4. Searching for Billy Graham.

So my dad was gone a lot.  I think I mentioned that already.  It was eighteen months plagued with an obsession to find THE best preacher on terra firma. I remember him listening to tape after tape of resume sermons.  He was constantly distracted and it felt as if he were always in meetings or on the phone with someone talking about it.

At first, it was so exciting.  We were on the brink of starting over.  It was electric.

But as the weeks drew on, the excitement waned.  Months passed with no end in sight.  I remember my dad being excited about a candidate, and then after visiting him, trudge back home deflated because of some hold-out who was wavering due to some small nit-picky detail.  Dad really wanted this to be a unanimous decision, so if any one person felt ill at ease, the committee would put that preacher in the “no” pile.

The hardest part was watching my dad have to field questions in the parking lot.  You know how much negotiating goes on amidst parked cars?  And the waiting… People would see us in the car, but just keep talking and talking and talking.  There were times that I wanted to scream!  Get me out of here, please!

It was emotional.  My dad was like a rock-star at church. Everyone wanted his attention. Everyone wanted something from him, and  I could feel the pressure he was under. The pressure the church was putting on him. The relentless expectation.

And the truth of the matter was, my dad was looking for another Billy Graham.  A charismatic, dynamic saver of souls. He’d set himself up for a tragic fall, but he just couldn’t see it.

And during this period, my grandfather died.  My sweet, precious grandfather who lived with us.  Who took care of us. Who practically raised us.  It was devastating.  And the sorrow. So much sorrow.

I cried and I prayed.  I prayed and I cried.  And I prayed.  For relief.  To be relieved.

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