His legacy and accomplishments are impressive; his character and wisdom like no one this world will see again. He has sold millions of books and preached the gospel to over 2 billion people — but to me, the most important role he played was that I got to call him “Daddy Bill.”
Growing up as the granddaughter of Billy Graham was a privilege for many reasons. For me, the greatest privilege was to have a behind-the-scenes look at a man who had a very public platform. There was no difference between the public Billy Graham and our Daddy Bill. This was a man who would field calls from the president just before coming to my elementary school’s Thanksgiving Day program to watch me perform. He was very present as a grandfather, and for over two decades he led me to believe that I was his favorite grandchild. (I would later find out he told this to all of the grandkids.) Most importantly, he taught me by example what it looks like to do things justly, to love mercy, and to proceed humbly.
Politics are polarizing and personal, and — although my grandfather largely stayed out of them — he taught me to be unashamed of my convictions. His life gave me the platform to do just that. It is obvious to any American that our country is in a dark and divided place. This place, I feel, would hurt the heart of my grandfather because I believe the state of our nation also hurts the heart of our Lord. I want my heart to break for what breaks His heart. I want your heart to break for what breaks His heart.