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Laugh at the Impossible

On this Friday of the Second Week of Lent, I continue my journey through Scott Hahn’s book, Lenten Reflections from A Father Who Keeps His Promises.

When I was a plebe at the Naval Academy, one of the fundamental lessons beaten into our skulls involved how to respond to a superior.

Crusty Upperclassman:  “What are your Five Basic Responses, maggot?!”

Sloven Plebe:  “Sir/Ma’am!  The Five Basic Responses are:

    1. Yes, Sir/Ma’am
    2. No, Sir/Ma’am
    3. No excuse, Sir/Ma’am
    4. I’ll find out, Sir/Ma’am
    5. Aye Aye, Sir/Ma’am

The purpose of this training, as I understand it, was to wean us of our childish instincts to hem, haw, excuse or otherwise prevaricate.  But it also taught us the proper demeanor when addressing those of higher authority.  To this day, I still find myself giving deference to superiors with curt, to-the-point answers.

The Five Basic Responses have served me well in subordinate/superior relations.  One response I did not see among the Five, however, was laughter.  Yet Abraham and Sarah both laughed at God!  They didn’t chuckle, but burst out in laughter at God’s promise to make them fruitful in their ripe old age.  Abraham laughed directly at God, falling to the ground in laughter!

If I were to laugh at a senior officer, needless to say my career would be brief.  How did God respond to Abraham and Sarah’s “insubordination”?  He kept His promise and delivered the Impossible.

What does this tell me about my relationship with God, about His Covenant?  It tells me that He doesn’t seek a relationship in the form of subordinate/superior.  He wants me to draw closer to Him as Father, to feel comfortable to laugh with Him, cry to Him, and even complain.  Yes, complain!

Did you know that, of the 150 Psalms, approximate 65 contain complaints.  That’s almost half!  And these were written by David, a Man After God’s Own Heart!  If I want to be After God’s Own Heart, I need to draw closer to His heart.

God wants me to give myself completely to Him, in my anger, sorrows, fears and anxieties.  And when faced with an impossible situation, He wants me to turn to Him in complete trust.

Day 17-1

Sometimes, when faced with the Impossible, it’s easy to just give up and forget to go to God in prayer.  “What’s the use?!”  Day 17-2


Roommate, Classmate, Shipmate, Friend


The first time I met Ricky was in 1985 (June?) during our Youngster Cruise.  He and I were both assigned to the USS IWO JIMA (LPH-2).  Ricky and I hit it off immediately and introduced Virginia Beach to a new form of wackiness.  I remember trying to keep up with his zany antics, but in hindsight I must admit I failed.  His sheer energy was impossible to match and his imagination knew no equal!

While that summer eventually ended, it turned out our partnership did not, and Ricky and I met again in 7th Company after the Class of ’88 scrambled from our Plebe companies.  In fact, Ricky, John Garcia, Mike Danford (odd man out?) and I shared a room informally referred to as our Spanish Ghetto.  With Mike’s huge stereo, my “unique” organizational skills and Ricky’s character, we were quite a hit with the Powers-That-Be.  I think John was smart enough to lay low and work hard so to avoid the Wrath of Winsor (our Company Officer) and the ultimate Battle With Barry (our Battalion Officer).   But I think Ricky, Mike and I were standing side-by-side at modified attention when CDR Barry blew cigar smoke in our faces, calling us punks and slugs and advising us that, when it came to playing hardball, he “wrote the book.”
During Hurricane Gloria, classes were called off and Ricky was blasting his stereo with the tune “Walking On Sunshine.”  Typical Ricky.

From his obituary in the Yuma Sun:

Ricardo Miguel Gonzalez (1966-2011)

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Ricardo Miguel Gonzalez, age 45, passed away on Saturday, December 3, 2011 in Yuma, AZ. He was born on March 4, 1966, in Ponce, Puerto Rico.

Ricardo attended school in Academia Santa Maria in Ponce, Puerto Rico. Then graduated as a naval officer from The Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. He served as an officer for seven years, and fought during the Persian Gulf War on the U.S.S. Midway. He also studied in San Diego University were he received his certificate as an interpreter and translator. He worked in Maricopa County and since 2003 as an interpreter at the Federal District Court in Yuma, AZ.

Ricardo is survived by his parents: Jesus and Juanita Gonzalez and sisters Maria J. and Lourdes. He will be missed by his relatives in Puerto Rico and friends who knew and loved him in Yuma.
Viewing will be held at Yuma Mortuary on Thursday, December 15, 2011 from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.; Friday, December 16, 2011 at 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. with rosary at 7p.m. Mass will be held at St. Francis Catholic Church on Saturday, December 17, 2011 at 9:30 a.m.

Published in The Yuma Sun on December 15, 2011
From the 1988 Lucky Bag:

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