Shortly after lunchtime on May 15th, 2007, Rev. Jerry Falwell went to be with his Savior.
As many of you know, i was a student at Jerry Falwell's school, Liberty University. I have plans to return to Liberty this weekend for the graduation commencement ceremonies after spending my last semester at home finishing my classes via community college. Today, more than ever, i wished i could have been back in Lynchburg with my Liberty family.
A dear friend of mine sent me a message this afternoon saying that she had heard that Dr. Falwell was in the hospital, and i immediately began to check the news. It said that he had been found unconscious in his office and was reported to be in "grave condition." Not long after reading this report i refreshed the website page, only to find that the headline had changed. "Jerry Fallwell: Dead at 73." was all it said.
I stared at the page for a few moments. I then picked up the phone to call the person who i know i can always call whenever i need someone, even if it's just to sit with me on the phone. My Mum. I told her the news... And it was then that the truth of it set in, and i began to cry.
I have always had differences with Dr. Falwell. I have not always agreed with his style, or his approach in handling issues. But I've always been able to put aside those differences and recognize him as a man of enormous faith whom i have a huge amount of love and respect for. He was a man of faith, or prayer, of dedication, and of passion. He was a champion. We all thought he was invincible.
He is gone, but his legacy will always remain. He raised up countless champions for Christ, and his vision will go on. This Saturday the graduating class of 2007 will walk across a stage and receive a diploma... but they won't shake the hand of their beloved chancellor. But they will still carry the vision... and the Big Hairy Audacious Goals... that he inspired in them.
A Little added something:
Whenever I think of him, I always remember the time I was stuck at a red light in my car with the Liberty bumperstickers, radio blaring, singing my lungs out to a risqué country song, only to look over to my right and see Dr. Falwell, laughing in big suburban in the lane next to mine. I will always have fond memories of the serious evangelist who doubled as a teddy bear of a man who loved to laugh.