If Kai-the-dog were able to speak, I think he would giggle. Labs seem to have a giggle inside them. I have never met a Greyhound, for example, that seemed to be stifling a giggle and yet Labs seem to be doing it all the time. When he sleeps his little pink tongue hangs out of what seems a perpetual smile. Perhaps I am projecting. I hope so.
Am I the only one who wonders why Jesus is so rarely pictured as smiling? God-the-Father is rarely depicted in art. I believe it has to do with graven image cosmic copyright or something. But when God is depicted in art – also no smile. It just makes me curious, is all.
The spiritual teacher Ram Dass, beloved by so many Baby Boomers, referred to the “Cosmic Giggle” which intrigues me. He said the term came from his teacher whose giggle was kind and infectious.
When I think of my friends and consider the ones who giggle freely, I notice that they are my most beloved friends. They are kind and are able to see the humor in life.
Humor, like meditation, creates a space around things. It creates a layer of healing and protection like puss but significantly more attractive. I have never met a spiritual leader whose giggle did not endear me to them. And I have very rarely met a spiritual leader whose dour countenance I found attractive, engaging or anything other than slightly creepy.
When I lose my giggle I worry about my wellbeing.
There is a lot to worry about. A lot that stifles a giggle in its tracks. Politics. Terrorism. Generational shifts in the Church. Wildfires. So, as often as possible, I lay my head down by Kai-the-dog’s face and I play with his little tongue. I touch it until he awakens and then yawns and smiled and begins to thump that big, black tail for no other reason than that I am there, loving on him. And then he licks my face and I giggle and he does too somehow, if inaudibly.
Some say we need to work harder. Others that we need to pray harder. Evangelize more. Lengthen liturgies. Others that we need to eat less or drink less, or watch tv less. But I am wondering if perhaps we need to get more rest and then just giggle a bit more. I know. It’s a small plan. But it’s increasingly the only one that makes any sense at all.