I learned this past weekend that the destruction of the Berlin Wall was by complete and utter accident. During a live conference meeting led by Guenter Schabowski, a member of the East German Politburo, an announcement was made that travel restrictions, which prevented most East Germans from traveling outside their country, would be lifted and that all citizens would be allowed freedom of passage as they pleased. One of the conference members asked when exactly this would take place and Schabowski, not knowing the answer to this rather simple question, improvised an answer and said “immediately.” The original intention of the new rules was to allow easier passage of East Germans into the west after applying for a VISA to travel across the border. It was supposed to be a highly regulated change that would be established over a period of time. But because of a petty miscommunication and blunder made by one misinformed man who desperately did not want to be humiliated in front of his colleagues, the Berlin Wall came tumbling down that night. Over the course of months, East Germany ceased to exist and the nation was unified after almost 30 years of separation. I still think it’s incredible how an accident led to one of the greatest moments in history. It’s also sobering to realize yet time and time again that humans are plagued with imperfections.
As some of you might know, this weekend was probably one of the worst weekends of my life. I was pick-pocketed while in Berlin and lost my wallet and all of it’s contents, which included my passport, all forms of ID, credit cards, and small photos and tickets that were a treasure to my memory. I’ve been trying my best to be a good sport about all of this, but walking around a foreign country without anything but your body and a small amount of cash really made me feel vulnerable and empty. I’m still in the process of convincing myself that this is all a part of a learning experience LOL but in all honesty, I wish all of hell on the person who stole my things.
So here’s what I really learned this weekend: People are utterly and permanently imperfect and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. Famous political leaders will make stupid mistakes that bring down kilometers of massive walls, pick-pocketers will continue to pick-pocket unsuspecting tourists, and I, myself, will always be too naive to understand that these things actually happen. Maybe that’s the entire point of our existence, though - imperfection. How else would we ever learn anything… right?
"Even now," declares the LORD, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning." Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.
Can you believe it…?
Even now… after the shit show of a year I’ve had. Even then.