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.


Jodie Howerton said...

I'm sending this link to Toph right now.... NO WAY!!!

Lisa said...

i actually bought one of your books.

not sure if i ever told you that?!?

here's another confession ... I haven't read it yet either.

but i'm sure IT'S GREAT!

i hope you made some money off my purchase.

if not ... rest assured that it looks GREAT on my bookshelf and i can't wait to read it!


Anonymous said...

Wow, I had no idea you were blogging. Great to connect with you here. I bought one of those dozens of books you sold and actually read it. Well, at least some of it - not sure if I actually finished it...

Anyway, that is totally random about seeing your friends in a picture in the Billy Graham Library! Thanks for the reminder about the camera rolling, it's true, you never know.

Chris Routly said...

Well, I got AND read your book Mike, and I thought it was great. Totally made me want to drop everything and go wander Europe or a while. :)

Amy Wasson said...

What an awesome story! I was there in '90 and got to chip away at the wall myself. It would have been great to have been there that day. So cool!

Jodie Howerton said...

Ok, Amy.I'm totally feeling jealous. You post on Mike's blog before mine? I mean, he TOTALLY copied me. OK, whatever.... :)

Henry Mark said...

Hurray! You started your blog! Good for you, Mike- and for us. Too much good stuff rollin' around in your head and heart. Thanks for sharing with us. I love Jodie's blog too.

MILES to CROSS is great! I loaned it to my boss, but she hasn't gotten around to reading it yet.
I would've left this comment on your most recent update, but um...Miley Cyrus? If I ever have children someday, I'm sure I'll understand. In the meantime, love you brother, but ha ha ha :)