Timothy Lee Taylor Jr. cut the line and went to Heaven on April 29th, 2021 at the age of 36.
He raced ahead and left way too soon. But not before he changed the world for all who met him.
Leeboy (as his friends called him) was magnanimous (Magnanimous describes people who are generous in overlooking injury or insult and being high-minded and unselfish) and lived his short life leaving a large footprint everywhere he went. He could be counted on to love when someone was broken, defend when someone was dealt with unfairly, and encourage when someone needed hope. That was Leeboy!
Lee Taylor was a father and a son, a husband and a brother, a caring companion, and a loyal friend.
Only superlatives are appropriate to describe Lee. His faith was contagious. His compassion was unmatched. His charisma could light up a room, a home, a city block, or a whole neighborhood.
To be with Lee was to be overwhelmed by Lee. You knew his heart and his soul because he showed them to you, because that was who he was, and because he wanted to know your heart and soul as well. No one was more genuine and authentic than Lee. He loved everyone, and everyone loved him.
To know Lee was to know someone who loved his neighbor as himself, and absolutely everyone was Lee’s neighbor. Not only did he see the best in others, but he pulled it out of them, whether they wanted it or not.
Although he lived in chronic pain for more than twenty years and he dealt with more than his fair share of ups and downs, Lee’s focus was always on learning, on growing, and on helping and loving others.
Lee lives on in the many, many, many people he touched and in the many, many, many stories we have to retell.
We all travel a path, and Lee’s was more difficult than most. But his great, broad search for truth that opened ever-so-wide narrowed once more to understand that Jesus was to be believed, loved, emulated, and served. That he might have done that sometimes imperfectly reminds us that we all do it imperfectly. It is only by the grace of Christ that what any of us are trying to do in a stumbling fashion becomes perfected.
Lee believed that when two people connect with the soul, something is poured out of one and into the other that has the power to heal the soul of its deepest wounds and restore it to health. The one who receives experiences the joy of being healed. The one who gives knows the even greater joy of being used to heal.
There are a few people in your life that you will meet directly or indirectly who will noticeably change your perspective or shift your paradigm about life. You will never forget that person or what they said or did that turned on the lights, pricked your emotions, gave you a new vision, connected with your soul, and recharged your zeal for life. Lee was one of those people. Even a short encounter with Lee produced that kind of unforgettable moment of worthiness and hope.
C.S. Lewis said that pain is the gift no one wants. Lee would agree. It made him a better person. The pain made him more aware of other people’s pain. It made him more empathetic, more transparent, more aware of the larger story we all have. Pain gave him a larger ability to love and care for people. It also gave him a purpose or mission that was others-centered. Pain can take over your life and the lives of others closest to you if you let it. But once you experience how valuable and important it is to be connected at the deepest level with someone who makes time to try and feel your pain, it changes your paradigm. When your soul is nourished from connecting with someone who takes a genuine interest in your pain, healing starts to take place. The healing frees up some capacity to stop focusing on your pain and begin seeing how valuable connecting can be. It actually loosens the bondage of what is causing your hurt and helps you see the pain in others. The pain gives you the capacity to better understand hurting people, and the experience of connecting can inspire you to free others up.
Lee found that when he was connecting with others and their pain, it took his eyes off his pain and gave him a sense of worth and value. That’s what helping others does. It really is better to give than receive. But it is in receiving that you understand the value. Connecting with others in a soul-healing way benefits both the people in ways that nothing else will accomplish. Lee understood this completely. His best therapy for his physical, psychological, and spiritual pain was when he connected with others in a soul-sharing way.
We are forever grateful for God’s gift: giving us 36 years with Leeboy. And we are reminded every day that death leaves a heartache that no one can heal, but Leeboy’s love leaves memories that no one can steal. These are pictures of Lee with his daughter, Raylin Eudelia Taylor; his wife, Gracie; and their son, Amari Lee Taylor, who was born six months after Leeboy went to Heaven!!