Wednesday, February 21, 2018

My Billy Graham Story

Billy Graham died today. Lots of people have a “Billy Graham story”. Here’s mine.

Thanksgiving of 1971 I was dating a young woman who attended Montreat-Anderson College, in Montreat, NC. She had a job caring for a couple of horses at Billy Graham’s home near there. She was invited to Thanksgiving supper with the Graham’s, and she invited me to go along. Which I did. Nervously. After all, this was Billy Graham I would be sitting with at the table.

We stood at the front door, waiting for someone to answer. I tried to make jokes to ease my nervousness. “Do I need to take off my shoes, this being holy ground?” “Is that a burning bush I see over at the edge of the yard?” Not very funny, but I was trying.

The door opened and there he was. He welcomed us into his home, stuck out his hand, and said, “Hello. I’m Billy Graham.” I took his hand and told him my name. We went into the dining room, had supper and good conversation. Every time the conversation would turn towards him, Billy would direct it in another way. He wasn’t being overly private or hiding anything; he just didn’t think he was that interesting.

Late in the conversation, I ventured these thoughts to him. “Mr. Graham, you may be the best-known person on the planet right now. Your voice is known all over the world. Even if people did not know what you looked like, they would recognize your voice because it is heard on radio stations everywhere. You are probably the only person who would not need to introduce himself. Yet, you told me your name at the door. You didn’t need to. Why?” (I was thinking that he probably thought I was too stupid to remember where I was having supper.) He said, “I have always thought it was presumptuous to think that anyone would know who I was.”

That has stuck with me for the last 47 years.

Thanks, Dr. Graham, for your life and witness. I will wager everything that this morning when you woke up in heaven, someone called you by name.

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