I can’t remember the product with which the following slogan is associated: “A day without ____________ is like a day without sunshine.”

Actually, you can substitute about anything in the blank space — chocolate, orange juice, coffee, a car, a cell phone — and it fits. I nearly had a whole day like that recently when my computer at work quit working.

When I sat down at my desk one morning I noticed the computer was stuck in a shutdown mode because a security update had been downloaded automatically during the night from ”Windows, a series of software operating systems and graphical user interfaces produced by Microsoft. Often, following such a download, the computer shuts down to allow the update to take effect.

To ”assist” the computer I shut it down manually. But when it rebooted, the computer was extremely slow. Being impatient at that early hour, I shut off the power again. After a couple more repeats of this procedure, the computer “refused” to run on at all!

“Now what,” I asked even more impatiently than before?

I tried about everything from unplugging the unit and plugging it back in again to checking the wiring underneath my desk, tracing each electrical cord to its power source. Nothing brought life back into the PC, which is short for “personal computer,” or in this case, “Putrid contraption.” As a last resort I called a computer repair business and begged them to come fix it, but they couldn’t send anyone until the next morning.

I even made a trip home because I can get into my work PC from my home computer. But that didn’t work either. To put the situation in perspective, this happened just prior to the announcement of a new bishop for the diocese.

As I resumed my day at the office, suddenly I found myself with nearly nothing to do without that PC. I couldn’t write anything, read or send emails, or even check the Internet for the latest news and weather updates. And speaking of the weather, that’s when I thought of the slogan: “A day without my computer is like a day without sunshine.”

Years ago — before the advent of the computer age

— the only high-tech device I had was called a typewriter. You put a piece of paper into it and typed words on the page. When you filled up the paper, however, you had to take it to a typesetting business. They then set the copy in the typeface, size and width you chose and returned it on a galley proof sheet to read typos (mistakes). After it was corrected, a clean proof was made so you could paste it on a layout to show a printing firm how the finished piece eventually should look.

That whole process could take most of a day — depending upon how far from the office the typesetter and printing businesses were. Using a computer for the same end result might take at most a minute or two since the PC is equipped with a myriad of typefaces, sizes and widths, something called “spell check” to correct most errors and a nearby printer/copier. The PC also has the “capability” of displaying the layout of the publication so the final printing can be inserted electronically. A truly amazing technology, all from the comfort of one’s office chair — except when it’s not working!

I wandered about for nearly half a day, feeling as though my hands were tied. Early in the afternoon, once more I tried to unplug and reconnect my PC; however, this time I waited about 10 seconds before restoring power. Uricka! It worked!

During the dry spell without my  computer I did think about something relevant. If we return to the slogan, it goes like this: “A day without God is like a day without ‘Son’ shine.”

Not having access to a computer at your fingertips is one thing, but the absence of God from one’s life —even for a minute — is mind boggling! “…they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd” (Mt 9:36).

There are folks who go about their lives day after day without ever thinking about God let alone praying to “the true light, which enlightens everyone” (Jn 1:9). Even on a bright, sunny day they are “without ‘Son’ shine — the Light of Christ!

We may have at our disposal an electronic store full of high-tech devices from computers and wireless mobile gadgets to smart phones and other gizmos, but if we don’t have God in our life, we have nothing!

The next time your computer quits working, the car won’t start, the furnace gives out or the TV goes on the fritz, so what! Yes, it’s annoying. But here’s a beautiful contemporary prayer that might help ease the situation: (Too bad I didn’t remember it when my PC crashed).

“Help me to remember what is really important: that I am your child, You are my Father. You love me for who I am and how I live, not for what I look like or what I own. Let me praise You who sees into my heart, who is always with me and who eases my suffering. Amen.”

Vince LaBarbera
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Vince LaBarbera

Vince is a Fort Wayne native. He earned a master of science degree in journalism and advertising from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. LaBarbera is retired but continues to enjoy freelance writing and serving the Radio Reading Service of the Allen County Public Library. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer