|Photo by Brent Moore / flickr|
Yesterday when I heard Billy Graham had died--I went back to another time and another place. The year was 1950. We lived in a little cotton-mill village a hundred miles from Atlanta. My Daddy and Mother worked in the mill across from our house most of their adult lives. Somewhere word came that Billy Graham was coming to Atlanta. Even then everybody knew about the Evangelist Graham. We had read his books, listened to his Hour of Decision on the radio. Every time we heard "Just As I Am" it would remind us of Billy Graham and the Invitations he always gave.
I wanted to hear the great Evangelist--but Atlanta was far away. In fact I don't think I had ever been there. I don't remember many of the details but I do remember my Daddy telling me we
|photo by Ralph W. Hayworth / flickr|
I have little memory of that evangelistic crusade. But what I do remember, looking back is what a sacrifice it must have been for my Daddy with his seven-grade education to plan that trip--and make sure it happened. He wanted his boy to do something he really wanted to do. Taking a trip a hundred miles away was like going to the moon. I never thought it would happen.
My father and I had little in common. He was near-deaf which meant communication was almost non-existent between the two of us. And an adolescent boy, selfish and impatient--I did not realize how hard it must have been for him to understand much that happened around him. But he wanted to please this son whom he hardly knew.
Looking back--there is a lump in my throat. I don't remember much about Billy Graham that night--but I do remember my father who did what he could with what he had. I wish I had told him how much that trip meant. How hard it must have been for him to pull it off. And as I look back on the churches I served, the places I've lived and the sermons I have preached--maybe, just maybe that Daddy and that trip has meant far more in shaping my destiny than anything I ever dreamed.
|My father: John Lovett|
--Roger Lovette / rogerlovette.blogspot.com