25 years ago today was when The Berlin Wall fell. The falling of the wall was one of the biggest international events, if not the biggest event, to happen during the formative years of Generation X.
I had always wanted a piece of the wall of my own.
Having grown up Generation X, we saw pretty much everything crumble around us, from what we watched on the news, to our families and society in general. It was an era where a lot went wrong. That is why I clung to God throughout my childhood - everything fell apart around me and it was clear that nothing was going to be consistent. I took that faith into my adulthood as I've struggled with the larger questions like:
1) Is God really there?
2) If so, does he listen to our prayers?
3) If so, does he listen to me?
From the third question came this thing that I do every so often: I pray a prayer that would be mathematically impossible (or the odds would be astronomical) for these things to randomly come true - only possible for it to be answered by God himself. In other words, I ask for something incredibly detailed, profoundly specific, and uber random so that I know that that if the prayer gets answered it is not just a coincidence but really God.
Since my connection to my generation is very important to me, and since the fall of the Wall was so important to the experience of my generation, this was my prayer that I prayed a few years ago:
"I would like you to give me my own piece of the Berlin Wall. I'd like it to be given to me by someone who was there right when (or soon after) the wall fell who chiseled it out themselves. I would like that person to be a Gen Xer. I would like them to bring a large piece with them to my house, and then break off a smaller piece for me to keep so that I can see the larger piece it comes from and so I know it is 100% authentic. I'd like this all to happen right before the 25th anniversary of the falling of the wall."
Right as I was about to move away from Portland Oregon last spring, some friends came over to visit. One of my friends told me she had a gift for me - it was a poster she had bought on the street in Berlin shortly after the wall fell. She had kept it all those years in storage in her Portland house. She also had brought a piece of the wall to show me, and all the sudden she unexpectedly felt the inspiration to break off a piece of her piece to give to me. She borrowed a hammer, took her piece to the floor of my garage and broke off a piece for me.
I was in shock - the prayer had been answered down to every detail. I grabbed my camera and took photos of the poster, the hammer, my piece of the wall...
What I learned from this experience:
1) We are all connected to something much larger to ourselves in a way much more substantial and tangible than we can imagine.
2) While we struggle with how much our prayers are heard and why some do not seem to get answered, prayers do get answered.
3) We are loved far, far beyond what we could possibly imagine.
The dust from the Berlin Wall sits in the seams in the cement of the garage in my old house in Portland Oregon, because there was a moment in space and time when the whole universe bent down and bowed before me so something extraordinary could happen.
The most consistent thing to happen in our lives - the lives of Generation X - was a constant crumbling of everything around us, and the biggest international event to happen in our formative years was the crumbling of a giant monolithic wall. May all the walls of our lives fall - every wall that keeps us from something good - every wall that keeps us isolated, every wall that keeps us believing that our prayers go unheard...
...our prayers are heard.