An amazing event happened last week, but you didn’t read it in the paper or hear about it on TV. Nevertheless, it was momentous. I turned eighty. That’s 80! And praise be I’m still here to tell about it!
I was not to know where until the very last minute. Friday, my actual birthday, the four of us drove to a local ice cream shop for lunch where I had a humungous root beer float with a burger. Cyndi told the waitress it was my birthday so at the end of the meal we were presented with a gigantic sundae with four spoons. I think it was the first time in my life
Then we drove to a town called Matthews, NC, just outside Charlotte. There we spent the night at a hotel in preparation for my surprise to be held at noon on Saturday. I was still on a need-to-know basis. Saturday we all headed toward Charlotte and soon I saw signs for the Billy Graham Library. Ta daa! A tour of the library and grounds was our destination and what a destination it was!
We spent two hours exploring the many rooms of the library and learning about this much-loved man. In each room, video clips of Billy Graham’s distinctive voice and style of preaching reminded us why we loved him. One table held keys to the city of a dozen different cities around the world. He wasn’t just a US phenomenon. His biggest crusade ever was in Seoul, South Korea where 1.1 million people attended.
In one room, two pistols were on display with a placard saying that the guns wereturned in by converted gang members during Graham’s sixteen-week Crusade in New York City in 1957. If that was the extent of Billy Graham’s mission, it would have been amazing, but we all know he did much, much more.
After a stop for an ice cream milk
shake at the dairy bar and a quick stop at Ruth’s Attic, the gift shop, we went
outside and toured the grounds. It was very moving to see the graves of Cliff
Barrows and George Beverly Shea as well as Ruth Graham’s headstone and Billy’s
headstone. Hers reads, Under construction—thank you for your patience
referring to a road sign she once saw and thought was most indicative of her life.
Billy Graham’s headstone states, A preacher of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus
Christ, which is how he wanted to be remembered. A sign next to the headstone says that he once
said, “Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you
believe a word of it! I shall be more alive then than I am now…I will have gone
into the presence of God.”
If you saw any of his memorial service on television, it was conducted outside the
Library with it’s huge glass window cross. It was a thrill to be standing on the same spot.
I have flown over a volcano, skydived from three miles up, been serenaded in a gondola in Venice, stood atop the Twin Towers, flown in a hot air balloon along the Rockies, climbed Diamond Head in Oahu, braved white water rapids, gave birth to four beautiful children, have extraordinary friends and family, and am now loved by the most wonderful man in the world. I may not like knowing I’m now 80, but I am one exceedingly fortunate and blessed woman. Thank you one and all.
Quote of the Day: By the time you’re eighty years old you’ve learned everything. You only have to remember it. George Burns