Sunday Meditation: Farewell, my friend

I’m sitting at my desk — the black-stained, wood-grained, L-shaped monster my son gave me. J.S. Bach’s “Concerto for 2 Violins, Strings, and Continuo in D minor, BWV 1043:1 vivace,” as performed by Akiko Suwanai, plays (repeatedly) in the background. It’s my go-to favorite when my mind is murky.

Fueling my hunt-pecking this morning is a piece of baklava from Hellas Bakery in Tarpon Springs — tamed (as it needed to be) by a Keurig–brewed cup of Dunkin Donuts Dark Roast. tells me it’s 77 degrees outside with an 11 mph wind. Seems about right, based on the ripple-waves in my backyard pond.

My wife is visiting my son in New York. That means the lives of our cat and dog are in my hands. (They are doomed.)

It’s been a decent week: Got a haircut. Did some writing. Kept up with my exercises. Saw a few ball games on TV. Pondered my future. Kept an eye on North Korea. Picked out a lovely ring for my wife as a Mother’s Day gift. Ate too much. Watched “Judgment at Nuremberg” on PBS — all pretty much within standard parameters … until last night, when I learned one of my guardian angels died. Her name was Margaret.

The obituary starts this way: “RIEDEL, Margaret B. 94, went to be with her Lord and Savior, whom she greatly loved, April 18, 2017. Margaret was born to Walter J. and Pauline M. Barngrover in Cedar Rapids, IA. She permanently moved to Tampa in 1960 with her husband, Harley.”

Margaret had an AM radio show I listened to when I lived in Tampa back in the 1980s. She regularly interviewed heavy-duty, industrial-strength Bible scholars, like John Walvoord, Charles Ryrie, Dave Breese, Norman Geisler, Merrill Unger, Stephen Olford, Walter Kaiser, and Henry Morris Sr.

The obit says Margaret had a B.A. in Art and Art History from the University of Iowa, taught high school art and home economics courses before she got married. (Her husband died of a heart attack in 1966.)

I called Margaret one of my guardian angels. Why? Perhaps she possessed the rare capacity to encourage and inspire others in humble and creative ways: a smile, pat on the back, lunch after church, a few bucks here and there to pay off a doctor’s bill. Stuff like that. Though blessed with many talents — painting, writing, teaching — perhaps her greatest personal quality was hospitality. She made people feel welcome … at her church, in her home, on the radio.

I will miss her. Deeply.