Elaine Taylor passed away Sunday evening.
You might not have heard the news. She was not a celebrity. Fame was not one of the goals of her 84-year-long life. At least not earthly fame. My guess would be that most of the people reading this post didn’t know her. That is a shame.
If you had ever met her, you would have loved her. At least I think you would have. I know for sure that Elaine would have loved you. Elaine loved everyone. I don’t think she ever met a stranger. Each new person in her life was a friend. Her smile, her laugh, her hug…. All three welcomed everyone she met, and no one who experienced them will ever forget them.
No one who ever experienced Elaine was ever forgotten by her.
I can’t tell you what her presence meant in my life. It’s hard to even describe the relationship we had. Elaine was a grandmother when I needed one. She was full of love and advice—giving the love at all times and the advice when she felt I needed it, which was not necessarily when I felt I needed it. She said she would pray for me. And you know what? She actually did it. A lot of today’s Christians—myself included, I am so sorry to say—are good at saying, “You’ll be in my prayers,” and then promptly forgetting the details of who needed prayer. Not Elaine. She might not have known what prayer was needed, but she prayed.
Much of my recent physical recovery I attribute to her prayers. I gave up. Not on God, exactly. Never once did I stop believing that He could heal my back pain and bring back the feeling my leg. I just gave up on the idea that He ever would. For whatever reason, I just felt like God intended for me to live with these physical limitations, and I started to look for the good that could come from them. If this was part of His plan, I wanted to be open to still making a difference for Him. Elaine never gave up on my healing. When I told her a few months ago that I knew God could heal me but I didn’t think that He would, she gave me that smile. You know what smile I mean…the one a mother gives her child when the child seems to be trying but not trying hard enough. Yeah, that’s the smile. She patted my hand and said, “I don’ believe that. It’s just not the right time. He will bring the healing when He is ready for it, not when you are.” And when she said she’d pray for me, I knew she was doing it. I wish I could tell her that she was right. I wish I’d had the chance to walk into her room, without my cane, and show her how God was working.
But I am sure she knows now. I have a feeling God has spent a lot of time in the last few days showing Elaine how her prayers have helped bring miracles to more people than we could ever count.
There is a party going on in Heaven this week, a “welcome to your reward” party, with Elaine Taylor as the guest of honor. From the reports I have been hearing all over Facebook this week, Elaine is just one of many guests of honor at this party. And you know what? I think that is how she would want it. Once she got her face-to-face moment with Jesus, once she was able to hug Him and kiss Him, she turned around to face the others coming behind her.
And with the same smile she used on Sunday mornings, she held out her hand and said, “Welcome to Heaven. You’ll like it here.”