A squirrel carries a mouthful of cones near Mendenhall Glacier. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

A squirrel carries a mouthful of cones near Mendenhall Glacier. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Living & Growing: Reclaiming the power of silliness started with a squirrel

Giggling makes everything a little more bearable and freer

By Tari Stage-Harvey

Naturally, a squirrel was to blame.

Last week, a squirrel entered the Loop Substation and knocked out the electricity in Juneau and crashed the church computer.

It was not pretty — for the church or the squirrel.

Speaking of rodents, I kind of believed before this weekend that a computer ran by magic hamsters inside the little box. Or elves. I now know there are no magical creatures inside the box.

Like many things in Juneau, computer repair can take a while and we need this computer, so I connected with a tech by phone. He talked me through making sure the old computer was truly dead and then came the brain surgery.

At least that’s what it felt like to me. I’d never looked inside a computer and now I was disconnecting sacred wires and then reconnecting them so we could salvage something off the old hard drive.

My new best friend and computer tech, Roy, talked me through almost four hours of computer repair. It was a little slow going trying to connect at the beginning, but once I looked inside the old machine trying to figure out what wasn’t working I said the most obvious thing, “Can I stick my hand in the fan?”

Like any good computer tech, Roy asked, “Why would you do that?”

And my brilliant response was “Because I want to see what happens.”

He started laughing so I sang him the “Fan Song.”

It goes like this:

“Put your hand in the fan and you will lose a finger

Put your foot in the fan and you will lose a toe

Put your face in the fan and you will look at others differently

Put your body in the fan and rearrange your anatomy.”

Everything changes in a relationship once you laugh together. Humor has taken such a mean streak recently that I want to reclaim the power of silliness. One of my favorite quotes out of a book I read recently called “Raising a Rare Girl” was about the author’s husband:

“(he) preached a sermon about the power of humor not just to ‘lighten the mood’ but to help a person transcend what Christian contemplatives call their ‘small self.’ For an instant a laughing person could let themselves go like a helium balloon, find themselves in the unfathomably spacious blue sky.”

I won’t lie, the thought of spending hours with a computer tech and dealing with technology seemed like a circle of hell. It wasn’t a highlight of my life, but giggling makes everything a little more bearable and freer, especially when Roy asked every 15 minutes if I still had all my digits.

Tari Stage-Harvey is pastor of Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church.“Living Growing” is a weekly column written by different authors and submitted by local clergy and spiritual leaders.

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