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Linda Beck: Heartwarming

“May your troubles be less, your blessings more, and may nothing but happiness, come through your door.”

Billy Graham has always been my favorite Christian minister and I love to read stories about him. My family tells me you can’t believe everything you read on the Internet, but some things are too good to resist sharing. I hope these facts are true, but I am sharing an episode that is said to have taken place in January 2000.

Whether the story is “totally true” or not, it might give a heartwarming feeling even on a day when you feel somewhat coldhearted. Rev. Graham had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and had curtailed some of his appearances. Leaders in Charlotte had invited him to attend a luncheon in his honor. The leader said some wonderful things about him before he went to the rostrum.

According to what I read on the Internet, Dr. Graham told the following story and I am sharing it in his words:

“I’m reminded today of Albert Einstein, the great physicist who this month has been honored by Time Magazine as the Man of the Century. Einstein was once traveling from Princeton on a train when the conductor came down the aisle, punching the tickets of every passenger. When he came to Einstein, Einstein reached in his vest pocket. He couldn’t find his ticket, so he reached into his trouser pockets. It wasn’t there, so he looked in his briefcase but couldn’t find it. Then he looked in the seat beside him. He still couldn’t find it.

The conductor said, “Dr. Einstein, I know who you are. We all know who you are. I’m sure you bought a ticket. Don’t worry about it.” Einstein nodded appreciatively. The conductor continued down the aisle punching tickets. As he was ready to move to the next car, he turned around and saw the great physicist down on his hands and knees looking under his seat for his ticket.

The conductor rushed back and said, “Dr. Einstein, Dr. Einstein, don’t worry, I know who you are. No problem. You don’t need a ticket. I’m sure you bought one.” Einstein looked at him and said, “Young man, I too, know who I am. What I don’t know is where I’m going.”

Having said that Rev. Billy Graham continued, “See the suit I’m wearing? It’s a brand-new suit. My wife, my children, and my grandchildren are telling me I’ve gotten a little slovenly in my old age. I used to be a bit more fastidious. So I went out and bought a new suit for this luncheon and one more occasion. You know what that occasion is? This is the suit in which I’ll be buried. But when you hear I’m dead, I don’t want you to immediately remember the suit I’m wearing. I want you to remember this: I not only know who I am… I also know where I’m going.”

Rev. Graham is now 98 years old. What he said about himself over 17 years ago warmed my heart as I also know who I am and where I’m going! Do you?

Linda Beck lives in Woodleaf.

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