. A relationship with HIM can be closer than that of your brother, best friend or wife.
Andrew let me go on a bit. The silence at the other end made me think for a moment I had been cut off (It had happened before on another station, Chapter 17). Andrew said: “You’ve made your point”, which completed my hat trick on night talk-back radio on May 4th, 5th and 6th 2003. I went back to bed and listened a little longer. After further talk-back a song was played. The lyrics (and the singer’s name) made me almost wake up Isobel to prove to her that it’s all for real. The song title: “Someday lady you accompany me.” The artist was Bob Seeker. Would Isobel have believed?
Not likely at 3 o’clock in the morning. Around the time of completing volume one of “More in number than the sand”, I really tried to gently convince my lovely wife to pray that God will show her the truth about her husband. I asked her to kneel beside her bed and pray to God. HE will reveal truth to her, if she is genuinely open and seeking. I’ve never been a good salesman, unable to making other people adopt my ideas. Try selling your wife something!
I would have to muster re-enforcements of my strongest weapon – Love.
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