My home is in heaven. I’m just traveling through this world. – Billy Graham
“I will travel anywhere in the world to preach,” my father once said, “if there are strings on what I am to say.” And travel he did: on ocean liners and in postwar automobiles before interstates rolled out across America. Then the jet age roared into the mid-twentieth century, and my father became known as a globe-trotter for God, but it wasn’t without turbulence. He determined early in his journey that the Word of God was the only road map he needed to guide him along the highways of life, spattered with potholes.
“Ruth and I have said goodbye many times in our lifetime together,” my father wrote. “Sometimes we were separated by oceans and time difference. But the absences made the homecoming much sweeter.”
It may seem a little strange, then, to say that as a boy I lived many exciting moments through my father’s eyes, since he was gone so much. My mother would share stories about what he was doing wherever he was in the world, grabbing our attention with the slightest detail. When he returned home, it felt in some ways as though we had been with him the whole time.
I can recall him describing a voyage on the SS United States, recounting the ship as it sliced its way through the Atlantic storms. His hand glided through the air, demonstrating how the vessel maneuvered into dock at Southampton, England. He was a great storyteller. Every scene he described I saw clearly through his penetrating eyes, as blue as the sky over North Carolina where we lived.
Through my father’s eyes, I was introduced to six of the seven continents of the world: Asia, Africa, North and South America, Europe, and Australia. Learning about different cultures and exotic locations inspired my childhood imagination. My father and mother exposed me to the possibilities of serving God with my life, and their example molded and shaped me to follow in step where the Lord would lead. As I learned about the world through my earthly father’s eyes, little did I realize that someday I would experience for myself the world’s diversity through the eyes of my Father in heaven.