In the dark, quiet hours of the morning, my great uncle, Terrel Taylor, went home. And as I have thought of him today, I have been blessed with sweet memories flooding my mind, a testament to the man he was.
Each mission trip I ever took, he and Charlotte would send money. They would be one of the first to contribute. Of course, I know this was not family favoritism or odd chance. It was one small part of a lifestyle – a habit of blessing and supporting mission work. Their generosity was practical, financial and covered in prayer. Countless others (in mission work, in church work and in life) have benefited from their thoughtful generosity.
Terrel always had a story to tell and a bad (or is that dad?) joke to share. But he also had a tender heart. Many is the time I have watched his slow path to the front of the auditorium to share something he had “on his heart” – and he would inevitably get choked up, as would we. We were bound together by how love and spiritual matters should affect us, to the very core of our beings.
Terrel always had time for children. I remember his great patience and humor when Gideon stole his (admittedly very bright and shiny) new walker. He remarked afterward that Gideon seemed to move a lot faster with the walker than he did! And he somehow won over the heart of my very strong minded and independent little girl, who would go over and lean her little blond head on his knee to hug Uncle “Tewel.”
The moment most imprinted on my mind is at my own dad’s funeral (his nephew). I had not known or expected them to come – it is a long and difficult car ride, especially for two “more mature” people who already suffered from physical ailments. And yet, there they were, slowly, steadily making their trek across that church foyer. Love in action. They both folded me into their embrace and held me and cried. They told me very simply they had to come – to carry all the love from back home and give it to us.
Terrel lived a lifetime of carrying love and now he is wrapped in a different embrace – he is, as the old hymn says, “safe in the arms of Jesus.”
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints ~ Psalm 116:15