my days, O Lord,
that I may know my end,
that I may know how frail I am,
that I may understand my need for You.
In my weakness, I look to You
for You give me strength and
LORD, make me to know my end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am.Psalm 39:4
This week’s poem was written in memory of a dear high school friend, Kathy Ramirez. On Tuesday this week I learned that she had Stage 4 cancer. She herself had only found out a few days before what was making her so sick. By Thursday, yesterday, she was with the Lord.
Kathy was a year ahead of me in school, but we sang in choir together, traveled together for competitions and choir tour, went to college together, and even taught school together briefly many years later. In college, when she was a sophomore and I a freshman, she said, “Angela, let’s play a piano-organ duet for the offertory at Christmas break.” Great idea! Only we were both pianists. Neither of us had ever played the organ before. So we flipped a coin to decide which of us would play the organ, and the lot fell to me. Then we walked across the street from the university to a large music store and picked out two piano-organ arrangements: “Silent Night” and “Hallelujah Chorus.” That entire semester we worked on our individual parts in the practice studios, and we ended up playing the “Hallelujah Chorus” at church that Christmas.
Wouldn’t you know it, the organist called in sick a week later, and I was asked to fill in. “I only know one song,” I tried to cop out, but they just said, “Fake it.” And I did. I ended up playing the organ for several years, not at that church, but at another. And, of course, I still play the piano too. But I am ever so glad that Kathy had the wild idea of going beyond what either of us thought we were capable of to do something new to the glory of God. She was always like that, always pushing people to do their best, to do better than they thought they could. And she always served God with a smile. Did she cry? Yes. Did she hurt? Of course. But she also knew that God’s grace is always sufficient.
Last night I got out the high school yearbook from the year she was a senior and read her life’s verse:
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecution, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.II Corinthians 12:9-10
Kathy lived those verses. Most recently in her teaching career, she was a substitute teacher and a private tutor. Though I no longer lived close enough to see her on a regular basis, I loved reading her social media posts and seeing in her words the joy at making a difference in the lives of her students.
Her death came as a shock to me, as it did to all who knew her. I’m still reeling. I keep going back and forth from smiles to tears. I know she’s in heaven, and she wouldn’t want to come back. I wouldn’t want her back. But I miss her.
Lord, make me to know my end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am. For what is our life? It is even a vapor that appears for just a little while, and then vanishes away.
A Rictameter written for Kate Motaung’s Five-Minute Friday: MEASURE
Copyright © 2019 Angela Umphers Rueger – All Rights Reserved
Photo taken in Milton, FL, 2019