Wednesday, September 24, 2008
When I was 19 I lived in Heidelberg, Germany as a part of a study abroad program with Pepperdine University. My good friend, Toph, was there all year, and I arrived for the second semester. I wrote a book about it called Miles to Cross, which has sold dozens. You’d like it. I’ll make you a good deal. I’ve got a few in my garage.
That’s not what’s random.
In the fall of 1989, before I joined them, the Pepperdine Students from Heidelberg were on a field trip to Berlin. The city was in an uproar, with thousands of protestors on the streets, gathered at the Brandenburg Gate, and standing on the wall. THE WALL. The Berlin Wall, splitting the city and freedom in two, and standing on top of the wall, right smack in the middle of an historic moment, were my friends from Pepperdine.
That was the night the wall fell. People from the east were helped up and over, and the crisp wind from the west stung the tears running freely down hopeful faces. I visited the wall a couple months later, and chipped off some pieces to save before it existed only in memory.
None of this is what is random.
Today, I’m walking through the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, NC. Billy is such a total and complete stud, a true hero of faith, and a pillar of integrity. Throughout the museum, there are film clips of moments of history that Billy Graham contributed to. There were clips of the times he visited behind the Iron Curtain, where people gathered in mass to hear him proclaim good news in a cold war. And he was able to enter soon after the wall fell and crowds upwards of 150,000 came out to try to hear him. Again, not qualifying as random.
Here is what is random:
One of the film clips shows two students helping people up onto the wall. One of the students is wearing round glasses and a red coat. Both students look familiar, so I do a double-take. My eyes pop out of my head, Roger Rabbit-ish. It’s my buddy Toph and our friend Barry, helping people up and out. A triumph of freedom, a pivotal moment in history, and two college students blissfully participating in the revolution.
Since I don’t really believe in random, I’m struck by thoughts: 1) the world is really small, and 2) God is really good. I imagine him smiling at the way he jumped me with joy and friendship in the middle of a Library in Charlotte.
And 3) you really never know when the camera is rolling.