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What my friend taught me

by | Aug 5, 2022 | Opinion

Chris Taylor was police officer in Wylie. He was a husband, father, and grandfather. He was distinguished as a friend to many. Too me, he was more than a friend. He was also my life partner. I wasn’t ready to say “Goodbye” to my friend.

Years ago, I had taken Chris to the ER for an emergency that required surgery. It was late and the surgery was scheduled early the next morning.

As he was being sedated, he explained I could sign any required paperwork. I was his pastor and a good friend, so it was fine with me. I would spend the night in his room and handle any paperwork necessary.

All was well until the early morning shift change while the nurse was updating the incoming nurse on Chris. I heard her explain that I could sign any paperwork because the patient and I were…domestic life partners.

My eyes popped open, and I nearly rolled over to explain I was his pastor and good friend, not his “domestic life partner.” However, in that moment, I realized the value of me as a “life partner” was more important than my pride. I closed my eyes and accepted my new role in the life of my friend.

To this day, there is probably a hospital record someone in a basement that lists Chris and I as more than just good friends. We laughed about that story for years.

That true experience explains so much about our friendship. Over a thousand weekly lunches we had over the years. Plus, dinner after church on Sunday with our wives, police ride alongs, and other events and gatherings. Plenty of meaningless conversations; but also a lot of deep talks about things important in life.

Two things stick out about my friend as I reflect on him today.

First, how fairly he treated others. He spent at least half of his 24-year police career in Wylie serving as a School Resource Officer. As you may imagine, an SRO deals with students on the day of their worst decision. My assumption early on was that most of those students would have a strong dislike for the SRO who represented the rules and justice. I was wrong.

So many times, a student approached him with a “Um, Officer Taylor?” He would affirm his identity and surprise our guest by using his/her name. A couple of cordial comments were exchanged and most likely a ‘thank you’ for being there at a rough time. Never an accusation, nor an axe to grind. Instead, a thank you for talking to parents when they were really angry, followed by an encouragement that one mistake didn’t have to define the rest of one’s life.

I’d get the rest of the story after our guest walked away. Always that the student had made a mistake and just needed a little correction back to the right path. That was Chris Taylor’s perspective. Nearly everyone deserved a second chance.

At the core of his life was a bible verse he tried to live every day. “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it is in your power to act.” (Proverbs 3:27)

If he saw or heard of a need, he didn’t need to stop and wrestle over whether he should help that person. If he had what was needed and saw the need; he believed it was his responsibility to act and meet the need. Whether it was someone he encountered on the street or a story of someone I was working to help. Chris was fast to reach into his pocket and share what he had to help someone else.

Unfortunately, in June he died after a long battle with cancer.

Sadly, when someone like Chris Taylor is taken home the world feels a little less loving. Who will continue to meet the needs of those around us? I guess it falls upon you and I to continue the legacy to help others when it is within our power to do so.

That’s what my friend taught me.

By Jeff Denton

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