In Loving Memory of Frank Taylor, 1927-2001
Everyone knows what they were doing when the terrorists flew their planes into the World Trade Center buildings in New York. I heard the news, after I had dropped my sister off at the railway station, so she could spend a couple of days back at her home, before traveling back to Bridgend. Why? She had been to Bridgend, because my father's illness had taken a turn for the worse. He died on September 9th 2001. We planned his funeral, and on September 11th 2001, she was on her way home, before the funeral the next week.
Dad died after a very long and painful battle with mesothelioma – a dreadful form of lung cancer, brought about by inhaling industrial asbestos. He was a quiet and unassuming man and a true gentleman. No one that I have ever spoken to, who knew him, has ever had a bad word to say about him. He rarely raised his voice. He carried himself with an air of gentle respectability, in an era when men would even mend the car wearing a shirt and tie!
It would be easy to ask why God allowed his suffering. But the question misses the point. And the same question misses the point for the families of those unfortunate people who died in the dreadful events of 9/11. The question on many lips is "why did so many innocent people die?"
Unfortunately, none of us are innocent. And we live in a world that is not innocent. We live in a world where there is suffering and pain, because of the sinfulness of humanity. While we know that neither my father's death, nor the death of those in the WTC, were the direct result of their personal sin, we know that we have all contributed to the terrible sinfulness of humanity.
Suffering is never easy, and never gets easier. In a moment of insight that I think I should share, I remember that my father said, just a couple of weeks before his death, "I am not afraid to die. I know I am going to be with my Lord. But I have to admit, I am very afraid of the process of death."
Eleven years ago, Frank Taylor passed through that process of death. He is now in that place where there are no more tears or mourning, because of his trust in the saving power of Jesus.