Raoul’s Two Cents: April 15, 2022
Sad Good Friday
WARNING: Spiritual Content. As is our tradition, no Jokes today.
I couldn’t figure out why it’s been a very sad week for me. I’ve shared this gloom with a few friends. It’s a sadness that I could almost touch.
One reason for my sadness is Oswald. He’s a good friend who is losing his apartment at the end of the month. He was wrongfully terminated and since that time (over 7 years ago) he has slowly depleted all of his savings. He’s emotionally paralyzed and cannot get a job. He stubbornly insists that God will pull him through. How do you help someone like him?
Another reason for my sadness is Don. The first time I laid eyes on Don I saw a stocky grandfather whom I imagined traveled the world and back. There was this air of confidence … that smirk and a glint in his eye that preceded the joke or a pearl of wisdom he was about to share. You knew he had so many stories to share. No cultural barriers or pretensions with this guy — he was the real deal. He married Ofelia, a lovely Hispanic grand lady with a questioning smile. They were quite a duo … did everything together.
I learned something new with every conversation I had with Don. He was among the first batch of the US Navy SEALs specially trained to endure physical pain, maneuver all kinds of terrain and ready for special covert assignments. He was the scuba demolition expert. In 1962, he and his buddies had secretly landed in Cuba and waited for instructions. President John F. Kennedy’s nuclear rivalry with Secretary Khrushchev terrified the world. If Russia did not back down, Don had orders to start the first wave of attack and start World War III. Fortunately, cool heads prevented a disaster.
When the crew of the Apollo 11 splashed down in the ocean Southwest of Hawaii after the successful trip to the moon, Don was on the raft sent out to meet the space heroes.
If you look at the videos, you will see Don opening the hatch of the capsule — freeing Neal Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins from their cramped sardine accommodation. Don shared with me what very few people know — that capsule stunk to high heaven. Those astronauts breathed the same air for over 8 days. The body odor swirled around the shared supply of oxygen. But don’t feel too sorry for the astronauts because they say only the first few hours were the hardest because the olfactory senses deaden quickly.
I enjoyed his company because Don and Ofelia shared my interest in painting, photography, gemstones, guitar and family. In the last 3 years, he slowed down considerably. He’d been going in and out of the hospital. I could see the energy inside him hankered down by the confines of his earthly body.
Don, this amazing war hero, was also a tax preparer. Last week I chatted with him and Ofelia and he was processing several tax returns. Ofelia told him they didn’t need the money but Don, the true soldier that he was, insisted this would be the last year of helping his friends. Last Tuesday, I got a text that Officer Don Warthen had passed away. The news hit me hard. I bowed down and prayed. One deep loss for Ofelia … one giant loss for mankind. (click here to see pictures of Don in action)
Some of my family members are going through very difficult emotional times. Too sensitive for me to share but this is dragging me down the most.
I was so busy, I didn’t realize it was Good Friday until I started writing this TGIF edition. It makes sense now why this has been one of the saddest weeks for me. No TGIF jokes today.
Imagine it is year 33 AD. Early morning today, Judas betrayed his master with a kiss for a paltry sum of 30 pieces of silver (the exact price paid to the master of a slave if and when his slave was gored by an ox [Exodus 21:32]). Today Christ allowed Himself to be ridiculed, tortured and hung on a cross. Today Christ was buried just before dawn. This is today.
But wait till Sunday comes. It’s going to be epic. You know what I mean. If not, visit your local church this Sunday. No need for an invitation. Just walk in. Observe and ask questions. I’m sure many would love to explain the significance of today.
It’s a sad day but thank God for Good Friday. Because of what Christ did today, all our days in heaven will be joyful and glorious.
Blessings to you all.