I attended the most beautiful funeral service for a great man.
Michael’s grandfather, Jesse Martin Taylor Jr., or affectionately named “Daddy Taylor” died last week after years of suffering from Alzheimer’s.
This weekend I realized just how blessed I am to be a part of his legacy. 11 children, 48 grandchildren, and 11 great grandchildren. (I think I’m counted as bonus grandchildren, but they didn’t have a category for that…)
This is what life is about. Family, posterity, and striving to be like Christ.
This man was one of the most Christlike men I’ve met. Gentle, kind, always making you feel special with a pat on the hand.
A twinkle in his eye, a calming presence, and a simple faith that things would work out.
I loved hearing stories about how he called someone to go pick him up, because he needed a ride home.
When she asked, “Dad, where’s your car?” He simply replied, “Someone needed it more than me.”
It’s a time of reflection, love, and devotion to the Lord.
I know the heavens are rejoicing to welcome such a faithful servant.
This scripture was shared at the service and it touched me deeply:
He was a man of great character, of charity.
Here are some pictures from the graveside memorial.
At the site, Michael’s dad, second child of 11, shared two poems that Daddy Taylor framed his life around.
When he was a teenager he made a decision to change. To be the man he wanted to be.
These poems acted as a mantra for his life:
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
Abu Ben Adam (may his tribe increase)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace
And saw, within the moonlight of his room
Making it rich, like a lily in bloom
An angel writing in a book of gold.
Exceeding peace had made Abu Ben Adam bold
And to the presence in his room he said
‘What writest thou?’
The vision raised its head
And with a look of all sweet accord
Answered: ‘The names of those who love the Lord
‘And is mine one?’ said Abu.
‘Nay not so’ Replied the Angel:
Abu spoke more low
But cheerily still and said ‘I pray thee then
Write me as one that loves his fellow-men’
The angel wrote and vanished. The next night
It came again with awaking light
And showed the names of whom love of God had blessed.
And lo! Ben Adam’s name led all the rest.
I am committed to be a better person, thanks to Daddy Taylor.
What a joy it was to look at my girls, teach them that he lives because of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
It was so touching to explain to Carmen that we will see him again. That his body and spirit will be separated, but only for a short time.
I know funerals can be a time of confusion, pain, and heartache…but with my knowledge that this is not the end, for me…it was a time to rejoice.
I looked her in her eyes and testified of truth. When we explained you will see her again, she said, “Mom, I’m going to give him a big kiss!”
What If I didn’t have the answers?
Thankfully, I do.
As I sat there listening to the stories, the miracles, and the lifelong service, it was a time to think, what can I do better?
11 kids. Just think of that. And every one of them was there, celebrating a dad whose legacy lives on. (Remember my amazing fan chart of ancestors?)
I wish you all could have known this man, but perhaps, we can take a piece of him and live in a way that he would be proud.
After all, that’s all the Savior asks…that we first love God, then our fellowmen.
“As I have loved you, love one another…”
and don’t forget to reflect on, the question… IF