Thursday, June 14, 2007

Another Great One Passes Over

Someone I have greatly admired for years is Ruth Bell Graham. I love Billy Graham, but I recognize in Ruth someone, I think, with more depth and more accurate Biblical knowledge. Also someone who was a very Biblical wife and mother in her support for her husband.

She passed over to heaven today at 5:05 PM while I was napping after work. I wonder if she, as she was leaving earth, floated above the town called Tsingkiangpu in the old days, Huaiyin now, in China where she was born and grew up. I wonder if she stopped to travel up the old Grand Canal. Did she hover above the Montreat house where she has spent so many years, in the mountains she grew to love?

So many are over on the "other side" now that I have admired. June Carter and Johnny Cash. Zola Levitt. And now - Ruth Bell Graham. I bet her mother and father were very glad to see her. And, just like she did on earth in their home in North Carolina, she will prepare for Billy's home-coming, to make sure he is comfortable and has a familiar and loved face to greet him.

Ruth was the serious, learned, Biblical side of the couple, while Billy was the rambunctious, emotionally religious, powerful preacher side. Without her tempering, he might have become more of a caricature of a preacher, more of a Billy Sunday, and less of a real, grounded person with the message of salvation. She kept him from being tacky, TV preacher material....she kept him on task and faithful to the Word.

It seems that Franklin has a touch of his father's need to be tempered, but no Ruth to temper him. He also has inherited Ruth's stubbornness and strength, which, in the following case, doesn't seem to be good.

Franklin has started the Billy Graham Library which, as you can read, has some tacky elements like a talking cow. He has insisted, evidently against the wishes of Ruth herself, Ned his brother and Patricia Cornwell, the writer who has immortalized Ruth in her biography, "Ruth, A Portait - The Story of Ruth Bell Graham" that Ruth be buried next to Billy at the library.

In this article it is evidently Ruth's wish, as well as her son Ned's, that she be buried at the Cove, a religious retreat in the NC mountains that Ruth designed and is much more tasteful. According to the Washington Post article linked above, Ruth designed the memorial gardens at the Cove to be her and Billy's resting place.

I have some thoughts on this problem. It seems, according to the pronouncements made today by the family, that Ruth and Billy will, indeed, be buried at the Billy Graham Library, against Ruth's wishes.

Ruth Graham had a great sense of humor, and she was the force that tempered the Southern Fire and Brimstone Preacher in her husband. When the Resurrection of the dead comes and Ruth finds that she has been buried for however many years it will be until that day, next to a barn with a talking cow, she'll look over at Billy and just laugh out loud. It won't matter then whether it was a good decision or not - it will just be plain old flat out funny.


Angie B. said...

I like your site. I'm a Christian. I clicked your link over at Seablogger.

So are the organized and disorganized hoarders you and your husband?

Angie B. said...

P.S.: Do you read Lileks over at

Susan Humeston said...

Thank you! Yes - the writing is about my husband and myself.

Susan Humeston said...

Yes - I read Lileks faithfully every morning - I've also started reading his newspaper blog

Marci said...

Great post. She will be missed, but one day.... We will meet her there.