Dear friends, I was talking with Bill Burton last night on “Groundhog Day” and he was all geared up for watching “Groundhog Day – movie.” He said to me, I think there are some spiritual things in that movie. This morning he had send me his reflections and I thought I would share them with you today for our Daily Devotional. Enjoy!
— the movie –
Phil Connors is a weatherman. More importantly, he’s a self-centered jackass. Phil and a cameraman and his producer, Rita, go to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to cover the annual Groundhog Day festivities. Phil looks with disgust toward the community and its “hick” citizens. As it turns out, he stays much longer than expected. Not just in Punxsutawney. But in Groundhog Day. Over. And over. And over. And over.
Watching Phil’s journey in this story is a trip. Literally. It somewhat tracks with stags of grief: Confusion, Denial, Anger, Depression, Bargaining, Acceptance, Reconciliation. But, to me, “Wait there’s more!” It ends with rebirth, renewal.
Confusion: “What if there is no tomorrow? There wasn’t one today.”
Denial: “Groundhog Day is still just once a year, isn’t it?”
Anger: “One time I was in the Virgin Islands with a beautiful woman. Why couldn’t I get stuck in THAT day?”
Depression: He takes adolescent-like reckless actions, recognizing there are no consequences to his actions.
Bargaining: He ponders if he is a god, not The God, but a god.
Acceptance: He takes advantage of reliving this one day by using what he learns of the details of the citizenry to manipulate them for “tomorrow’s Groundhog Day.” He especially tries to build a romantic relationship with Rita, but to no avail. Then, after trying to save an old man’s life, he realizes he can only do so much.
Reconciliation: Once he becomes so attuned to the days of the residents, he begins to make a positive difference in his new world. He goes from being a prisoner of that time and place to being a master of that time and place. It’s not about being the hero in the town, but about what you can do in the moment to make things better instead of making things worse.
Rebirth: Once he has genuine heartfelt care for Rita and everyone else, he wakes up and, finally, it is the next day. He stops worrying about himself and starts embracing what he can to for his world serving others. “No matter what happens tomorrow or the rest of my life, I’m happy now because I love you.”
Am I ever in a Groundhog Day syndrome? Or Groundhog Year? Maybe? My business year has its seasons. Every cottin’ pickin’ year. Personnel reviews in the first quarter. Line renewals in the second quarter. Strategic planning in the third. And we end up with budgeting. My interviews – with hiring candidates or business lending — have many of the same questions.
This is the challenge and my takeaway:
- How can I transform or break free of repetitive thoughts and behaviors that keep me stuck in same old, same old?
- “What would you do if you were stuck in one place? And every day was exactly the same? And nothing you did mattered?”
Seems like there is a fair amount of opportunity for renewal in the Bible. We read about the fall in Genesis and how God did a reboot in the flood. We read in Acts about how the disciples spread the Word so others get a chance to reboot their lives. Maybe God is the way we break out of old patterns.
At the end of the movie (Goundhog), Rita, Phil’s producer, spends every single cent she has to “buy him” at a charity bachelor auction. Maybe Jesus is our producer who has spent everything he had for me?
I don’t know. I’m just a banker.
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